On 7 July, WordPress made WordPress 5.5 Beta 1 available for testing. After fixing 48 bugs, Beta 2 was made available to the public last week, with the official release date scheduled for 11 August 2020.
The upcoming update will expand the content management system’s auto-updating capabilities to themes and plugins.
While most of the updates centre around the Gutenberg plugin, additionally XML sitemaps will now be included along with lazy-load images. The round up of updates is available below, taken from the official site.
Block editor: features and improvements
WordPress 5.5 will include ten releases of the Gutenberg plugin, bringing with it a long list of exciting new features. Here are just a few:
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:
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.
XML Sitemaps are now included in WordPress and enabled by default. Sitemaps are essential to search engines discovering the content on your website. Your site’s home page, posts, pages, custom post types, and more will be included to improve your site’s visibility.
Auto-updates for plugins and themes
WordPress 5.5 also brings auto-updates for plugins and themes. Easily control which plugins and themes keep themselves up to date on their own. It’s always recommended that you run the latest versions of all plugins and themes. The addition of this feature makes that easier than ever!
WordPress 5.5 will include native support for lazy-loaded images utilizing new browser standards. With lazy-loading, images will not be sent to users until they approach the viewport. This saves bandwidth for everyone (users, hosts, ISPs), makes it easier for those with slower internet speeds to browse the web, saves electricity, and more.