WordPress 5.8, expected for July 20th, will include many new features which will serve as a first step towards full site editing (or FSE). In this post, we will detail some actions we have taken to make WooCommerce ready for that moment and some details on what we are planning ahead for.
Block-based Widget Editor
With WordPress 5.8, the widget screen and widget panel in the Customizer will be replaced with a block-based one. The list of WooCommerce blocks which will be available in the widget editor is the following:
- Featured Product Block
- Featured Category Block
- Handpicked Products Block
- Best Selling Products Block
- Top Rated Products Block
- Newest Products Block
- On Sale Products Block
- Products by Category Block
- Products by Tag Block
- Products by Attribute Block
- Product Categories List Block
- Reviews by Product
- Reviews by Category
- All Reviews
- Product Search
Product Search, Product Categories List and Reviews by Product will act as a replacement of their equivalent widgets. That means that users will be able to easily convert the widgets to blocks and that those widgets will no longer be available for addition.
We currently limit the ability to insert specific blocks into the widget areas, those include the All Products block and filters, Cart and Checkout blocks.
The template editor allows users to create block templates even in classic themes. This feature will be available in WooCommerce stores with themes that opt in. Users will be able to modify their posts and pages templates using a visual canvas and by making use of blocks, including WooCommerce blocks.
The product editor won’t have the template editor available nor will merchants be able to select a template created using the post or page template editor. That’s because WooCommerce already uses its own PHP-based template system for product pages.
In the future, we might enable the template editor for products in block themes, but that will depend on how this feature handles different post types and the future development of WooCommerce blocks required to create product page templates.
Query Loop for products
Related to that, we are planning to start working on a collection of blocks that will be available inside the Query Loop block. That block allows listing posts, pages or custom post types. Currently, it can already be used to list products with their title and featured image, for example. In future releases of WooCommerce, we are planning to add new blocks like Product price, Add to cart, SKU, etc.
WordPress 5.8 will introduce the Block Pattern Directory, which lets users create and share block patterns with other WordPress users.
In future versions, we are planning to introduce new patterns to display products and create complex e-commerce layouts.
Global styles and theme.json
All WordPress blocks will support global styles by default. That means that any style defined in theme.json will be honored by WooCommerce Blocks. In addition to that, we are currently auditing which user-facing controls we want to enable for each specific block so merchants can control the look and feel of WooCommerce Blocks directly from the editor.
Dropping support for Internet Explorer 11
In parallel to WordPress, WooCommerce is dropping support for Internet Explorer 11. You can read more details on the previous advisory post we published in May: “Developer Advisory: plan to remove IE 11 support in WooCommerce”.
Things coming in future releases of WordPress on our radar
The features listed below are planned for future versions of WordPress but currently are only available when the Gutenberg plugin is enabled.
Block themes can define specific templates to be used by WooCommerce. That means that a block theme can create templates like
taxonomy-product_tag.html and those will take precedence over internal WooCommerce templates.
In the future, we plan to expand the library of WooCommerce blocks so it will be possible to create those templates making use of a set of WooCommerce related blocks.
Product Link, Product Category Link and Product Tag Link will be available to be added to the Navigation block.
We are currently working, together with Gutenberg engineers, on introducing a way to easily add links to other WooCommerce endpoints (Orders, Downloads, Logout, etc.).
What action should I take?
If you are the developer of a WordPress plugin which adds a widget, we recommend creating a block and allowing users to migrate from the widget to the block. Blocks have the benefit of being available in other contexts besides the widget editor, like the block editor or the site editor. In addition to that, users will benefit from having the same block interaction they are used to from the block editor in the widget editor.
If you are a theme developer, we recommend learning about block themes and how they work internally. For now, we don’t expect many WooCommerce themes to fully migrate to block themes yet, given that we are still in the process of creating some of the blocks that will help with building WooCommerce related templates. However, some features might be introduced progressively, like the block widget editor and the template editor. We recommend themes to be prepared for this. We also recommend testing how blocks look in widget areas: that includes both WooCommerce and WordPress blocks.
If you find any issues or bugs when using WooCommerce with one of the new features coming with WordPress 5.8 we would appreciate it if you opened an issue in either the WooCommerce or WooCommerce Blocks repo.