Yesterday, the Gutenberg team released version 7.6 of the plugin. Most of the work in this update went toward the upcoming full-site editing feature. The team continues to pump out new dynamic, placeholder blocks for post data. The biggest user-facing feature was the addition of a rotating list of tips in the block inserter.
Version 7.5, released two weeks ago, was the last major release of the plugin that will have features to land in WordPress 5.4, which is currently scheduled for release on March 31. However, bug fixes from 7.6 were ported to the most recent WordPress 5.4 beta updates.
Version 7.6 does not include as many major feature additions as earlier releases. Aside from experimental work on full-site editing, it primarily includes bug fixes.
The announcement post boasts a considerable speed improvement in loading time and keypress events. In comparison to version 7.5, loading time was reduced to 7.7 seconds from 8.5 seconds and keypress event speed was reduced to 48.59 milliseconds from 55.45 milliseconds. These tests are run against a post of approximately 36,000 words and 1,000 blocks.
Rotating Tips In Block Inserter
In the past, the block inserter had a single tip at the bottom right that read, “While writing, you can press
/ to quickly insert new blocks.” It was a useful tip, but it was easy to ignore because it never changed. After seeing the same message a couple dozen times, it had become little better than wasted space.
Version 7.6 creates a rotating list of tips. Each time a user opens the inserter, a new tip appears. At the moment, the list only contains five messages but more are sure to come in the future.
There are open tickets to add contextual tips based on block search queries and block-specific tips. Both of those tickets could continue to help users learn the block system and provide a path for block creators to teach users how to use custom blocks.
Currently, the list of tips is static. However, it may be possible for plugin authors to extend it in the future. I’m already contemplating writing a plugin to replace the tips with quotes from Joss Whedon’s Firefly.