WordPress 6.2 Beta 1 was released on time today, and can be tested by using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or downloaded directly. In just seven weeks, the upcoming major release will roll in the last nine Gutenberg plugin releases, which account for 292 editor enhancements and 354 bug fixes.
The beta 1 announcement confirms that WordPress 6.2 will be removing the Beta label from the Site Editor. Although the remaining required items for removal, namely a ticket for refining the Site Editor loading state, remains open, Editor Triage co-lead Anne McCarthy confirmed that work has “quickly progressed over the last few weeks to to get some items in place for 6.2 and to start a new PR for improving the loading state further,” beyond the initial effort from Gutenberg engineer Riad Benguella.
WordPress 6.2 contributors have published a detailed testing guide, with information on setting up a testing environment and key features to test with videos, screenshots, and information on what features should do and how they can be tested.
One of the major highlights in this release includes the new distraction-free mode, which offers a more focused writing experience that hides unnecessary interface elements from the editor. The testing guide demonstrates how it can be enabled and disabled.
WordPress 6.2 also makes major strides towards improving the Navigation experience, which has proven to be one of the more complicated problems to solve on the full-site editing journey. The testing guide offers a quick tour of the updated Navigation Block UI, which now contains an editable view in the block settings sidebar, along with inline editing for menu items.
A few other highlights of the upcoming 6.2 release include the completely revamped Site Editor interface, block settings with split controls for Styles and Settings, improved Pattern insertion, a new Style Book for previewing block styles, custom CSS for specific blocks, and Openverse integration with the WordPress media library.
Following a few more beta releases, RC 1 is expected on March 7, and the final release is scheduled for March 28, 2023.