WordPress 5.8 “Tatum” was released, named after the jazz pianist Art Tatum.
The version jump to WordPress 5.8 was published on July 20th, 2021. It supports the WebP graphic format. This has been developed by Google among others since 2010 and is characterized by the fact that it produces significantly smaller files than JPEG and PNG with the same quality. Since WebP masters lossless and lossy compression, it is suitable for graphics and illustrations as well as for photos.
In addition, the Gutenberg editor has been expanded to include a number of design blocks, which further drives the transition to a full-site editing solution. Some of the blocks that are added are: Archive Title, Post Categories and Keywords, Page Title, Website Logo, and Website Subtitle. The duotone effect, which is also integrated in Gutenberg from WordPress 5.8, also fits in with this. This makes it possible to create color effects via images and videos using CSS and SVG without changing the actual image. With the new version, the new editor is also found in the widget area and will take over the management there. This means that the complete range of functions of the block editor is available to users. On the one hand, this results in more diverse possibilities, on the other hand there will probably be some side effects. Above all, problems are to be feared with older plugins that manage and display content in the widget area.
If you want to be sure that the widget area remains unchanged with the update to the new WordPress version, you should install and activate the Classic Widgets plugin before the update to WordPress 5.8. It was provided by the WordPress developers and should be supported and maintained until at least 2022.