WordPress 5 Released

WordPress 5 has been released and along with it Gutenberg. Gutenberg is a big change for WordPress, a change many disagree with seeing it as overreach.  If you don’t yet know, Gutenberg is a new blocked based editor for pages and posts which, according to WordPress, allows:

  • More flexibility with how content is displayed
  • Insert any type of multimedia and have it embed automatically
  • Each piece of content is in its own block and easily maneuverable with mouse or keyboard
  • Tons of blocks available by default with more to come: paragraph, heading, preformatted text, quote, image, gallery, cover image, video, audio, columns with nested blocks, files, code, and more,

which basically introduces “design” into content that could conflict with not only your theme but your branding.
With content managers now able to play with the layout of text and placement images, you could find the look and feel of your site pages becoming inconsistent which is a design no-no.  Content managers are not designers, after all. (Selecting an image from iStockphoto and slapping some text over the top of it with iStock’s editing tool is not “design”.)  So for sites with multiple authors, you need to ensure, you update your style guide and make everyone aware of what is acceptable practice and what is not.
Can you turn Gutenburg off and save yourself the headache?  Yes, you can keep the classic editor by installing the official Classic Editor plugin. Regardless, before you update, we strongly suggested you set up a test site and check out the impact of changes on your theme, content and plugins very carefully before updating your live site.
Fro new sites, you need to look carefully at the theme you plan to use to ensure it is Gutenberg compatible or not.  While making use of Gutenberg as much as possible might be a future proof strategy, your theme is probably more important than this editor at this point in time.
For developers, Gutenberg presents an opportunity and a challenge.  Already there are plugins to augment Gutenberg capability (thereby indicating its current limitations in page building).  However theme developers and plugin developers need to now factor Gutenberg into their roadmaps.   For instance WP Bakery already has added compatibility into their 5.5 version.
Of course there is more to WordPress V5 than this but the rest is mainly addressing developer needs such as APIs.
Again existing users of WordPress should upgrade with care particularly if you also use WooCommerce. Need help? Then contact us.