The new WordPress 5.5 updates have been released as of 11 August 2020 and it brings along with it, some very interesting changes. As many WordPress site owners have expressed in the past, they would like the block editor to be easier to use and more readily available while they’re editing, WordPress has not disappointed. Plugins and themes are now auto-updated, which makes them more relevant and more user friendly. Images can be edited much more easily, content can be previewed much faster, all that is more will be covered here, right now!
Back in March of this year, Gutenberg 7.8 was released and it brought block patterns for themes and plugins. Block patterns are already defined layouts and they allow users to insert complex structures into their posts and pages. Its aim is to make it easier for content writers to avoid the inherent blank page look of the website. We all know that content writing on the website has, at times, looked like compact text patches, with huge suaves of the page being completely empty. This has hopefully been resolved because the block pattern editor icon is actually inside the page now. So, you don’t have to click outside the page when editing to access it.
It also helps to improve the layout of your page, because you can add patterns and templates to your page, at different intervals, so you have more structure and more interesting things going on, alongside your text. It also means that because of block patterns, you have the ability to insert your own photographs more readily and make your page unique. Themes and plugins are now easier to insert and access. Block patterns also allow you to insert things that will improve user engagement, such as ‘download’ and ‘contact us’ buttons. Individual block movements have also been made easier.
Image editing has been made much easier (can you sense a trend?) and this makes image insertion more interesting for your page. For one thing, the tools to edit the images are actually overlayed onto the image, when you hover your mouse over it. Rather than have to select the image and then move to a separate bar, you can click onto the icons of the editing tools, and use them one by one.
So, insert an image, and use the various tools such as cropping, zooming, adding a link, resize, change the aspect ratio and do so much more, without having to go anywhere else. What kind of effect does this have, or is it supposed to have?
Well, it makes regular images a lot less boring. If you have an image such as a field with a person in the middle, you may not want to use it because previously, it was more difficult to zoom in on the person. Now, you can do so very easily and thus, use images that you wouldn’t before. You have more artistic choice and freedom to crop and zoom into images as you please.
Photo Credit: https://www.imperva.com/learn/performance/lazy-loading/
WordPress 5.5 will have a default lazy loading of the images into a browser. This happens for every browser, except for Safari. This makes your website easier to transport or shift to another browser when it comes to coding in WordPress Core. it's also more user-friendly for theme developers and those that want to make their website truly unique. Lazy loading will make your website faster, which boosts user experience and interaction. It will also decrease the need for network resources. It also decreases the layout shifts that can be experienced sometimes, when you happen to click on something you didn’t want to.
Driven by the need for greater security, in a world full of cybercrime, plugins can now be auto-updated. When you go today our plugin list today, you can go down to the right side where it says’ enable auto-plugins’ and activate it. It's that easy! You can do so one by one, there’s no ‘on or off’ option for the whole list. This means you can auto-update various plugins, and prevent some from updating without your permission. This is a nuanced approach as some plugins cause havoc when updates and patches don’t go as they should. Now you can auto-update an antivirus plugin but leave something else, as it is.
The same goes for themes, they can be auto-updates too! Click on Theme Details and do the same thing, by clicking on ‘Enable auto-updates’. For those that are WordPress developers, you can customize the aspects of plugins and then auto-updates. So if you would like specific updates to be automatic, you can enable those, but other areas can stay as they are until you change your mind. You can also update your themes and plugins from the dashboard, so you don’t need to go into the tab where it has a list of them.
Allowing your WordPress website to be trawled through by search engines, the 5.5 updates has improved sitemaps. Before the update, the sitemaps could only be included in your website, if you used a plugin or some other tools such as XML.
However, now there is a brand new XML feature for sitemaps. It allows for additional basic functions, but it also comes with new hooks and filters. This is great for developers as they can choose to extend some functionalities over others, depending on the trend of search engines. Sitemaps allow search engines to index your website, and the new updates provide the following object types.
This update has been welcomed by the majority of people. The best feature is probably the image editing update. It makes content writing so much more interesting and increases the chances of a consumer, clicking on your blog post.
Overall, we rate the update an impressive 4.5-stars.
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