WordPress, the worldwide popular and open-source content management system (CMS), released its new version, WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine”. The name honors William C. Eckstine, an American pop and jazz singer.
This time, “Eckstine” involved upgrades in three critical areas: security, search, and speed. So let’s see what is new on it!
The Auto-update feature for plugins and themes is available finally! This means you can configure them, and they can auto-update, without extra efforts. All or just a few, it’s up to you. But the auto-update is a good choice for being sure that your site works with the most recent version.
WordPress 5.5 also makes it easier to update themes or plugins. You don’t need to upload files one by one. Now you can directly upload a ZIP file.
Everybody knows how important is the performance of a site in terms of a better position on search engines to succeed. WordPress 5.5 offers you a built-in XML sitemap that supports your site to be indexed better by search engines. With the update, you don’t have to add a sitemap through extensions like before. WordPress definitely lasted too much with this essential feature.
Images are a double-edged sword. They make websites content more attractive for the audience, but they could make them slow too.
So WordPress is trying a new trick.
WordPress 5.5 includes a solution called “lazy Loading”, a technical term to describe that images wait to be loaded until the moment they are scrolled to be viewed. “Lazy loading” on mobile means saving of data and battery, for users, too. It avoids browsers to load files that are for different devices.
Although some SEO experts don’t like Lazy Loading, Google seems on the trend too. They have their WordPress Lazy Loading extension for a while now.
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Other upgrades in WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine”
- Images can be edited (zoom, rotate, crop) in the image block, so you don’t need to leave your post or page. The image editor now is compatible with the use of an assistant device.
- The meta boxes can be moved with the keyboard for easier management of your publications.
- Copying links are more comfortable now, thanks to a new button for that.
- The block directory is located precisely in the block editor. You can add blocks without leaving the editor.
- There are new block patterns to create more complex layouts (text and image combinations). You can really refresh the look of your articles and pages.
Upgrades for developers
- PHPMailer library was updated. From version 5.2.27, it jumped to 6.1.6.
- Block types endpoints to show all of the types of blocks registered on the particular server. With this change, people with permission to edit posts will also be able to access the block types endpoint.
- Dashicons library added 39 block editor icons.
- If your site uses PHP’s OPcache, you can now get more stable cache invalidation because of the new wp_opcache_invalidate() function when updating plugins and themes.
- The REST API adds official support for specifying metadata values via register_meta().
WordPress 5.5.1 – Maintenance update
WordPress 5.5.1 got public for patching some bugs from the original WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine” release. It is not a complete new version. Just some fixes to editor block, a few enhancements, and fixing of bugs (34 bugs).
Among the most attractive:
- Fix tiny editor preview when using Mobile or Tablet options with meta boxes enabled.
- Fix specificity for buttons with outline style and background colors.
- Fix missing selected block highlighting in list view.
- Removing the ability to change the list of environment types with a new wp_get_environment_type() function.
- Fixed incorrectly paginated XML sitemaps.
- [site-status-tests] filter available for checking your site’s health.
More significant improvements are expected to be developed on WordPress 5.6. The updated version, most probably will be ready in December 2020. We can expect additional bug fixing, PHP 8 support, oEmbed updates and more. So we will see!