A new WordPress version 5.5 Beta 1 has just been released from wordpress.org.

The team behind WordPress continue to develop WordPress and Block Editor (Gutenberg).

The new WordPress version 5.5 beta 1 is a test version and should not be used on any production site.

WordPress recommends downloading and testing the new beta version on a test site.

WordPress 5.5 arrives in August 2020

In the blog post about the new beta version of WordPress 5.5 August 11, 2020 is marked as the release date for the final version of WordPress 5.5.

So we’re not going to wait long for the latest version of WordPress.

Lots of improvements and new features in the new WordPress version 5.5 Beta 1.

The new WordPress version 5.5 Beta 1 contains lots of new interesting and relevant features and functions, especially for the Block Editor.

The Block Editor has already taken the entire WordPress environment by storm and it is still developing tremendously.

We asked back in December 2018 if Gutenberg was a good idea?

Gutenberg was then the forerunner of the current built-in Block Editor in WordPress.

Gutenberg is now being developed as a standalone plugin for WordPress.

Block Editor has proven to be a great idea that has revolutionized WordPress and the way WordPress users can build their websites.

New Block Editor Features in WordPress 5.5 Beta 1

The list of improvements and new features in Block Editor include:1

  • 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: 
    • Refined drag-and-drop
    • 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
  • And support for more types of measurements — not just pixels. Choose ems, rems, percentages, vh, vw, and more! Plus, adjust line heights while typing, turning writing and typesetting into the seamless act.

New functions and features in WordPress 5.5

XML sitemaps

XML Sitemaps are now included in WordPress and enabled by default.

XML sitemaps are essential for optimizing a WordPress site.

Auto-updates for plugins and themes

WordPress 5.5 includes an auto-update function for plugins and themes.

Users can control which plugins and themes keep themselves up to date on their own.

Lazy-loading images

WordPress 5.5 will include native support for lazy-loaded images using new browser standards.

Another good news.

Lazy-load of image files in WordPress are also important for optimizing a WordPres website.

Until now, lazy-load could only be done using third-party plugins – either as a dedicated Lazy-Load plugin or as a built-in part of a WordPress optimization plugin.

Now this will happen as an integral part of WordPress 5.5.

This saves bandwidth and makes it easier for users with slow internet connections to browse the web and save electricity.

wordpress.org

Improved accessibility

There are more additions and enhancements to the upcoming WordPress version 5.5.

WordPress 5.5 includes a range of accessibility improvements.

The accessibility problems in the beginning of the development of the Gutenberg Editor are now a particular focus area at wordpress.org.

The list of improved accessibility features below is cited from the WordPress version 5.5 beta 1 release post on wordpress.org:

  • List tables now come with extensive, alternate view modes.
  • Link-list widgets can now be converted to HTML5 navigation blocks.
  • Copying links in media screens and modal dialogs can now be done with a simple click of a button.
  • Disabled buttons now actually look disabled.
  • Meta boxes can now be moved with the keyboard.
  • A custom logo on the front page no longer links to the front page.
  • Assistive devices can now see status messages in the Image Editor.
  • The shake animation indicating a login failure now respects the user’s choices in the prefers-reduced-motion media query.
  • Redundant Error: prefixes have been removed from error notices.

Read more about the WordPress Accessibility Team and the many improvements the team adds to WordPress.

1: List below is cited from wordpress.org

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