WordPress 5.5: These changes are coming in August

WordPress 5.5 is now in public beta. The changes look very promising.

On 7 July 2020, the WordPress team made WordPress 5.5 Beta 1 available for testing. While this is still under development, and it’s not a good idea to use it on a production site, the scheduled release date for the update is 11 August 2020.

There are some super cool features coming with this release – and not all of them are focussed on the block editor.

Much of the bug fixes and improvements will centre around Gutenberg, of course, and the list of changes looks promising.

The full list of changes is listed below, but a couple of thing stand out.

Device previews is a big one. Sure, you can use Chrome’s dev tools to do similar, but isn’t it just so much easier to click a button? Just ask anyone who uses Elementor.

The ability to add third-party blocks straight from the editor is also interesting.  

Away from the Gutenberg-specific updates coming to WordPress 5.5 in August is the addition of XML sitemaps being part of the core and lazy-load for images. The feature list also includes automatic updates for themes and plugins – with the user selecting which plugins should be trusted with such benevolence.

If you want to test WordPress 5.5 in  beta before it is officially released,  you can get it from the official WordPress site. Below is the full list of features, copied from the official site.

Gutenberg block editor changes coming with WordPress 5.5

  • Inline image editing – Crop, rotate, and zoom photos inline right from image blocks.
  • Block patterns – Building elaborate pages can be a breeze with new block patterns. Several are included by default.
  • Device previews – See how your content will look to users on many different screen sizes.
  • End block overwhelm. The new block inserter panel displays streamlined categories and collections. As a bonus, it supports patterns and integrates with the new block directory right out of the box.
  • Discover, install, and insert third-party blocks from your editor using the new block directory.
  • A better, smoother editing experience with: 
    • Refined drag-and-drop
    • Block movers that you can see and grab
    • Parent block selection
    • Contextual focus highlights
    • Multi-select formatting lets you change a bunch of blocks at once 
    • Ability to copy and relocate blocks easily
    • And, better performance
  • An expanded design toolset for themes.
  • Now add backgrounds and gradients to more kinds of blocks, like groups, columns, media & text
  • And support for more types of measurements — not just pixels. Choose ems, rems, percentages, vh, vw, and more! Plus, adjust line heights while typing, turning writing and typesetting into the seamless act.

Other changes coming to 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 prefers-reduced-motion media query.
  • Redundant Error: prefixes have been removed from error notices.
  • Plugins and themes can now be updated by uploading a ZIP file.
  • More finely grained control of redirect_guess_404_permalink().
  • Several packaged external libraries have been updated, including PHPMailer, SimplePie, Twemoji, Masonry, and more.
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Antoinette Muller
Antoinette is a recovering journalist. She's a multi-award winner and thinks it's strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she's playing as herself in The Sims.