WordPress remains one of the web’s leading content management systems, with 1.3 billion live websites around the world.
The world of WordPress is ever-changing, and here at CreativeMinds we want to keep you in the know on the newest features, updates, and trends coming your way. Read on for our list of the latest developments to keep an eye on.
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The introduction of the Gutenberg editor has already transformed the way users build and edit their WordPress websites. Introduced in 2019, Gutenberg is still relatively new – but that hasn’t stopped the company looking to the future, with plans to further develop the tool by adding new and exciting features.
The Four Phases of Gutenberg
Gutenberg is in the second phase of development, but in its current roadmap WordPress states they intend to work on four major phases over the coming months. They are as follows:
- Easier Editing – Already available in WordPress, with ongoing improvements.
- Customization – Full Site editing, Block Patterns, Block Directory, Block based themes.
- Collaboration — A more intuitive way to co-author content.
- Multi-lingual — Core implementation for Multi-lingual sites.
Gutenberg has proved to be one of the most significant changes that WordPress has introduced in a long while, and so we’re certain that the development won’t end there. We’re really excited to see where the WordPress team takes Gutenberg in the future.
WordPress have already stated that its main goal for 2020 is ‘full site editing via Gutenberg,’ but that doesn’t mean that the company doesn’t have other upgrades on its agenda. There are two more “major versions” slated for release in 2020.
March saw the release of WordPress 5.4, but, as always, the WordPress team is working on the next batch of updates and improvements. WordPress outlines that the next major update to the platform will be available in the summer, tentatively scheduled for August.
What Can Users Expect from 5.5?
Here’s what we know about WordPress 5.5 so far:
1. Auto-Updates for Themes and Plugins Will Finally Ship
Currently, auto-updating is only available for WordPress core. With the 5.5 update however, you will be able to set any plugins and themes you use to auto-update as well.
This is perhaps the biggest new feature coming to WordPress, as it will take the hassle and worry out of manually updating plugins and themes.
It was originally supposed to be part of WordPress’ 2019 updates but wasn’t ready to ship in time. It certainly wasn’t forgotten about however, and we can expect to see it up and running as part of WordPress 5.5.
2. Lazy Loading Makes Its WordPress Debut
For those unfamiliar with web development jargon, lazy loading is a technique used to optimize web page speed. Instead of loading a whole website in one go, lazy loading is where content only loads as the user needs it – this saves on resources and can significantly decrease loading times.
WordPress’ Felix Arnst wrote about lazy loading back in January 2020, and now it has been confirmed that it will feature as part of the next update.
3. XML Sitemaps are Coming
Another exciting feature coming in the latest update is the introduction of XML sitemap’s for WordPress websites.
XML sitemaps are meant for consumption by search engines such as Google. It is essentially a roadmap for your website – listing pages and the date they were last updated. This signals to search engines that there is new content to crawl, which can in turn help to boost your SEO credentials.
WordPress talked about the possibility of its own plugin to do this in January 2020, looking at existing plugins provided by other developers as guidance. Due to the popularity of the idea, it is set to be featured in the 5.5 update this summer.
4. There Will Be Further Integration with Gutenberg
Gutenberg has received some mixed reviews from WordPress developers, but on the whole the reaction has been positive. WordPress is set to capitalize on this by further integrating Gutenberg with WordPress core throughout 2020.
WP5.5 will ‘update to include current releases of the Gutenberg plugin’. Great news if you’re one of the many loving the new features available with Gutenberg!
Predictions for the Future
The world of web development and content management is changing all the time, so without the aide of a crystal ball it’s hard to say what will come next – but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate!
Here are a few ideas for what might be up next for WordPress:
More Freedom for Themes
With the introduction of Gutenberg, themes and theme developers have seen somewhat of a renaissance. It’s possible that this will only continue into the future – as themes become increasingly decoupled from content and plugins.
That means more freedom and even more creativity for theme developers, and more opportunities for users to create stunning, totally unique websites – what’s not to love?
Easier Maintenance for All
As we’ve outlined before, maintenance for any website can be time consuming and even expensive – and WordPress is unfortunately no exception.
However, we think this may change in the not too distant future with simpler themes and plugins, increased automation of manual tasks, and the widespread adoption of Gutenberg as a page builder.
Even More Mobile Optimization
We know that the future of the web lies in mobile devices, and so it makes sense for WordPress to further optimize their offerings for mobile. Gutenberg’s editor tools have already made steps in this direction – but we predict we’ll see more updates for mobile devices in the near future.
Whatever the future holds, we’re certain that WordPress will continue to be a leading force in CMS, delivering a solution that’s easy to use and with excellent support in the form of regular, comprehensive updates.
With that in mind – what are you hoping to see in the future of WordPress? Are there any features that you feel will improve your experience? Let us know!