WordPress 5.9 “Joséphine”: Pioneering Full Site Editing

WordPress 5.9, codenamed "Joséphine" in tribute to the renowned jazz singer Joséphine Baker, was released on January 25, 2022. This version marked a pivotal advancement in WordPress’s journey towards Full Site Editing (FSE), introducing tools and features that significantly expanded the capabilities of the block editor. WordPress 5.9 empowered users to have unprecedented control over their entire site design, making website building more intuitive and flexible than ever before.

Key Features and Enhancements

Full Site Editing (FSE)

The most notable feature in WordPress 5.9 was the introduction of Full Site Editing. This transformative feature allowed users to design and customize every part of their website using blocks. With FSE, users could edit headers, footers, and other site-wide elements directly from the site editor. This holistic approach to site design provided a more cohesive and streamlined experience, reducing the need for multiple tools and themes to achieve a unified look and feel.

New Default Theme: Twenty Twenty-Two

WordPress 5.9 debuted with a new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two, which was designed to showcase the capabilities of Full Site Editing. The theme was built entirely with blocks, offering a highly flexible and customizable foundation for creating unique website designs. Twenty Twenty-Two included various style variations, making it easy for users to switch up the look of their site with a few clicks. The theme’s minimalistic design focused on performance and accessibility, ensuring it looked great and performed well on any device.

Block Pattern Directory

The Block Pattern Directory was introduced in WordPress 5.9, providing users with a library of pre-designed block patterns that could be easily inserted into pages and posts. This directory made it simple to add complex layouts and designs without starting from scratch. Users could browse, preview, and insert patterns with a single click, speeding up the design process and ensuring consistent styling across the site.

Global Styles Interface

WordPress 5.9 included a Global Styles interface, allowing users to control the appearance of their entire site from one place. With this feature, users could customize colors, typography, spacing, and other design elements globally, ensuring consistency throughout their site. The Global Styles interface provided a powerful tool for theme developers and users alike, offering an easy way to maintain brand identity and visual coherence.

Enhanced Block Editor

The block editor in WordPress 5.9 saw numerous enhancements aimed at improving user experience and functionality. Key updates included:

  • Navigation Block: A new Navigation block allowed users to create and manage menus directly within the block editor, providing greater flexibility and control over site navigation.
  • Improved Gallery Block: The Gallery block was enhanced to offer more layout options and customization settings, making it easier to create visually appealing image galleries.
  • Typography Controls: Additional typography controls were added, giving users more options for fine-tuning the appearance of text within blocks.

Performance Improvements

Performance was a major focus in WordPress 5.9, with several enhancements aimed at improving site speed and responsiveness. These improvements included better caching mechanisms, optimized query performance, and reduced loading times for the block editor. These updates ensured that websites built with WordPress 5.9 not only looked great but also performed exceptionally well.

Accessibility Enhancements

WordPress 5.9 continued to prioritize accessibility, incorporating several updates to make the platform more inclusive. Improvements included better keyboard navigation, enhanced screen reader support, and more accessible form controls. These changes ensured that WordPress remained a user-friendly platform for all individuals, including those with disabilities.

Developer Features

For developers, WordPress 5.9 introduced several new features and enhancements. These included new APIs for theme.json, improvements to block registration, and expanded support for custom post types within the block editor. These updates provided developers with more tools and flexibility to create custom themes and plugins, further extending the capabilities of WordPress.


WordPress 5.9 "Joséphine" marked a significant milestone in the evolution of the platform, introducing Full Site Editing and a host of other features that enhanced flexibility, usability, and performance. From the new default theme Twenty Twenty-Two to the Global Styles interface and Block Pattern Directory, WordPress 5.9 provided users with powerful tools to create and manage their websites more effectively. As WordPress continues to innovate, version 5.9 stands as a testament to the platform’s commitment to empowering users and developers alike, making website building more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Whether you're a seasoned developer or a novice, WordPress 5.9 offered the features and enhancements needed to build beautiful, high-performing websites with ease.