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WordPress 5.5 Eckstine

Despite of the Corona crisis’ impact on everything, the people behind the world’s most succesful Content Management System are keeping up the release frequency.

The new WordPress version 5.5 named Eckstine in honor of the american  jazz and pop singer Billy Eckstine, was released just few days ago.

It’s available for download on wordpress.org.

This release has been awaited with much anticipation because of the new and very interesting features in this release.

Media lazy-load

According to the release notes from wordpress.org lazy-loaded images is now an integral part of WordPress core.

Images can be hard on your pageload times – especially if you not making sure your images (and other media) are optimized the right way.

A heavy image load can make your site seem slow.

From WordPress version 5.5, images will be lazy-loaded.

What is lazy-load?

Lazy-loading is the popular term for asynchronous loading of images.

It means that images will not be loaded on a webpage before it’s needed.

Mostly ‘needed’ means untill the user has scrolled down to where the image is placed on the webpage.

On Wikipedia Lazy Loading is defined this way:

Lazy loading (also known as asynchronous loading) is a design pattern commonly used in computer programming to defer initialization of an object until the point at which it is needed.

It can contribute to efficiency in the program’s operation if properly and appropriately used.

This makes it ideal in use cases where network content is accessed and initialization times are to be kept at a minimum, such as in the case of web pages.

Wikipedia

Lazy loading on mobile devices also helps browsers from loading files meant for other devices.

XML sitemap

WordPress 5.5 includes an XML sitemap that helps search engines discover your most important pages from the very minute you go live.

This helps people to find your site giving you more time to engage, retain and convert them to subscribers, customers or whatever is the purpose of your website.

Security

Auto-updates for Plugins and Themes

Now you can set plugins and themes to update automatically in the WordPress admin.

This way you can be sure that your site is running the latest code available.

You can choose to turn auto-updates on or off for each plugin or theme installed.

The block editor

WordPress 5.5 contains a lot of interesting new features for the block editor.

Block patterns

The block editor in WordPress 5.5 introduces a new concept called block patterns.

Block patterns are predefined block layouts availble in theblock editor and ready to be inserted and modified.

Block patterns make it simple to use predefined combinations of text and media in order to create complex and interesting layouts.

Block patterns are integrated in a wide variety of plugins and themes, with more added all the time.

Block patterns in WordPress 5.5 Eckstine. Video: wordpress.org. View in fullscreen mode.

The new block directory

The new block directory is an integral part the block editor, so new block types can be added to your site without leaving the editor.

Inline image editing

WordPress 5.5 Eckstine lets you crop, rotate, and zoom images from inside the image block.

Inline image editing in WordPress 5.5 Eckstine. Video: wordpress.org. View in fullscreen mode.

Accessibility

WordPress’ accessibility team keeps improving the accessibility features in WordPress.

Links in media screens and modal dialogs can now be copied with a button, instead of trying to highlight a line of text.

Meta boxes can now be moved using the keyboard.

An assistive device can read you the instructions in the image editor.

The highlights above are just an introduction to the new features in the block editor.

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