The new editor in WordPress 5.0
WordPress has gone through hundreds (thousands!) of small and large transformations since it was first released in 2003. And sometime soon, another big change is coming: WordPress Gutenberg. You can read all about Project Gutenberg directly on the WordPress website, but in summary, it is a whole new way of editing content for pages and posts in WordPress.
Up until now, the Classic WordPress editor has been a standard WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) tool with basic text formatting & alignment tools, with the ability to insert links and upload images. If you wanted your page or post layout to be fancier than bare-bones text content running down the page – say, a call-out of some kind with a special border or background – it required a page builder, a special widget, shortcode, or even custom HTML code.
Gutenberg aims to change that by adding the concept of content blocks to the native WordPress editor. This way, the average user with no coding knowledge can structure and layout content simply and elegantly. Drag and drop the type of content you want to include and you’re on your way.
When will Gutenberg be released?
Gutenberg actually already exists! But not as part of the WordPress core – you have to install a separate Gutenberg plugin. But the plan is that with the upcoming release of WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg will be part of WordPress by default. It was slated for spring 2018, but that has come and gone without the release of 5.0, and no new date has been announced.
So Gutenberg is a good thing, right?
Well, it depends on who you ask. Progress and new features with online tools can be a bumpy road, especially when so many rely on WordPress to power their websites and businesses. There are still a lot of questions about how various plugins will interact with the way Gutenberg handles content. Nobody wants their website to break! Not to mention, learning how to use something new can be a pain – especially when you’re busy running your business.
It seems as though the developers at WordPress have slowed the push to get Gutenberg out because so many in the community expressed concern about how it would effect the more than 70 million websites that are built on the WordPress platform. And THAT is a great thing.
As a website designer and developer, my initial reaction when I tested out Gutenberg myself was that yes, this is all good! Though, I love learning new tools and getting access to new fancy features, so I may be a little biased. My second thought was How will I help my clients make the transition from the Classic editor to Gutenberg? A lot of the sites I build should be a pretty seamless migration, other than the learning curve. But a few may take some tweaks and adjustments to get the content to function the same way on the new setup. So my overall feeling is: cautious excitement? 🙂
Prepare your website for WordPress Gutenberg
There’s still plenty of time to prepare before Gutenberg becomes a permanent part of WordPress. Here are a few things you can do:
- Search for known issues with plugins and themes you’re currently using. This way you’ll be aware of any potential problems and have time to research fixes or alternative plugins.
- Install the Gutenberg plugin on your own site to see how it works. If you try out Gutenberg and notice it’s not working with a feature on your site – don’t panic! There’s a Classic Editor plugin you can install that will revert the editor back to ‘the old way’ and you should be good to go while you work on a permanent solution.
- If all of this feels confusing and is stressing you out, you can hire a WordPress expert to help you with the testing and transitioning. The website developer will install the Gutenberg plugin and test drive how it works with your current theme and plugins. You’ll get a report on what’s discovered – and an action plan if there are any fixes that need to be applied – so you’ll be ready to go when WordPress 5.0 is released.
Still have questions? Contact me and we’ll hash it out 🙂