WordPress 5.5 – What’s New for Users & Developers with Screenshots

September 13th, 2023

WordPress 5.5 is on the way and is slated for release on August 11th, 2020. After WordPress 5.4, this will be the second major WordPress release of the year, offering you tons of new features and improvements to enhance your overall content-publishing experience.

Let’s check out what’s new coming to WordPress 5.5 for end-users and professional WordPress developers!

An Improved Block Editor with New Useful Features

Since the release of the Gutenberg block editor back in late 2018, the CMS has brought several improvements to enhance your content editing experience. WordPress 5.5 is no exception and brings the following enhancements to the editor:

#UI Improvements

New icons, a more noticeable (+) button, borders around buttons and toolbars, and focus highlighting as you move from one block to another are a few UI improvements made to the block editor in WordPress 5.5.

WordPress 5.5 - UI Improvements

#The New Block Directory

WordPress 5.5 brings a new block directory, allowing you to discover, install, and insert dozens of new third-party individual blocks into the editor.

WordPress 5.5 - New Block Directory

#Block Patterns

In WordPress 5.5, block patterns are ready-to-use blocks, like columns, buttons, gallery, headers, etc., with commonly used settings, allowing you to create elaborate layouts quickly and easily.

WordPress 5.5 - Block Patterns

#Streamlined Block Navigation and Movement

WordPress 5.5 makes it easier for users to move blocks around inside the editor. As you click the block handle, you can drag it up and down.

WordPress 5.5 Updates

You can now even select the parent block in the nested blocks, like groups and columns.

#Inline Image Editing

In WordPress 5.5, you’ll be able to edit (crop, rotate, and zoom) images inline right from the block, without leaving the block editor. However, you have to open a particular image in the media library.

Inline Image Editing

Auto Updates for Themes & Plugins

WordPress 5.5 allows you to enable automatic updates for themes and plugins via Dashboard. On the Plugins page, click the ‘Enable auto-updates’ link next to a specific plugin.

WordpPress 5.5 Auto Update

Similarly, you can turn on auto-updates for themes. Go to Appearance >> Themes and click the ‘Enable auto-updates’ link given beneath the name of a particular theme.

WordPress 5.5 Auto Theme Update

Additionally, themes and plugins can now be updated by uploading a ZIP file.

WordPress 5.5 Auto Plugin Update

WordPress will automatically detect the installed plugin or theme and give you an option to ‘Replace current with uploaded’.

WordPress 5.5 Features

The New Default WordPress XML Sitemaps

WordPress 5.5 comes with built-in XML Sitemaps that are enabled by default. The new sitemaps feature creates a file named wp-sitemap.xml, containing links to all other sitemap files.

WordPress 5.5 Features

Needless to say that XML Sitemaps play a vital role in improving the SEO of a WordPress site.

Default Lazy-loading Images

To improve WordPress sites’ performance through lazy loading of images, the CMS adds the loading=“lazy” attribute to img tag in version 5.5 by default.

WordPress 5.5 - Lazy-loading Images

Means, you now don’t have to install any plugin to incorporate lazy loaning functionality into your WordPress site.

Device Previews

Starting WordPress 5.5, you’ll also be able to see how your content looks to users on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.

Device Previews

This functionality is available right within your editor area.

Under the Hood Changes for Developers

Apart from the features and improvements mentioned above, WordPress 5.5 also brings several under the hood improvements aimed at developers:

  • Several packaged external libraries, including SimplePie, phpMailer, Masonry, Twemoji, and more, have been updated.
  • Developers have control over the auto-update feature.
  • Dashicons have been updated and offer 65 new icons.
  • WordPress 5.5 scans for PHP compatibility issues more effectively.

That’s all about WordPress 5.5. If you face any issue upgrading your theme, plugin, or website to the new version, feel free to hire certified WordPress developers from WordPressIntegration.

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