WordPress 5.0: The Gutenberg Editor & What You Need To Know

WordPress 5.0 What you need to know

WordPress 5.0: The Gutenberg Editor & What You Need To Know

WordPress 5.0 is coming soon. Here’s what you need to know in order to avoid potential issues with your website once the update goes live.

WordPress is a worldwide website builder and content management system that powers 30% of all websites everywhere.

As any quality internet or tech-related product does, WordPress frequently releases a new update (several times a year) to keep up with bug fixes, security, and maintenance. WordPress also rolls out new features along with their updates every so often.

The new features keep WordPress up to date and relevant in the ever-evolving world of technology. As a result, WordPress stays compatible with current trends in website building and in the blogging sphere.

A BIG update is coming with WordPress 5.0, set to release soon in 2018.

Version 5.0: The Biggest WordPress Update in Years

This biggest change in the update is a brand-new feature called the Gutenberg editor.

The Gutenberg editor will replace the TinyMCE WYSIWYG page and post editor that has been the core feature of WordPress over the past several years. (See images below.)

The current TinyMCE editor looks like a Microsoft Word document:

And the new Gutenberg editor looks like a blank space with a streamlined sidebar:

Image Credit: Ninja Forms

Why the Change from Classic to Gutenberg?

The main intention of the creators and core developers is to keep WordPress moving forward into the future and not left behind in the dust, as their current style and features are becoming old-fashioned in terms of technology.

Although WordPress maintains a large percent of the market-share, other CMS platforms surpass WordPress in the ease-of-use department by making websites easier to build. Other platforms are adapting quickly to the future with drag-and-drop templates and content blocks. Although many developers build custom environments that do leverage a drag-and-drop interface, WordPress does not come with this functionality out of the box.

Drag-and-drop templates and content blocks are popular for a few reasons:

  • Website Accessibility (You don’t need to know custom code to build or maintain a website.)
  • Easy to Use (Visual editor showcases the changes as they’re made.)
  • Quick to Implement (Visual editor showcases changes as they’re made immediately.)
  • Convenient for building pages and posts (Not as many plugins will be needed for basic website features.)

A lot of features that once had to be relegated to third-party plugins and some savvy technical know-how will now be integrated into the very core of WordPress via Gutenberg.

WordPress has long been known as the blogger’s platform, made primarily for use with blogs, and this update might be upsetting to current bloggers who are used to the old way of doing things, but exciting for website builders and users who crave an easier user experience.

Like anything else, there will be a learning curve for the new technology, but the new features provided will be well worth the time it takes to learn a more modern way of building and updating websites.

The mission of WordPress is to overhaul the way people use WordPress.

“The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.” – WordPress.org

Main Features of The New Gutenberg Editor

The plus sign icon (+) in the top left-hand corner of the blank screen in Gutenberg provides you with an array of content block options that you can add to your page or post (called blocks).The following content blocks are features currently available in Gutenberg:

  • Paragraph text block
  • Heading text block
  • Image block
  • Columns block
  • Image Gallery block
  • Table block
  • Audio block
  • Button block
  • List block
  • Quotes block
  • Widgets block (latest posts, shortcodes, video, embeds, etc.)

How to Be Prepared for Gutenberg

1) Test The Gutenberg Editor

If you’re feeling ambitious or curious about the big new update, you can create a free site (a sandbox) to test the Gutenberg editor before it’s officially released. You can install the Gutenberg plugin on the test site to start test driving the new changes and get a feel for how it works specifically with your site. However, the Gutenberg editor hasn’t officially been released,  so please do not install the plugin to test drive on your current live site.

2) Make Sure Your Current Site is Up to Date

If your site has been updated with each new WordPress release, you likely have nothing to worry about when WordPress 5.0 rolls out. The developers behind your theme and plugins are working hard to ensure their product works well with WordPress 5.0. Just make sure you’re keeping an eye out for each update as it comes. On the other hand, if your website was originally built more than a couple years ago, or your not up to date with the latest version of WordPress, the new update could cause major issues. It’s a good practice to redesign or refresh your website every 2-3 years, so if yours is nearing the end of its life-span, its a good idea to begin discussing options with your agency in advance of the Gutenberg update.

3) Make Sure You Have Great Support

The WordPress community, including third party plugin developers such as WooCommerce, is experimenting with the features of Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0 to make sure their plugin is compatible with the update that is supposed to be rolling out any time now.

Some themes and plugins may not be compatible with the first releases of WordPress 5.0, since bugs might not be immediately evident during the beta phase, and more extensive testing might be needed. If you find something on your site isn’t working after the update like it was before, first contact your hosting company for support. Then, contact your theme or plugin developer to find out if they are aware of the bug and what is being done to fix it.

According to WP Engine (our recommended hosting company of choice), Gutenberg will be a gradual change from old to new:

  • Shortcodes will work as they do today.
  • Existing posts will still exist exactly as they do today.
  • All functionality of the old editor is retained in the new editor.

And while change is inevitable, WP Engine has some great tips on how to handle the new update with ease:

  • Firstly, your existing pages and posts will be converted to Gutenberg using the “Classic” block. This allows them to exist and display just as they do today without any manual intervention.
  • Second, if you edit an existing page or post and anything unexpected happens, you can easily restore using WP Engine’s secure segmented backup system.
  • Third, if you simply prefer the legacy editing experience, you can download the Classic Editor plugin to revert back to the editor you want.

Continue the Conversation: Are you excited for the new WordPress 5.0? Do you have any tips or tricks on how to make the transition seamless? Let us know in the comments! 

Bethany Loginow

Bethany is a project manager at Brown Box Branding. On the side, she enjoys researching and writing about innovative design and technology in the web design industry. She is also a proud wife and mom of 5 kids.

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