WordPress 5.5- Expectations vs Reality

WordPress 5.5 2020 Release and the Expectations

It’s finally here! 

WordPress 5.5 was the much-awaited release of 2020. People were looking forward to the new features and updates that the upgrade would introduce. They anticipated that WordPress 5.5 would deliver a marvellous user-experience. 

Digital Entrepreneur Adam Preiser had said- “This is the biggest update that I have seen in a year and a half. I am so excited about it. There’s features in here that are going to make your lives easier.” 

                                      Source: -WordPress For Non-Techies

Francesca Marano, WordPress Community Manager and a passionate orator, wrote before the release- “I feel quite excited about this new version. Marano was looking forward to the Security Improvements, Speed Improvements, SEO Improvements and the Accessibility Improvements that WordPress 5.5 promised.

                                                  Source: What’s New In WordPress 5.5

Latest Features of WordPress

  • Major improvements in the block editor. WordPress 5.5 has introduced block patterns and a new block directory. The block patterns in the block editor are a unique way by which users can create content on WordPress. Block patterns are ready-made blocks. They have common settings which help the users to set up the layout of the page in a quick and easy way. The block editor contains the content elements used for creating content layouts. Each item that the user adds to his/her post or page is a block. The user can add blocks for each paragraph, images, videos, galleries, audio and lists. 

WordPress 5.5 has incorporated major improvements in the block editor including borders around toolbars and buttons, new icons and focus highlighting. These will help the writers as they move across the blocks while writing. Users spend most of their time in the block editor because this is where they create content.

                                                            Source: WordPress Article

  • New editing feature which allows users to directly edit images in the Image Block without leaving the block editor. You can edit an image right on the spot. This will lead to a faster editing experience.
  • Built-in sitemaps. A sitemap provides valuable information to the Search Engines about the important pages of a website. They help in enhancing the ranking of a website in search engine results. WordPress 5.5 has introduced default sitemaps that support all kinds of posts, taxonomies and author archives. It helps more people to find your site sooner. This increases the rates of engagement, retention, subscription and conversion.
  • Images are lazy-loaded by default in WordPress 5.5. This means images will be loaded only when they come in viewing range. This helps posts and pages load faster, thus leading to an improved user-experience. 

WordPress 5.5- Reality and the Consequent Problems 

The excitement that surrounded the release of WordPress 5.5, soon faded away and it faced a lot of criticisms. It seems that the most awaited software upgrade which had promised to improve the overall performance of the online platform, ended up achieving the opposite result in some cases. In fact, there was a stark difference between what people expected and the reality that most of them faced.

Let’s look at some of the problems that people faced after the release of WordPress 5.5-

Plugin Incompatibility – Some of the older Plugins that were not compatible with the latest version of WordPress 5.5 themes created major problems for many websites. Some of the examples of such cases are – 

Bloggers and website owners have experienced major problems with the plugins after installing WordPress 5.5. Many website owners said that the WP admin panel broke down after the installation. 

Users are venting their anger and frustration on various online platforms.

                  Source: WordPress Article – Plugin Not Working After WordPress 5.5 Update

Many online business owners and Marketplace admins panicked after vendors started reporting problems in uploading images and description of their products.

                                        Vendors can’t upload product pictures  

Roger Montti, Search Marketer and an author at Search Engine Journal, wrote- “Thousands of WordPress publishers are experiencing problems.” In fact, there were more than ten thousand affected sites.

                                              Source : Search Engine Journal 

  • Many WordPress sites have crashed because WooCommerce Plugin has stated that it is no longer compatible with the updated WordPress 5.5. 
  • Many users faced problems because of the JQuery Migrate Plugin, which was a plugin that enabled older codes to function on WordPress. In WordPress 5.5 Jquery Migrate Plugin does not get enabled by default anymore. This created massive javascript problems. 

                                            Picture Source : Andrea Piacquadio

Pagination failure- In many cases, updating to WordPress 5.5 has caused massive pagination failure in some sites. Pagination is the sequence of pages in a website which are connected with one another and consist of similar content. It makes navigation easier and leads to a better user-experience.

The customers of the sites where pagination has failed due to WordPress 5.5 were very confused, which made publishers and site-owners frustrated with the update.

Special characters vanished from the websites- Many users complained that upgrading to WordPress 5.5 removed the special characters and non-English alphabets from the permalinks. This led to sites losing meaning for the targeted non-English speaking audiences. 

                                                               Source: Reddit

Comment Display Failure – Some users have also complained that after upgrading to WordPress 5.5, their websites have stopped displaying comments. For example, author Maria Grace wrote about the problems she was facing with WordPress 5.5- “I updated two sites to WordPress 5.5. Both run the latest Graphene version. Since the update, the comments do not show on prior posts unless I add a new comment to the post and when I add a new comment, it has a reply button but none of the rest of the rest of the comments do…I have tried disabling all the plugins and that does not return the comments. I have also tried walking back to the previous version of WordPress with plugins disabled and that does not return the comments either.” 

               Author Maria Grace wrote that she was facing problems with the comments-section.

                           Maria Grace faced problems after upgrading to WordPress 5.5

To deal with the problems created by WordPress 5.5, many users are returning to the previous WordPress version.

Resolving the problem

Most of the problems that websites faced was because of the decision of WordPress 5.5 to remove the JQuery Migrate plugin. WordPress has addressed the problem with the official WordPress Plugin Enable JQuery Migrate Helper. The official statement issued by WordPress regarding this plugin is as follows- “With the update WordPress 5.5, a migration tool known as jquery-migrate will no longer be enabled by default. This may lead to unexpected behaviors in some themes or plugins who run older code. This plugin serves a temporary solution, enabling the migration script for your site to give your plugin and theme authors some more time to update and test their code.” 

More than eighty thousand WordPress users downloaded the Enable JQuery plugin in the hope of solving their problems.

WC Marketplace is a plugin which can be used to build any marketplace that the user wants, as it provides support for all kinds of products. Initially due to the updates introduced by WordPress 5.5, WC Marketplace users were facing problems as well.

Problems Faced by WCMp Users

  • Outdated Themes and Plugin-Incompatibility– Users faced problems because of third-party plugins and theme-conflicts. These plugins and themes became outdated after the upgrade. The front-end dashboard of WCMp displayed the data via javascript, and the JQuery update of WordPress 5.5 disrupted the data load of the vendor dashboard, which caused the problem. 
  • WCMp faced problems in the admin-settings-  The upgrade caused problems with the filters assigned to the admin. For example, the admin was not able to manually assign vendors with the products from the back-end. 

We at WCMp, worked day and night to release the updated version of the plugin where the conflict with WordPress 5.5 has been fully resolved. There were new filters added to resolve the problems that users were facing. Developers also added hooks to add the ‘export button’ for the vendor and product reports. Finally the compatibility with WordPress 5.5 was added as well.

For more updates, queries and help check out our Support Forum.

Addendum – WordPress 5.5.1 

Recently, WordPress has published the maintenance release WordPress 5.5.1 which features 34 bug fixes and 4 enhancements. It also features 5 bug fixes for the block editor. 

WordPress has the good reputation of offering features that help online businesses flourish. Though the site-owners were frustrated with the problems that they faced after the release of the upgrade, they are looking forward to working with the new features introduced by WordPress 5.5, after most of the issues were addressed and resolved by the maintenance updates of WordPress 5.5.1.

Here’s hoping that the next release WordPress 5.6 gives us more features that further enhance user-experiences.  

For more updates on WordPress, watch out this space and please subscribe to our blog.

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