This is a blog post that has been weeks in the works. Maybe you’ve heard, maybe you haven’t, but there’s a big change coming in the next big WordPress update – WordPress 5.0 – and that’s Gutenberg. I’ll admit I’ve been pretty scared of this myself, but I finally took the jump into the world of Gutenberg a few weeks ago so buckle up for the good, the bad, and all other details on Gutenberg.
So, What is Gutenberg?
As WordPress has grown and been updated, not much has changed in the post editor screen. There have been improvements along the way, but nothing too extreme. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, many think the editor is long overdue for an overhaul, and that overhaul is coming in the form of Gutenberg.
Gutenberg is a take on a new post editor for WordPress. Volunteers and developers have been working on Gutenberg for 6+ months with one goal in mind. To make it easy to add rich content to WordPress.
As it stands, the current visual editor requires a lot of shortcodes or HTML knowledge to make things happen beyond simple text. Gutenberg makes use of “blocks” that allow users to add complex, rich content with just a few clicks. Pretty exciting, yeah?!
What Does Gutenberg Look Like?
Gutenberg is a change. No doubts about it. When I first saw it, my eyes went all wide, and my hands started sweating because it is that different.
The screenshots above are from the same blog posts on my quilting blog. The first one should look familiar, but the second screenshot not so much. That’s Gutenberg and it’s DIFFERENT. From having played around with it, I can tell you right now it’ll take you a little bit to get used to it and how the block structure works. I will be taking the new few weeks to write up quick tutorials (or maybe a video walk-through) for the various Gutenberg blocks, so keep an eye out for that!
The Good and the Bad of Gutenberg
First, let’s get the bad out of the way
- It’s a big change. Changes are good, but this is a lot of change all at once. As I mentioned above, Gutenberg comes with a learning curve and it will take some time to get used to it and how the blocks structure works.
- Plugin Compatibility. Last I checked there wasn’t a lot of thorough information on how different plugins will work with Gutenberg. All good plugin developers have been keeping an eye on this and even working with the Gutenberg team to ensure their plugins are compatible, but I foresee a lot of issues coming up at release time.
- Automatic Switch: Once you update your WordPress site to 5.0, Gutenberg will be live on your blog. I kind of wish they had made this initial release an opt-in kind of thing and allows bugs to get worked out. That being said there is a plugin available to change the post editor to the Classic Editor, but I wouldn’t rely on that for too long. Gutenberg is here to stay.
Now for the good
- Endless Possibilities. Okay, maybe not endless but Gutenberg makes creating content dynamic and fun (once you get used to it). There are so many block options that allow you to do so much!
- Looking To The Future. Gutenberg is a good sign that WordPress will continue to move forward into the future. In the last couple of years, I heard bloggers complaining about the clunkiness of the WordPress editor as their reason for going to Squarespace or similar. Gutenberg takes care of that. With just a couple of clicks, you can do so much so easily.
Gutenberg is coming whether we like it or not. I will be honest and say I’ve been really scared of it for a long time. The truth is, from a WordPress designer point of view I still am a little scared, but from a blogger view? This update is awesome and will make creating content on WordPress a lot of fun.
In the meantime, if you have a test blog or staging site you can play around with Gutenberg by installing the Gutenberg plugin. Otherwise, I’m hoping to start uploading Gutenberg tutorials soon so you can all be prepared for the update!