The first beta for the next version of WordPress is available to download now and site owners can begin testing WordPress 5.8 Beta 1 out for themselves.
It's worth noting that the next version of the world's most popular CMS is still in development which is why WordPress.org recommends that users avoid running it on production sites. Instead they should run WordPress 5.8 Beta 1 on a test site if they want to get a feel for the new features, changes and updates.
There are two ways to do so and site owners can either install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin by selecting the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream or by downloading the beta version (zip) directly from WordPress .org.
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WordPress 5.8 is set to release on July 20 which means there are only six weeks for users to to test out the beta and provide feedback before the final version ships.
WordPress 5.8 improvements
One area in WordPress that is getting a lot of attention in the next release is blocks and there are now several new ones for Page Lists, Site Title, Logo and Tagline. Meanwhile, a powerful Query Loop block offers multiple ways for displaying lists of posts and also comes with new block patterns that leverage its flexibility and creative possibilities while a new duotone block adds image effects that can be used in media blocks or supported third-party blocks.
In the WordPress 5.8 Beta 1, patterns can now be recommended and selected during block setup. Pattern transformations are also possible and these allow a block or even a collection of blocks to be converted into different patterns. WordPress.org has even added a new template editor that allows users to create new custom templates for a page when using blocks.
The latest version of the CMS will also see WordPress finally end support for Internet Explorer 11. As most of the changes needed to do so are now being merged, WordPress.org recommends using the Beta and RC periods to test.
We'll likely hear more regarding the full list of changes and improvements that will be included in WordPress 5.8 once we get closer to its final release.
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After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.