What’s New in WordPress 5.5

The second major release of WordPress 5.5 is just around the corner to impress you! It was scheduled to release on August 11, 2020.

Though the fresh version has come up with massive improvements you should still play around with it by setting up a test site before you are going to implement it to your main site.

Today, we will show you what’s the newest additions and tweaks in the latest WordPress 5.5. Now let’s get going…

WordPress 5.5 new features

New Useful WordPress 5.5 Features and Improvements in The Block Editor

The following are just some of the enhancements that you may want to try out.

We know that the WordPress 5.0 came up with a promising post editor called Gutenberg block editor. Since then they have been adding major features and improvements with each release.

As a continuous effort, they have added a host of new features and improvements to the block editor which will give you a more user friendly experience.

Here are a number of enhancement you may want to be interested in:

Improved User Interface

In the block editor of WordPress 5.5, you will see some major UI improvements. While writing you will notice borders around new icons, toolbars, and buttons. In addition to that as you move across blocks while writing, you can also focus on highlighting.

What’s New in WordPress 5.5 1

There is a slight change in the (+) icon which has become more discernible and looks more like a button.

What’s New in WordPress 5.5 2

Inline Image Editing

This is an effective advancement to the block editor. Previously WordPress allowed us to do some basic image editing activities like cropping, scaling, rotating, and resizing. Now guess what! You can edit images inline!

What’s New in WordPress 5.5 3

Default Lazy Load Images in WordPress

Optimizing your site for search engines is imperative to get more visitors. But if you make your website clumsy using the heavy images, your page loading speed will decrease.

To address this issue WordPress 5.5 has shipped with a default technique called lazy load images. What it does is that it only downloads images visible on the user’s browser screen and the rest of the images are downloaded when the user scrolls down further.

Please note that this feature is supported by all browsers except Safari.

You will be able to see the ‘lazy‘ attributes inside the <img> tag:

Lazy loading images

Brand New Block Patterns in WordPress 5.5

From this very new version, you can use block patterns. With these ready to use blocks you can create layouts using commonly used settings.

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You will get a bunch of useful patterns out of the box. In future, this list of patterns will grow as the core, themes and plugins will continue garnering more patterns.

The New Block Directory

With the new WordPress 5.5, you can add new blocks using WordPress plugins. And as an improvement, you will find dozens of new blocks too.

Another important tweak is that you will get a block directory built-in with the “Add New Block” search. From here, you will be able to search for a block. If you don’t find a block matching your query, the block directory will automatically be showing you matching results.

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There is a limitation in the block directory that is it won’t facilitate you with block library plugins that allow you to use multiple blocks from a single plugin.

Updated Block Navigation and Movement

Now, in WordPress 5.5 you can move a block up and down inside the content editor in an easier way simply using the block handle. You will also find it easier to select the parent block from the nested blocks just like the columns or groups block.

Moving blocks around in WordPress 5.5

Auto Updates for WordPress Plugins & Themes

Another handy feature in WordPress 5.5! In the past, we got overwhelmed with lots of feature update messages. From now on, the core will include a third party plugin that will allow you to enable the auto-update feature for the plugins.

Enabling auto-updates for plugins in WordPress 5.5

You can not only update plugins but you can also update themes using this auto-update feature. To auto-update themes navigate to the WP Amin Dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Click on “Enable auto-updates” link.

Auto updates for themes

The New Default WordPress XML Sitemaps

We know how important it is to generate xml sitemaps for any website. Because it helps search engines like Google to easily find, crawl and index your webpages.

You may be already generating XML sitemaps using third-party plugins. Fortunately, the brand new WordPress 5.5 has come up with a built-in sitemaps feature. Meaning that you don’t have to generate sitemaps using SEO plugins anymore.

What’s New in WordPress 5.5 6

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will ditch SEO plugins for this feature. Because the core version of WordPress 5.5 will generate sitemaps with basic functionalities.

But to rank higher in the search engine, you may still need to use the existing SEO plugins to generate XML sitemaps.

Update Themes and Plugins with FTP in WordPress 5.5

If you are to update WordPress themes and plugins, you may end up with an error. But in WordPress 5.5 you can now do it very easily with FTP client.

To update with the FTP client, you will have to download the theme or plugin you want to update beforehand. Then go to the WP Admin Dashboard > Plugins > Add New > Choose File.

After uploading the .zip file, WordPress will automatically detect your outdated plugin and will ask you if it would replace it with the newer version. Go ahead and click on the “Replace current with uploaded”

WordPress 5.5 Plugin update

To update your theme with the latest version go to the WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Upload theme > Choose File  > Upload the .ZIP file of the latest version.

Similar to detecting plugins, WordPress will understand that you already have that theme installed and will give you the option to ‘Replace current with uploaded’ version.

Accessibility Changes as a part of regular updates

No WordPress major release would be complete without some Accessibility improvements and 5.5 is no different. In this release a number of changes were introduced, with these being the most notable:

Every major release of WordPress comes with accessibility changes. This time it’s no different. Here are a few accessibility changes compiled from WordPress.org:

  • 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.

Pro Tips For Developers

Under the hood, there are a lot changes for the developers too! We recommend you to go through the Field Guide that contains all the Dev Notes regarding the major changes. You can also sign up for the Core Blog so as to keep abreast of the latest changes that may influence your code. I would like to recommend that never wait for the release date rather test your code with the beta version to make sure that nothing gets conflicted when the latest version is released.

Over To You

If you have already tried some of the things you mentioned above, let us know how did you feel about them. And, if you think that we have missed any changes to include, don’t hesitate to share with us in the comment section below.

WordPress 5.4 “Adderley” Review – What’s Inside?

That WordPress 5.4 “Adderley” has been released on March 31st, 2020 is a piece of great news for every WordPress enthusiast. Most importantly, it is now available to download it from the WordPress.org officially. But what’s new inside the brand new version?

In this article, we will look into the new features and changes that are brought about for WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”. So, let’s move forward and see what the changes are.

The New Features and Changes in WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

WordPress 5.4 Adderley Review

With the release of WordPress 5.0, the Gutenberg editor was attached to the core. After that, numerous Gutenberg block add-ons had been rolled out to the market.

Interestingly, with this very release of WordPress 5.4, a considerable number of Gutenberg plugins have been merged into the core. As a result, it will affect the functionalities, User Interface and the overall editing experience as a whole.

In addition to the block editor’s feature enhancements, the new version has introduced some interesting improvements in the Site Health Tool and the Rest API. Although some of the feature improvement has been postponed until the next release of WordPress version 5.5

So, What’s New in the Block Editor with WordPress 5.4?

A considerable number of the Gutenberg plugin versions have been merged into the core, from 6.6 to 7.5. So, if you aren’t using the Gutenberg plugin, you’ll find tons of new features, enhancements, and bug fixes in the block editor when upgrading to WordPress 5.4.

As I said, you will find a considerable number of new features, enhancements, and bug fixes in the new Gutenberg block editor. Besides this, you are going to get a significant 14% loading time reduction and a 51% time-to-type reduction for a post (~36,000 words, ~1,000 blocks) as an upgrade in WordPress version 5.4

New Block Editor Features and Enhancements

Though WordPress 5.4 has the brand new Gutenberg editor, it is a fact that the editor is still under development. However, here are the quick list of the new block editor’s features and improvements in a flash:

  • A Welcome Guide Modal
  • New Social Icons Block
  • New Buttons Block
  • New Tiktok Embed block
  • Fullscreen Mode Enabled by Default
  • Inline Text Color Support in RichText Blocks
  • Additional Color Options for Several Blocks
  • Featured Images in the Latest Posts Block
  • A New Breadcrumb Bar for Block Navigation

A Welcome Guide Modal

Out of the box, when you update to the WordPress 5.4, you will get a nice welcome guide modal that will help you go through the basic information on the brand new block editor. You will also get a link to the online documentation from the editor.

WordPress 5.4: Welcome modal

The Welcome guide slideshow is visible only once immediately after the update. However, you can trigger the same slideshow from the More Tools & Options.

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New Social Icons Block

Initially, this feature was released as experimental usage in Gutenberg 6,5 and now it is stable since Gutenberg 7.5. You can swiftly add social profiles by using the new Social Icons Block, formerly known as Social Links. The new version provides a good number of social icon child blocks to use for in your posts or pages.

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The Social Icons block can be customized with three predefined visual styles:

  • Default
  • Logos only, and 
  • Pill shape.

Social Icons

Bonus tips on Social Icon blocks:

Since Social Icons had been released in Gutenberg 6.5, they may not work properly in Gutenberg 7.5 in case you are using the old Gutenberg editor. In order to get rid of this issue, you can do the followings according to Jorge Costa:

  • Manually Update All Contents: First off, update to WordPress 5.4 and then manually load your content in the Gutenberg block editor and save it. This way you can migrate the social icons to the new version.
  • When updating to WordPress 5.4, keep the Gutenberg Plugin Installed:

Dedicated Tool to Select a Block Easily

While you are working on nested blocks like a group or columns, you may got in trouble in selecting a block easily. Fortunately, the WordPress 5.4 has addresssed this issue with a dedicated select tool you want to change.

Select block tool

The TikTok Embed Block

WordPress 5.4 has been released considering the tiktok superstars. Yes, you heard it right! Fron now we can embed Tiktok videos along with YouTube or Dailymotion videos i any post or pages.

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New Buttons Block

This new button block works like a page builder element. This means, unlike adding a single button, you can now add multiple buttons within a same block container. The multiple buttons are completely new features in Gutenberg version 7.2.

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You can also customize the buttons with the predefined styles like changing the color properties and changing the border radii as usual:

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Drag and Drop to Upload Featured Image

Surely, you are going to love this feature, because it will save your time when you are uploading the featured images without selecting the upload option. The WordPress 5.4 will allow you to simply drag and drop an image to the featured image section from your local storage.

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Fullscreen Mode Enabled by Default

Upon upgrading to WordPress version 5.4, the Gutenberg editor will open up in fullscreen mode by default. But you can change the mode anytime from the More Tools & Options:

Fullscreen mode

Inline Text Color Support in RichText Blocks

If you want to change the color of a single word or strings you no longer need to hardcode anymore. Yes, you heard it right! With the release of WordPress 5.4, you can now style your text with the inline text color support with rich text blocks. It will be pretty helpful if you are writing long-form articles.

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Starting with WordPress 5.4, we can select words and sub-strings in RichText blocks and quickly change their colors using the built-in color picker.

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Additional Color Options for Several Blocks

The new WordPress 5.4 does not limit the color options to the features and enhancements. What that means is that you will now be able to use gradient backgrounds along with a list of predefined gradient styles.

Here are a few new features and enhancements to look at:

  • You will find the gradient support for the butttons block, and cover block.
  • If you are using Group blocks, you will get the text color support for it (Gutenberg 7.4 and 7.5). In addition, nested blocks will inherit the text color from their respective parent group block.
  • Text and background color support for Columns block (Gutenberg 7.4 and 7.5).
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Featured Images option in the Latest Posts Block

From now on, with the advent of Gutenberg 7.5, you can effortlessly add featured images in the Latest Post Block.

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This option makes the Latest Posts Block more advanced and dynamic making them global blocks.

Please note that you can pull post from a specific category but you can not build more advanced queries according to tag/category/post type and or include / exclude single posts.

We hope to see further enhancements with this block in the future.

Caption Below Table

From now on, you can not only add tables but also can add caption from underneath the table block:

Table captions

Fixed Block Toolbar on Mobile

Great news for editing posts or pages on the go! It means you can now edit in a more convenient way from your smartphone. Previously, the toolbar was floating around the block you edited. But now WordPress 5.4 has fixed this bug by adding a floating toolbar.

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A New Breadcrumb Bar for Block Navigation

Available to Gutenberg users since version 6.7, and now merged into the Core, the new breadcrumb bar aims to simplify nested block navigation.

Although the Breadcrumb Bar was available since the Gutenberg version 6.7, it is now merged into the core. The purpose of the Breadcrumb bar is to simplify the nested block navigation.

Here is a breadcrumb bar at the end of the image marked by red rectangle:

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Wait, That’s Not the End!

Here are a number of additional changes to make note of:

  • Easier image sizing in the Gallery block.
  • Drag-and-drop images into the featured-image box.
  • Several new APIs.
  • Friendlier offline error messages on REST API request failures.
  • You can now color just parts of the text in any RichText block.

For Theme and Block Developers

With the release of the WordPress version 5.4 a significant changes are made to the core that the theme and block developers must know. Here are the changes that are brought about:

  • Block Editor Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Gradient Theme APIs
  • Markup and Style Changes on the Block Editor
  • Block Scaffolding
  • Block Collections
  • Block Variations

For Developers

5.4 also contains a bunch of developer focused changes.

Updated Calendar Widget

According to the HTML 5.1 a <tfoot> tag must follow <tbody> tag. It was not followed before the WordPress 5.4. Which means with the version 5.4, in order to produce valid HTML, the navigation links are moved to a <nav> HTML element immediately afte the <table> element.

apply_shortcodes() as an alias for do_shortcode()

Don’t worry! The do_shortcode() has not been deprecated. But to deliver better semantics the apply_shortcodes() function will be utilized in leau of the do_shortcode() function.

Better favicon handling

Administrators can now get more flexibility in that they can get a favicon in the Customizer by uploading a /favicon.icon file. And as usual, to use in the emergency time you will always get the WordPress logo as a fallback.

Other changes for developers

Here are the other changes according to the WordPress.org:

  • Clearer information about errors in wp_login_failed.
  • Site ID has been added to the newblog_notify_siteadmin filter for multisite installs.
  • Support has been added for the required WordPress and PHP version headers in themes.
  • Embed support has been added for TikTok.

Wrapping up

This is a quick glimpse of the new WordPress 5.4. We tried to shed light on the most important aspects here. We hope that this article will help you get a quick grasp of the newly released version WordPress 5.4.

Not to mention, though the classic editor has reigned for decades, the Gutenberg editor has going to be more advanced and user-friendly with its more and more new features and enhancements. So, we think it’s time to ditch the outdated classic editor for every WordPress user.

If you do know anything else about WordPress 5.4, please let us know in the comment section below. We will update the content as soon as possible.