One of the biggest changes in the history of WordPress is just around the corner, as a brand new way to create and edit content arrives with WordPress 5.0.
We don’t have a confirmed release date for WordPress 5.0 at the time of writing, but this post from a WordPress core developer proposes November 19, 2018 – just before the busy holiday retail period!
A new content editor might not sound like a big deal, but this particular content editor – named Gutenberg after the inventor of the printing press – is making some waves in the world of WordPress.
It replaces this old thing:
The trusty ‘content’ field, with its Word-style toolbar, gives writers just one big area to add text, images, shortcodes and formatting.
Not any more.
As of WordPress 5.0, the ‘Classic Editor’ (as it’s now known) will become a plugin and Gutenberg will become the default.
So what is Gutenberg exactly?
Gutenberg is a page builder, allowing non-technical users to add one or more ‘blocks’ to build up a page layout. A block might be an image, several columns of text, or any of a wide variety of pre-made page elements.
You build up your page design by adding a heading here, an image there, all via a swishy, hovery editor tool. You can try it out right here.
Plugins and themes will be able to define their own blocks for even more flexibility.
This is a big departure from how WordPress has traditionally worked, so a lot of effort has gone into getting popular plugins and themes compatible over recent months.
WordPress core developers have been aggressively pushing on with developing the feature and getting it into core, despite some concerns and resistance from the WordPress community.
Will Mogul sites get Gutenberg?
At Mogul we’ve been building sites using our own page-building framework for a few years now, giving us a nice balance between carefully crafted design for your site, and flexibility for you to reuse and repurpose parts of it.
We have been watching the development of Gutenberg with interest, and while it may not be perfect we think it shows a lot of promise.
We’re not ready to throw everything into Gutenberg blocks just yet, but we will be trying out Gutenberg in the blog section of some upcoming builds.
As far as page editing goes, right now Gutenberg allows a little too much freedom for the end user to do what they want, which can be a problem if you want to maintain consistent layouts and page design across the site.
To some extent it also forces you to deal with layout and design, when you might typically want to focus on content.
These issues aren’t really a problem for a lot of WordPress site owners – for them, Gutenberg will be an amazing shift.
For Mogul sites though, we’ll be continuing to develop our own framework while keeping a close eye on how Gutenberg evolves.
Gutenberg is an interesting foray into the ‘page builder’ approach to website development, which will soon roll out to about a third of websites on the internet.
We look forward to seeing what new possibilities emerge with this more advanced content editor, but if the current reviews on WordPress.org are anything to go by, it may have some way to go before it gains true acceptance.