The next WordPress update is 5.5 and is set to release on or about August 11, 2020! Let’s take a look at some of the new goodies that are coming your way.
This update has a lot of really cool additions that I am actually pretty psyched about and think you will be too! I will update this post as we get closer to it going live!
WordPress 5.5 Features
Below are the new and updated features in the next release! You can also view the video below to see some of these items in action!
1 | Image Editing
Image editing just got a bit easier. Instead of having to edit images within the media area, you can now crop, zoom and rotate them right in the image block within your post.
I always still recommend optimizing and cropping BEFORE you upload them to keep your server clean and lightweight – but to have the ability to modify the look of images right in the editor is pretty cool.
2 | Block Patterns
Block patterns are basically a group of blocks that you can register and use to create unique layouts for your posts and pages.
The update will come with a few default patterns you can use from column blocks to header images.
Looking forward to digging into this a bit further – still have a bit to learn, but looks like it will be a game-changer! I find this feature to be very similar to reusable blocks so want to better understand what makes them different.
3 | Reorganization Of Blocks Panel
The block panel will look a little different with a new format that includes tabs for standard, reusable and pattern blocks.
This will always be on the left sidebar like shown below and really mimics a lot of the page builders out there.
4 | Design Tools
Some cool new features to help you create better designs and layouts are also all part of this version! There are now options to add gradients and backgrounds to more of the blocks like groups, media and more.
Also added was the ability to choose from more measurements like ems, vh, percentages as well as line heights.
5 | Lazy Loading Images
The lazy-loading feature prevents images from loading in a browser until a user scrolls to the image viewport. This saves bandwidth and provides visitors a much faster user experience.
WordPress will be making lazy-loading a standard feature in version 5.5!
There will be options to customize this feature with functions or disable lazy loading entirely if you still plan on using a different plugin with this feature.
6 | Device Previews
Now you can see what your content looks like in different screen sizes from within your editor area which is a great tool to help you see how your page will look in tablets and mobile.
7 | Editing Experience
There is definitely an improvement in the overall editing experience with this update. The interface seems faster than past versions and other features include:
- Parent Block Selection
- Easier block grabbing and moving
- Easier ability to copy and relocate blocks
- Multi-select to change formatting on multiple blocks at once
8 | XML Sitemaps
I always wondering why this was not part of the core of WordPress! But now it will be – XML sitemaps will be coming to the next update. By default the following will be included and indexable – and will be added to the robots.txt file:
- Posts page
- Core post types (i.e. pages and posts)
- Custom post types
- Core taxonomies (i.e. tags and categories)
- Custom taxonomies
- Author archives
There will be hooks and filters to customize your sitemap or even completely remove it if you are using an alternate sitemap plugin. You can get more details here on the options that are available.
Want to deactivate the sitemap?
Just enter the following into the bottom of your functions.php file:
remove_action( ‘init’, ‘wp_sitemaps_get_server’ );
Items not included in the sitemap.
Images and videos are currently NOT part of the sitemap. They hope to add filters and hooks in the future to enable them.
If you are using the “last modified” code for your dates, the sitemap will not show that – it will always show the date published.
If you are using Yoast you can see what they say about this here.
9 | Auto Updating Plugins & Themes
For those of you that hate doing updates you may like this! You can now control the plugins and themes you would like to have update on their own.
Simply click the auto update next to the plugin you want to activate the feature on and then you never have to update it again.
For the themes you can just go to the theme editor and click on theme details to see the same link.
Word of Caution
I would be cautious with this feature because you still need to be aware of what is being updated in the event something goes wrong. A recent update to the Grow plugin by Mediavine and a past update to Yoast created major havoc for websites in the search engines. If you do not keep updated on these issues – then the auto updates may really harm you!
10 | Accessibility
If you have not seen – accessibility is becoming a bigger and bigger issue and if your website is not accessible for disabled users you are opening yourself up for potential lawsuits and complaints.
WordPress has been working hard to improve their usability both on the front end and back end of their CMS.
Below is a list of the changes they have made in WordPress 5.5:
- List tables now come with extensive, alternate view modes.
- Link-list widgets can now be converted to HTML5 navigation blocks.
- Copying links in media screens and modal dialogs can now be done with a simple click of a button.
- Disabled buttons now actually look disabled.
- Meta boxes can now be moved with the keyboard.
- A custom logo on the front page no longer links to the front page.
- Assistive devices can now see status messages in the Image Editor.
- The shake animation indicating a login failure now respects the user’s choices in the
Error:prefixes have been removed from error notices.
11 | WordPress Redirect Guessing Improvements
I bet many of you did not know this was a thing! But it is!
WordPress will often try and guess where to redirect a page if it no longer exists. You would think that it would just go to a 404 not found page, but that is not always the case.
You had a URL at https://mywebsite.com/best-shoes-for-crocodiles – but then deleted it and did not redirect it.
But you also have a URL at https://mywebsite.com/best-shoes-for-rats – well, WordPress may take it upon itself to send that deleted URL to this page instead because the first few words in the URL are close to the deleted page.
The update to this now gives website owners a bit more control over the guessing logic allowing them to create a “stricter” or “looser” comparison.
There is also a filter that will allow you to completely disable this feature.
add_filter( ‘do_redirect_guess_404_permalink’, ‘__return_false’);
I am excited about the changes coming and the roadmap for WordPress is looking pretty exciting as well.
Would love to hear your thoughts/questions on any of the items above?
Are you feeling excited – or overwhelmed?