If you updated to the latest version of WordPress (4.9.8), you might have noticed a big message at the top. My wife says those are always a little scary and she delegates them to me, and I wanted to check in with you all to make sure you have a little roadmap to navigate new changes.
A new editing experience called Gutenberg is on its way to WordPress. It’s quite the change from what you’re used to and may significantly impact your blog. Read on for more details.
What is Gutenberg?
Gutenberg is the name of the new ambitious post editor being developed for WordPress. It’s meant to make the editing experience more closely resemble (but not exactly) what your readers see on the front end, but it will mean significant changes – both technically under the hood and how you go about editing your posts.
The editor uses multiple “blocks” to format your post instead of one long editing space (for example, each heading, paragraph, image, etc is its own block). This provides some advantages such as only showing options relevant to the type of content being edited, the ability to drag blocks to quickly reorder a post, and allows you to save pieces of content you use frequently for quick reuse. However, there is a learning curve and some of the actions you are used to taking when editing a post may be different (and possibly slower) than you are used to.
If you do want to see what it looks like, WordPress has put together an interactive demo HERE where you can play around with it.
When is Gutenberg arriving?
Gutenberg has been in development for some time and while no official date has been announced yet, most believe it will be in 2018. It is currently available as a beta release via a plugin. The message that came with the latest WordPress update is trying pretty hard to get you to try out Gutenberg (using the plugin).
What’s the big deal with Gutenberg?
The current WordPress post editor has been around for over a decade and is very familiar to anyone that’s been using it for some time. While Gutenberg is ultimately designed to be a more efficient and intuitive editing experience, it will take some time and effort to become familiar with the new software.
Perhaps more important, Gutenberg represents significant technical changes behind the scenes, and any plugins that interact with the editing experience require significant updates to remain compatible. Many plugin authors are currently scrambling to have these changes completed in time for the release. Plugins without active maintainers may never become compatible.
Based on public feedback so far, Gutenberg is not the popular kid on the block right now – since the message appeared on WordPress dashboards the plugin has received a huge number of negative reviews from users trying it out for the first time. Still, there’s still time for improvements to be made and the development team behind it seems undeterred from moving forward.
Do I have to use Gutenberg to blog on WordPress?
Once Gutenberg is officially released, it will become the default editor and replace the current editing experience. However, if you wish at that time, you can install the Classic Editor plugin to prevent this from happening to continue on with the current editing experience (available now if you want make sure Gutenberg doesn’t take over once installed).
Is The Blog Fixer Compatible?
Because The Blog Fixer’s services make permanent changes to your site’s content, all changes made thus far will not be impacted by Gutenberg in any way.
However, the optional Live Fix feature that automatically applies your services when editing a post is currently not Gutenberg compatible. We are working hard to make it so and hope to have changes ready by the time Gutenberg has its official release.
What would you recommend: embrace Gutenberg or run away?
While Gutenberg represents a large part of the future direction of WordPress, our official recommendation is to install the classic editor plugin and delay using it for at least a few months after the official release. This is especially true if your site uses more advanced editing setups, like those built with Advanced Custom Fields.
Why? Caution. With a huge sweeping change such as this, there’s bound to be some bumps along the way, and its probably best to let those get ironed out before making the jump yourself.
Unless you have a test site that won’t impact your entire blog, I really don’t recommend jumping into the Gutenberg plugin and being the guinea pig for the WP community. 😉
Lastly, if you’re a subscriber to our Live Fix feature, you’ll want to wait to make the switch until it is fully compatible.