WordPress 5.6 Due December 2020 is Scaled Back

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WordPress 5.6 due December 2020 was scaled back. An important Gutenberg feature was removed because development fell behind.

WordPress had intended to incorporate the menu Navigation Screen in Gutenberg 9.1 and WordPress 5.6. Development fell behind and it had been decided to get rid of the Gutenberg Navigation Screen as a goal for WordPress 5.6 and instead specialize in the Gutenberg Widgets Screen functionality instead.

Both the Widgets and Navigation Screens are important.

Yet without the Navigation Screen, a crucial functionality for WordPress sites, the Gutenberg interface may desire a ghost of the fashionable interface it’s intended to be.


WordPress 5.6 Due widget
Gutenberg Widget Screen Under Development

Gutenberg Navigation Screen

Gutenberg may be a WordPress project whose goal is to modernize the method of building websites. Gutenberg uses a haul and drop interface.
The Gutenberg a part of WordPress however remains under development, it’s an ongoing project. the various parts of building an internet site are unrolled one at a time as they’re finished.

Gutenberg is under construction… for an extended time.

Gutenberg Menu Navigation

A major part of building an internet site is creating the menu navigation. This a part of a Gutenberg was alleged to have enrolled as part of Gutenberg 9.1. But it had been removed because this a part of Gutenberg had not even reached a beta/testing level of functionality.

The Navigation Screen was intended to be launched by the end of September Gutenberg release according to a September 3, 2020 announcement.

“…efforts have begun to launch this new screen to the world in order to gather more feedback. …

The aim is that this new screen will help expand what’s possible with menus while bringing block functionality to yet another part of WordPress in order to allow for more adoption and to offer a more modern experience.”

But as the date grew nearer it became apparent that it was not close to ready.

Why Navigation Was Delayed

There were multiple areas still under development because the September 29th deadline approached and it became apparent that this part wouldn’t be completed in time.

Most importantly, there wasn’t enough of the feature created to satisfy the requirements of a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). An MVP is that the bare minimum necessary to roll out as a testing version.


Screenshot of WordPress Development Timeline
Screenshot of WordPress Development Timeline

What’s important about this is that the navigation screen was supposed to be a part of WordPress 5.6, due to be released in the latter part of December.

According to WordPress:

“When the Gutenberg 9.1 RC1 was released on September 29th, there were still three major blockers unresolved:

Completion of the MVP redesign: needs design and accessibility feedback and iteration, as well as substantial development work.

Adding Navigation editor to the Customizer: needs design and technical investigation on the development side, as well as actual implementation.

Adding Links block: needs substantial development work.

On top of this, there are multiple smaller issues still in need of design and development. Therefore, the Navigation screen did not seem stable enough to ship with Gutenberg 9.1. “

WordPress Will Focus on Widgets Screen

WordPress has decided to line the Navigation Screen aside for now and specialize in getting the Widgets Screen ready for the WordPress 5.6 release.

The widget area (also mentioned because the sidebar area) is vital so it is sensible to specialize in finishing it, even at the expense of the Gutenberg Navigation Screen.

WordPress Calls For Help

WordPress posted an invitation for volunteers to assist in testing the widget screen in the latest version of Gutenberg 9.1.

There are many thousands of publishers using WordPress and Gutenberg. WordPress relies on community feedback to assist it to identify bugs and become conscious of needed features.

“This is a call for testing for this new feature. Please report your findings on GitHub in the Gutenberg repository as issues or in the comments below.”

WordPress outlined the basics of participating in feature testing

Testing Flow

These are the steps required to take for participation, beginning with the requirement for WordPress 5.5.

  • Backward Compatibility Testing
    This is testing to see if widget area plugins function or have bugs.
  • Extendability Testing
    This relates to making sure that unsupported widgets are filtered out.
  • Widget Screen Disabling
  • Instructions on Disabling the Widget Screen.

Focusing on What’s Feasible

WordPress made the choice to specialize in what are often completed, the widgets screen. The Navigation Screen wasn’t ready so it made sense to get rid of it from the schedule and specialize in the widget screen since that was closer to being finished.

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