Welcome to the second major WordPress update of the year! As expected, WordPress 5.5 has released and is now available. Our WordPress team have been busy testing all the new features and developments on this release and have complied a list of new enhancements available on this Major Release.
Released less than 5 months after the 5.4 version updates, WordPress is coming in again with some hot new features that are mostly focused on aligning with their goals to make the block editor better and better. Let’s take a look at the most notable changes that are in the update quickly! It’s great to see Automattic understand that there is a lot of work required for the block editor and move towards fixing that in the last year.
If you don’t want to read the whole lot, here is a quick summary
- You can now enable auto plugin updates
- A lot of improvements to the block editor/Gutenberg editor making it easy for non-experienced WordPress users to use the block editor.
- Block editor plugins library so that you can add all sorts of new blocks
- Inline image editing capability in the editor WYSIWYG view itself
- You can preview how the site looks on desktops, mobile and tablets
- Native Lazy Loading , so images load only when you scroll to them
- Native XML Sitemaps functionality (finally!!)
We are excited to uncover the hood and look at all the new fancy engine upgrades on this release 🙂 Lets jump into it.
Block Editor Improvements
The block editor aka Gutenberg has come a long way ever since it was introduced back in 2018 with WordPress 5.0, and they’re not yet done improving the feature to make it more user-friendly and convenient for everyone to use.
But what kind of improvements are in 5.5?
Improved User Interface
Good UI (User interface) is a must for CMS. That said, I can count numerous CMSes who are still stuck with a single WYSIWYG box. hmm…. That’s why with every update, WordPress is trying to make the block editor look and feel much greater than the previous version. This update is no different. In this update, they added some changes such as borders and focus highlights when moving across blocks. You will also notice that they changed the way the “+” button looks.
Initially while the block editor was good for WordPress developers and experienced WordPress users, the new updates make it easy for the average user to use the block editor easily.
Introducing Block Directory
When we say WordPress wants you to have the most convenient experience in their platform, we mean it.
The block directory will be including searchable plug-ins that you might want to use for your designing needs and definitely makes the whole process faster.
Easier Block Movements
Say goodbye to Gutenberg’s hideous up and down arrows.
No more having a hard time moving your blocks as WordPress 5.5 makes that much, much easier by finally allowing you to drag-and-drop your blocks inside the content editor.
You can even set a “parent block” and select multiple blocks at once!
Introducing Block Patterns
Block patterns are pre-made blocks that helps you design your page instantly within just a few clicks.
WordPress already added a couple of default block patterns in the editor with 5.5, but we can’t wait for the options to grow as developers catch up with this awesome, new feature!
Inline Image Editing
Before the WordPress 5.5 update, you have to go to the media library first before you can crop, rotate, resize, and etc. your images.
With the new update, you no longer have to leave the editor to make such changes!
Desktop, Mobile, Tablet Preview
WordPress 5.5 gives you a faster way to see how your pages are going to look like on desktop, mobile, and tablet by allowing you to preview them through the editor.
No more having to go through different devices just to see if your design is mobile or tablet friendly!
Auto Updates for Themes & Plug-Ins
WordPress 5.5 gives you a new update management system!
By going to the admin dashboard, you may now allow WordPress to automatically update your themes & plug-ins for you.
This is perfect for those who don’t mind not knowing what changes are going to be made to their themes and plug-ins after it updates as it will be much more convenient, especially for those who use A LOT of plug-ins.
But for those people who want to read about the updates first, it’s great that this is only an option that you can turn off anytime you want.
Native XML Sitemaps
WordPress is finally eliminating the need for you to use plug-ins in order to have an XML Sitemap ready for your SEO needs in the 5.5 update by providing you native sitemaps! WordPress started making these changes after receiving feedback from Google.
If you don’t know what XML Sitemaps are, they are essentially just XML format files that contain a list of URLs in your page that makes it easier for Google’s bots to crawl through your content. This gives you better visibility.
Native Lazy Loading
The updates keep on coming with this latest release. If you’re big on SEO, you want your pages to load fast because Google and other search engines value that a lot for optimum user experience.
However, the majority of the times, you need to enhance your pages using images, and that actually makes your pages load slower.
Lazy loading, it helps solve that problem by only loading the images that are currently visible on the viewer’s screen and loading the others later once the user scrolls up/down or swipes right/left.
In this update, WordPress finally gives us native lazy loading! Yay!
Changes for Developers
WordPress 5.5 allows developers to test out a lot of new things for their own themes, plug-ins, and etc. But the most notable updates involve the following:
- Developers will be allowed to control the auto-updates for their themes and plug-ins.
- New external libraries such as phpMailer, Simplepie, Tweemoji, Masonry, and etc.
- 65 new dash icons
- Improved PHP compatibility issue scanning
WordPress 5.5 Demo website
We love checking out all the new features before a major release. We keep an up to date demo site with the latest (sometimes even nightly builds) of WordPress that you are welcome to have a look at. Click here to view WordPress Demo site“. Please ask us for a username/password to test the site. This will let you test run all the new features without putting your live website at risk.
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