A Field Guide to WordPress 5.5

WordPress 5.5 Field Guide

As we all know, the next major release is on its way and all WordPress lovers are eagerly waiting for WordPress 5.5. It is expected to be THE BEST version of WordPress to ever ship out.

WordPress 5.5 is on for 11th August 2020 and if you’ve been keeping up with our blog, then you probably are aware of the changes coming in the next big release. However, if you are not, worry not. Just go through this WordPress 5.5 Field Guide and learn about the changes coming.

There are a total of 157 enhancements, feature requests, 307 bug fixes, and more changes in WordPress 5.5. Isn’t that exciting?  The guide, posted by Justin Ahinon, lays down the major changes that will be seen in WordPress 5.5. Justin strongly suggests users test their plugins, themes, and sites with WordPress 5.5 before the release so that they don’t have to face unanticipated issues later.

The major update, WordPress 5.3 will include new blocks, enhanced block editor with improved UI, automatic themes and plugin update, improved accessibility, default lazy loading images, XML sitemaps, and more.

Let’s have a quick look at the enhancements we’re going to witness in WordPress 5.5.

Gutenberg Block Editor Improvements

WordPress 5.5 will include an array of amazing performance enhancements regarding the Gutenberg Editor. The default block editor will include features from the last 10 Gutenberg Plugin Update releases (from 7.6 to 8.5).

You will notice improved UI in the default block editor like borders around toolbars and buttons, new icons, and writing improvements. Also, users will now be able to edit images inline (scale, crop, rotate, and resize) without leaving the editor.


WordPress 5.5 comes with 34 Accessibility enhancements including the opt-in navigation-widgets feature. It improves the semantics and accessibility of widgets with lists of links in themes.

Themes and Plugins Auto Updates

With the new WordPress update, users will now be able to enable automatic updates for plugins and themes directly from the admin dashboard.

For plugins, you just need to visit the Plugins page and click on the ‘Enable auto-updates’ option next to the plugin you wish to enable automatic updates for. Similarly, for themes, you need to visit the Appearance > Themes page and click on the “Enable auto-updates” option. So, leave your updating task to WordPress with v5.5.

Default Lazy Loading Images

Lazy loading images are one of the best ways to boost your site performance and WordPress 5.5 is bringing it to us. The new update will make lazy loading images a default option for all sites by adding the “loading” attribute to img tag.

XML Sitemaps

WordPress 5.5, by default, will come with an in-built sitemaps functionality. It will create a new sitemap index file called wp-sitemap.xml which will contain links to all other sitemap files it will generate.

For Developers

There are even more goodies for developers in WordPress 5.5. Some of which are:

  • Update a plugin or theme by uploading a ZIP file
  • Default categories for custom post types
  • Support for default terms in custom taxonomies
  • Enforcing a default comment_type value
  • Updates to the PHPMailer, SimplePie, Twemoji, Masonry, imagesLoaded, getID3, Moment.js, and clipboard.js external libraries
  • Template loading functions now allow additional arguments to be passed through to the matched template file using a new $args parameter
  • WordPress now attempts to invalidate PHP files when Core, Plugins, or Themes are updated via wp_opcache_invalidate()
  • How theme authors can filter archive page headings
  • The new createInterpolateElement and wp_get_environment_type() functions
  • Better control of the redirect_guess_404_permalink() function
  • New CSS styles for buttons with disabled state
  • The final update to the Dashicons icon font as focus now shifts to the new Icon component
  • Various PHP-related improvements and changes

You can read the full field guide to WordPress 5.5 here. Please, test your code. So that any prevailing issues can be fixed beforehand and help you and other millions of WordPress users and sites.

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