WordPress 5.0 is on its way… Are you ready for Gutenberg?

One of the world’s most popular and fastest growing content management systems is getting a make-over.

WordPress 5.0 has attracted a lot of attention within the world of website design. Its highly anticipated upcoming release promises to modernise and streamline the content editing experience, with the biggest change being the introduction of the new Gutenberg Editor.

If you’re used to WordPress, you will know that there have been a series of changes to the platform over the years with small updates being released each year. On top of these yearly incremental changes, around two major WordPress releases occur. However, the classic WordPress editor has pretty much stayed the same since the beginning, meaning it is way overdue for an update.

This is where WordPress 5.0 comes in.

If you’re a webmaster, editor, or even someone relatively new to WordPress, then you’ve probably already heard about the upcoming changes.

If you haven’t yet heard about WordPress 5.0 or Gutenberg, don’t worry.

As all our websites use WordPress, we wanted to introduce you to Gutenberg to make sure you’re up to speed before the roll out begins.

Here’s an overview of everything you need to know…

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a brand new editor for WordPress that will change the way we customise, interact with, and build WordPress sites. It will soon be available by default in WordPress 5.0, replacing the classic WordPress Editor.

Matt Mullenweg described it as ‘the editor for the next twelve years.’ So it’s considered a pretty major change.

Why is it called Gutenberg?

It’s named after Johannes Gutenberg. Gutenberg invented a printing press with movable type more than 500 years ago during the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment.

His movable type printing press has been widely thought to be the most important invention of the modern era, revolutionising print technology and having a real impact on the imparting of knowledge.

Why is Gutenberg needed?

Although WordPress is a fantastic content management system, like any system, it does have some flaws.

One of these flaws is that it can be difficult for new people to use. Many users would like to be able to customise their websites, but struggle with the current editor which requires users to use HTML or shortcodes.

To address this issue, WordPress are looking to improve it by making the design and publishing process much easier to use.

The aim: to simplify the process of building pages and posts for those who want to use sites like WordPress – making it easier for those who are new to the platform and making it more accessible to those without the technical skills.

What is so different about Gutenberg?

One word: blocks.

The new editor will still have all of the features you currently get with the classic editor, but the major difference is that it will enable website creators to build a website using smaller, more manageable drag-and-drop units known as blocks. This will allow you to drop blocks of content onto the page or post that you’re working on.

What is the advantage of this?

In short, this new tool will make it much simpler to build content with hardly any technical knowledge required. You can simply add a block and input your content such as a paragraph, heading, video, audio image etc.

These blocks make it less cumbersome for users, in comparison to the existing TinyMCE editor, allowing users to customise their site without the need for plugins, endlessly trawling through resources and adding code. It will create a user-friendly way of creating content that will resemble how a page or post will look on the front end of the site – no flicking between save and preview.

Another advantage, and a main selling point, is that Gutenberg is designed to work on mobile devices as well as desktops and laptops. This is a fantastic feature as it solves the issue that other content block plugins have – compatibility. Not all existing plugins are compatible with mobile devices which limits what editors can do while out and about. Not everyone blogs from a desktop computer and so being able to edit articles on the go is really useful. All you need to do is add a block and edit!

As well as being an editor, it also shows a change in how WordPress will launch releases in the future. Instead of small planned updates, more significant progression will be able to take place with more meaningful and impactful updates.

Are there any disadvantages?

With any major change, particularly one that is currently uncertain, there are always hesitations and concerns within the community. This will be a whole new editing experience and for those who prefer using HTML and shortcodes it will be something new to get used to.

With any updates to WordPress, it might be a case that some plugins installed on your site may not be compatible with the new Gutenberg Editor and that it may interfere with current customisation. We won’t know this until after the release. However, those plugins that aren’t compatible will eventually need to become compatible with Gutenberg.

When will it launch?

This is currently still in the testing phase and so isn’t ready just yet, but as of yesterday, we now have a better idea of when WordPress 5.0 will be released. Matt Mullenweg has just announced a plan for releasing WordPress 5.0, with the approximate release candidate being shipped in November. This of course is dependent on how well testing goes in the beta process and if any major updates need making, but from what we currently know it should be with us by the end of this year.

Next steps

It’s currently available as a plugin for you to try so you can get a taster of what’s to come and will soon be available by default in version 5.0 of WordPress. If you prefer the classic editor that will still be available as a plugin if needed.

Websites will either be automatically upgraded to version 5.0 or you will be prompted to upgrade through notifications on your WordPress dashboard.

Are you excited about the new changes to WordPress 5.0? Do you think this will be a significant step forward for WordPress or will cause complications later on down the line? Will you be using the Gutenberg Editor or will you keep the classic WordPress editor? Share your thoughts and reasons below!

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