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The WordPress 5.5 Release Is Here: What’s New?

WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine” was released today, August 11, 2020.

With the first Beta version released on July 7 and Beta 2, Beta 3 and Beta 4 launched between July 14 and July 27, the new WordPress 5.5 includes major updates like a block directory, lazy-loading images, automatic updates for themes and plugins, XML sitemaps, block patterns, and so much more.

This version is named “Eckstine” to honor, as tradition goes, another jazz musician, Billy Eckstine. It is the second major update for this year. The previous version, WordPress 5.4 was launched back on March 31, 2020. It was the first major release of 2020 and brought a lot of impressive improvements.

Related: At WCEU 2020 back on June 5th, Matt Mullenweg and Matias Ventura talked about the upcoming WordPress 5.5 release, the newest features, and refinements of the Gutenberg editor.

Now that WordPress 5.5 is live, let’s take a look at what is new and updated:

New Features for the Gutenberg Editor

These are the new and exciting features that are being introduced for the Gutenberg block editor for WordPress 5.5.:

1. A smoother editing experience for WordPress users including the following:

  • Parent block selection
  • Refined drag-and-drop
  • Better performance
  • Ready-to-grab block movers
  • Contextual focus highlights
  • Multi-selecting formatting that allows you to change a number of blocks all at once
  • The choice to relocate and copy the blocks easily

2. Block Patterns – New block patterns are introduced to make building elaborate pages a lot easier.

3. End Block Overwhelm – A new block inserter panel can now be used to display streamlined collections and categories. It now also supports patterns and can be integrated with the new block directory straight out of the box.

4. Inline Image Editing – The new inline image editing now allows users to rotate, zoom, and crop their photos inline straight from the image blocks.

5. Third-Party Blocks – Users can now install, discover, and insert third-party blocks from the editor using the brand new block directory.

6. Device Previews – Users can now see how their content will look on different screen sizes.

7. Support for Different Types of Measurements – WordPress 5.5 not only supports pixels – users can now use percentages, ems, rems, vw, vh, and so much more! You can also adjust the line height while typing, typesetting, and turning writing.

8. Themes – Users have the freedom to choose from an expanded design toolset for WordPress themes.

9. Add Backgrounds and Gradients – You can now add gradients and backgrounds to different groups, blocks, media, text, and columns.

Overall, WordPress 5.5 brings exciting improvements to the block editor. Users can now take advantage of more than 1,500 useful improvements to make their website even more accessible and user-friendly.

Additional Development-Related Updates

There will also be additional development-related updates for WordPress version 5.5 which includes the following:

Auto-Updates for Themes and Plugins

WordPress users can now easily control their themes and plugins updates. With auto-updates on for themes and plugins, will not only prevent viruses and hackers from attacking your site but it will keep everything running smoothly.

Improved Accessibility

User accessibility is one of WordPress’s main concerns and with every update WP looks for ways to improve its functionality. Here are the improvements in this version:

  • Disabled buttons are not confusing anymore.
  • Prefixes are now removed from error notices to prevent redundancy.
  • List tables now come with alternate and extensive view modes.
  • The shake animation for login failure is still working, but users can now disable this from the “prefers-reduced-motion” media query.
  • Link-list widgets are now free to be converted to HTML5 navigation blocks.
  • Meta boxes are now moveable through keyboards.
  • With just a single click, you can now copy links in modal dialogs and media screens.
  • Status messages in the Image Editor can now be seen through assistive devices.

XML Sitemaps

Users can now see XML sitemaps in WordPress 5.5. It is also enabled by default, as it is essential to search engine websites that discover your website’s content. Your site visibility will dramatically improve as your posts, homepage, custom post types, pages, and a lot more will now be included.

Lazy-Loading Images

In WordPress 5.5, images will be lazy-loaded by default, using the native HTML loading attribute which became a web standard earlier in 2020. This will significantly save bandwidth on both servers as well as user agents across sites where images, placed further down the page, are loaded immediately, even if the user never scrolls down. Now images will not be shown or sent to the users until they’ve approached the viewport, which will decrease bandwidth costs.

Miscellaneous and Additional Changes

Aside from the ones mentioned above, WordPress 5.5 also comes with additional and miscellaneous changes including the following:

  1. Redirect_guess_404_permalink() can now be controlled a lot better.
  2. Themes and plugins can be updated by simply uploading a ZIP file.
  3. External libraries such as PHPMailer, Twemoji, SimplePie, Masonry, and more have been updated.
  4. Bug fixes

Ways to Contribute to WordPress Updates

As an open-source CRM, WordPress allows its users to contribute to their updates. This update is another occasion to remind all WordPress users how they can help WordPress development and translation. What you can do:

Wrapping Up

Are you as excited as we are to try out WordPress’s newest version? Let’s all celebrate the launch of WordPress 5.5 by talking about it on our social media pages! Which updates and new features are you looking to try out? What do you think will be next for WordPress?

We are excited to go on this amazing journey with you, and we cannot wait to help contribute to new updates and introduce them to our viewers and users!

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