WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg
WordPress has been a strong content management system (CMS) for over a decade. It’s open-source and user-friendly construction has allowed it to evolve from a simple blogging tool to a robust CMS for websites of all sizes and complexities. In the hands of competent developer, just about anything can be done. So when WordPress announces a major update it’s big news! With any update you can expect bug fixes and minor changes, but the release of WordPress 5.0 will introduce the Gutenberg visual editor.
What is Gutenberg?
Simply put – a block editor. Future page creation and page editing will be done in “blocks”. The goal of Gutenberg is to simplify the process of creating rich content without knowledge in HTML or CSS coding. Adding a quote block, or new image block will be as simple as insert/select.
When Will it be Released?
Soon! The expected date is Nov 27th, put it could be pushed back a few weeks. Gutenberg is available now as a plug-in. Once WordPress 5.0 is released, the Gutenberg editor will be included in that release and the classic editor will be available as a plug-in. Note: If you want to play with Gutenberg now, it requires WordPress 4.8. A major update is a great reminder to verify the version you’re currently running! Check the WordPress site for updates.
(Expected) Advantages to the Gutenberg Editor
- Less coding knowledge required to create multimedia content.
- More intuitive interface for new users.
- Clean page design, providing more writing space.
- Live HTML blocks help “preview” content and design, (hopefully) eliminating the need to toggle between visual editor and text editor modes.
- Developers can write their own blocks for custom content design.
- Backward compatibility. With countless themes and plug-ins available the “Gutenberg effect” is a big unknown.
- Those accustomed to creating content in the post window will need to change their habits. No more composing in the browser.
- The new user interface may require an extra step, or two.
What does this mean for me?
- Back Up Now: Backing up your site before updating WordPress versions is a best practice. And with all the unknowns of 5.0, it is crucial to take that precaution. The Gutenberg editor should be a great new tool for WordPress users, but there’s always a chance for issues. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your website!
- Take the New Editor for a Test Drive: WordPress doesn’t release updates without a reason. They are continually improving features and add new options. Take time to test out Gutenberg before making the big update so you are comfortable with the new editor. Check out the free online demo which allows you to see the interface and use the editor.
- Time Your Update: With the expected release date of the WordPress 5.0 at the end of November, timing is important. Don’t update your site right before your holiday vacation. If you manage an eCommerce site and hope to capture some of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday traffic, it makes sense to wait, ensuring your will not lose any potential sales.
Last words of advice regarding Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0 – embrace it! As previously mentioned, WordPress doesn’t release updates for the fun of it. The goal of the Gutenberg editor is to make things easier for website managers and expand the system’s capabilities. Backup your site, preview the update, play with it, and welcome the new WordPress 5.0.