Gutenberg 16.6: Block Hooks & Enhanced Nested Block Toolbars

Gutenberg 16.6 Introduces Block Hooks and Improvements to Toolbars on Nested Blocks

The latest release of Gutenberg, version 16.6, brings exciting new features and improvements to the WordPress block editor. One of the notable additions is the introduction of block hooks, formerly known as auto-inserting blocks. This feature allows plugin developers to specify a location where a block will be automatically inserted, such as before or after a template. Users can then easily reposition the blocks using the editor tools.

The decision to rename the feature to block hooks was made by Gutenberg lead architect Matias Ventura. He proposed this change to provide developers with a clearer understanding of how the feature works. Ventura stated, “I’ve seen anecdotal feedback that ‘autoInsert’ is not the clearest of descriptions. I’d like to propose renaming it to the more familiar ‘hooks’ terminology—and ‘block hooks’ in more general terms—to help folks understand the mechanics and purpose more rapidly.”

In addition to the renaming, Gutenberg 16.6 also introduces an inspector panel for block hooks, tentatively named “Plugins.” This panel displays the blocks available for auto-insertion and includes toggles to insert or remove them. To make it easier to differentiate the toggles, block icons have been added.

Another significant improvement in this release is related to toolbars on nested blocks. Previously, when clicking inside nested blocks, the toolbar would move around, causing a chaotic editing experience. However, with Gutenberg 16.6, the toolbar now stays attached to the parent block, providing a more stable editing environment. This change has been implemented for Navigation, List, and Quote blocks, with plans to extend it to other blocks in the future.

To demonstrate these improvements, videos have been shared in the release post. One video showcases the new toolbar behavior on nested blocks, while another demonstrates a new keyboard shortcut for duplicating blocks within the List View. The shortcut, CMD+Shift+d, allows users to quickly duplicate selected or focused blocks without having to navigate back to the block settings menu or editor canvas.

These exciting features and improvements will be included in the upcoming WordPress 6.4 release. The Gutenberg 16.6 release post provides a comprehensive list of all the new features, enhancements, bug fixes, and improvements to performance and code quality.

As Gutenberg continues to evolve, it empowers WordPress users with more flexibility and control over their content. The block editor revolutionizes the way websites are built and edited, making it easier than ever to create visually stunning and dynamic pages.

In conclusion, Gutenberg 16.6 introduces block hooks as a replacement for auto-inserting blocks, providing developers with a clearer understanding of the feature’s mechanics. Additionally, improvements to toolbars on nested blocks offer a more stable editing experience. With the upcoming WordPress 6.4 release, users can look forward to these enhancements and more. Gutenberg continues to shape the future of WordPress, making it a powerful and user-friendly platform for building websites.

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