New Block-based Navigation and Widgets Screens Sidelined for WordPress 5.5

The new navigation block and navigation and widget screens that were originally planned for 5.5 have been pushed back to the next release. These projects are currently available in the Gutenberg plugin experiments screen but are not yet ready to land in core.

Converting the widget-editing areas and updating the widgets UI to use the block editor is a project that has been under development since January 2019. The issue tracking the project and the dedicated project board seemed to have stalled out for the time being, so core editor contributors recommended removing it from the priority features for 5.5.

Similarly, the navigation block and screen have several dozen outstanding issues and discussions that need more time before shipping.

“We're still missing a few key components: drag and drop in the block and in the sidebar, a couple of PRs that lag and are important for feature parity (#22600#22697) and the ongoing work to support more block types in Navigation,” WordPress contributor Andrei Draganescu said regarding the remaining items necessary to ship the navigation screen.

“I believe we're in a place where a Gutenberg release after 5.5 will include this new screen, but maybe in the next two weeks some acceleration will occur and prove me wrong.

“I believe that it is wiser that this lands as a part of the plugin first, gets some feedback, and then is shipped into core.”

Despite the navigation and widgets screens getting removed from the 5.5 milestone, this release is set to deliver an impressive array of new features for the block editor, including block patterns, block directory search, a new block inserter panel, expanded design tools, and improvements to block movement capabilities. Beta 1 is expected July 7 and the target date for the official release is August 11.

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