The current WordPress TinyMCE editor has been around for many years. It is well recognised and easy to use for those that have become familiar with it. However, early last year it was announced that the WordPress team were working on a brand new editor, which will now be replacing the default editor for every website that updates to WordPress version 5.
The new editor has revolutionised the way you will create & edit the content on your WordPress posts (and pages). Those likely to be affected by this update the most will be content creators (such as bloggers & news / article based sites), and developers (compatibility of themes/plugins and creating “blocks”), but all WordPress website owners will certainly notice the difference when it comes to managing their websites content.
What is Gutenberg?
The current/previous WordPress TinyMCE visual editor offers a simplistic tool to allow you to create basic WordPress posts, with a similar format to editing an email or Word document. With the release of WordPress 5.0, the editor will be transformed into a more advanced and complex tool. Content creators will be able to create better layouts for their post content, pictures, videos and more. Publishing professional posts should now be faster and easier for experienced users… hopefully.
So how does it work? A simple explanation for this would be that Gutenberg works around “blocks” that are programmed to manage the content in different ways. You can quickly add images, videos, quotes, titles and more, which is then formatted to look professional in your post layout. Everything can be quickly moved around in your post (with arrows) without having to copy and paste, and you can customise content much easier.
You will see live changes on the editor, however some blocks may look slightly different when your view the post/page on your site. The content & blocks created by the Gutenberg editor, once published, will be displayed on your post/page and will then be styled by your theme.
Theme and plugin developers can also create custom blocks that can be easily added to your posts and pages, which opens up a number of great possibilities.
You can read more information about the “Gutenberg” editors features here: https://wordpress.org/gutenberg
Will Gutenberg Break Your Website?
When you update to WordPress 5.0, you shouldn’t see any change in your current post content and (hopefully) nothing will break on the front end. However there is still a small chance for things to break, so make sure you backup your website beforehand. You should also make sure your plugins and themes are up to date before updating WordPress to make sure.
For websites and themes already using a similar page builder plugin, such as Visual Composer (WPBakery Page Builder), you are unlikely to have any issues.
Some plugin developers will most likely need to make changes (or have already) in order to make them compatible with the new editor. Most of the popular/larger plugins will likely have compatibility updates available to install already.
However, if you do end up coming across compatibility issues or the “Gutenberg” update just isn’t right for you, there is an (optional) official plugin you can install to restore your website to the older post editor. Personally, I prefer the alternative popular (unofficial) version, “Disable Gutenberg“.
What will I do for my clients sites?
I will personally work with my clients to ensure their websites are running smoothly after the new 5.0 update. In the future I will make sure websites & themes I develop are compatible with (and take advantage of) the new Gutenberg Editor where necessary.
So, what is the Gutenberg editor like?
There have been mixed feelings about Gutenberg, with a lot of website owners not very happy with the changes. From my personal experience testing it out, I think in general it should be a decent update for content creators and developers, but it may take some getting used to for those that are less experienced, compared to the older editor. After all, if you are not happy, you can always install the “Disable Gutenberg” plugin. The older editor will continue to be supported by WordPress until at-least December 31, 2021 – so there’s no need to worry.
Here is what to expect with the new Gutenberg editor:
Adding content to your post is simple. When you create a new paragraph, title, image etc, it creates a new block. This block can then be freely moved around aligned within the content using arrows and block settings. You can also create a “column” block, in which up to 6 columns of content can be aligned side by side.
Quickly add images & image galleries
Quickly embed videos & social media posts from a variety of popular sites
Easily embed videos and social media posts from popular sites such as youtube, twitter, facebook and many more, just by entering a URL.
Choose from a selection of other useful blocks
A variety of other blocks are available to quickly insert into your post including headings, sub headings, quotes, pullquotes, lists, tables, custom code & html, buttons, widgets, shortcodes and more. Developers will also be able to create their own custom blocks in themes and plugins.
So, there we have it. This is for sure a fairly major update which could have a big impact for some WordPress users… but hopefully it will be a good one long term (fingers crossed).
What are your thoughts on the new editor being released to the core version of WordPress? Are you looking forward to it, or will you be quickly installing the “Disable Gutenberg” plugin to keep the editor the same as before?
If you are a client of ElliotVS and on a Managed WordPress plan, your website will be tested and updated to WordPress 5.0 for you. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to switch back to the older editor.