WordPress 5.9 finally brings Full Site Editing to the core allowing you to design your whole site visually, using blocks. WPML 4.5.3 brings full compatibility with Full Site Editing and allows you to translate your templates. It also introduces a new standalone installer and fixes a number of issues.
Since publishing this post, we released WPML 4.5.4, a minor version to fix bugs some clients experienced after updating to WPML 4.5.3. Please be sure to update to the latest version for the best experience with WPML.
WordPress 5.9 and Full Site Editing
As its name suggests, Full Site Editing allows you to design every single part of your website using the built-in block editor. This is the first major step for a feature that's bound to be a tectonic shift for the whole WordPress ecosystem.
Of course, we made sure WPML is immediately compatible with Full Site Editing from the get-go. This is important because you can rely on your multilingual sites to be compatible with cutting-edge WordPress technologies.
At this moment, Full Site Editing is still in beta, however, it's bound to become very popular as it matures and many new block themes become available.
The following video quickly walks you through the Full Site Editing features and shows how to translate the templates you design.
How to Use Full Site Editing
To be able to use Full Site Editing, you must use a theme that supports it. The default theme is compatible with FSE and more are coming in the near future.
After activating a theme that supports Full Site Editing, you'll notice a completely different Appearance menu. Pages for Customizer and other theme options are gone and replaced by only the Editor (beta) page.
Clicking on the Editor (beta) takes you to the Full Site Editing mode.
You start in the template for single Pages. Clicking on the WordPress logo in the top-left corner displays additional options, like the Templates list.
You can edit any available template using blocks or adjust the styling for your whole site. This includes changing the styling of specific blocks across your whole site.
Editing Your Site's Templates
As you can see, it all happens inside the Block Editor you've come to know in WordPress. However, now you can edit theme templates that define the look of your site. This includes templates for single posts and pages, the 404 and blog archive pages, and more. The list of available templates depends on your theme.
You can also click the Add New button in the top-right corner to create new templates. However, at this time, this is very limited and again, depends on your theme. For example, you cannot add templates for custom post types.
Translating Your Templates with WPML
When you activate a Full Site Editing theme, your site's design comes from the theme's template files. WordPress saves its contents into the database only after you edit and save a specific template.
To translate default templates before editing them, you need to use String Translation. In this case, go to WPML → String Translation, look for specific text strings from the original templates, and translate them.
If you choose to make changes to a template, you can then translate it from the WPML → Translation Management. Filter for Template, select the template(s) you want, and send it for translation.
If you're using Translate Everything, WPML will automatically translate all your (edited) templates and template parts in the background.
For detailed instructions, see our documentation page about translating sites built with Full Site Editing.
WordPress 5.9 and New Login Language Switcher
WordPress 5.9 also comes with a new native language switcher for the login and registration pages.
WPML has allowed you to translate your login and registration pages for a long time and includes more multilingual features than the new WordPress feature has. We’ve updated the look of WPML’s language switcher on the login page, to be compatible with the new WordPress feature. This way, you get the added functionality that WPML offers with the consistent look of WordPress.
Our new language switcher for login and registration pages will only be active if you enable the Allow translating the login and registration pages option on the WPML → Settings page.
If you don't enable this setting, no language switcher will be shown at all.
For additional information, check out our page about translating login and registration pages.
Standalone Installer for WPML
With this release, we're introducing the new OTGS Installer plugin. In case you're wondering, OTGS stands for OnTheGoSystems, our company's name. You can also use it to install our Toolset plugins, hence the universal name. 🙂
It's a tiny plugin you can download from your account's Downloads page, install on your site, and use it to easily install any WPML component.
This installer is especially useful for cases where your hosting package doesn't allow uploading files bigger than a certain limit (usually 8MB).
Once you install and activate OTGS Installer, it will help you download and install WPML and Toolset without running into ZIP file limitations.
For more information, check out our page about installing WPML plugins using the OTGS Installer.
Other Fixes and Compatibility Improvements
Like any other WPML release, this one improves stability and compatibility. WPML 4.5.3 updated the compatibility with advanced features of Elementor, Divi, Avada, WPBakery, and Block Editor (Gutenberg).
For the complete list, check out the full changelog.
How to Update
As with all of our releases, we are rolling this out gradually. You can skip the queue by going to Plugins → Add New and clicking the Commercial tab. If you don’t see the update available, click Check for Updates.
Looking Forward to Full Site Editing?
Are you excited about WordPress 5.9 and Full Site Editing? Do you plan on using it on your sites in the future?
Let us know your thoughts and impressions in the comments. We're eager to hear your take on the exciting new ways that WordPress is heading.