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WordPress 6.3 Beta 3 Released, Introduces UI Changes to Pattern Management

WordPress contributors are onto another round of testing, as 6.3 Beta 3 was released this week. RC 1 is expected on July 18, and a live product demo is anticipated to be broadcast on Thursday, July 20, 2023 at 16:00 UTC. These demos have become a more regular part of the release process and allow viewers to familiarize themselves with important new features and updates coming in the release.

Beta 3 includes approximately 34 updates to the Site Editor since the previous beta release, and more than 40 updates coming from Trac.

A last-minute PR has renamed Library to Patterns in the Site Editor and was cherry-picked to get it included in Beta 3. Automattic-sponsored Gutenberg contributor Aaron Robertshaw cited three reasons for the renaming:

  • Discovery: this is an opportunity to make patterns front and center as we are introducing the ability to save custom patterns. They should be front and center in the “Design” tab.
  • Clarity: library can be obscure and overlaps with other terminology (like Media Library). We didn’t get to add font library management in this round, but it would have made things more confusing (would a user expect to see their font library under “Styles” or an item called “Library”?). Calling it patterns removes that ambiguity.
  • Presence: patterns is a unique name that has been established in the WP branding parlance for a bit and deserves more clear placement.

This video from the PR gives a quick overview of the changes testers should see in the Patterns UI as of Beta 3:

Gutenberg PR: Patterns: Rename Library to Patterns #52102

Beta 3 introduces a new lock icon to designate theme patterns as unable to be edited or modified. It also adds a sync status details section within the pattern sidebar navigation screen.

image credit: Gutenberg PR #51990

There are a significant number of new things being introduced after Beta 1, which seems usual. Major features like the pattern creation and the Patterns section made their debut in Gutenberg 16.1 but had very little testing before being rolled into the upcoming WordPress 6.3 release. This is likely why UI changes are being introduced after Beta 1 has already shipped.

Check out the Beta 3 release post for more information on how to test. A Beta 4 is anticipated the week of July 11, followed by RC 1 on July 18. The general release is scheduled for August 8, 2023.