Gutenberg is the name for the new WordPress website editor. This editor is coming to all WordPress websites with the 5.0 update but can be tested even now inside your admin dashboard. In this article we will show and analyze the vital changes Gutenberg brings to the WordPress platform.
It is hard to believe, but WordPress was released 15 years ago. In 2003 there were other trends and needs for the most personal websites created within the platform. Web development, design, content and social media trends have changed nearly every month during these 15 years. So, there is no surprise WordPress desires to implement some revolutionary changes for its main tool — page and post editor. The new name means the new attitude to creation and editing your content.
How Gutenberg Changes the WordPress Editor
One of the main problem WordPress faces nowadays is the variety of new types of content and the inability to provide corresponding tools for creating and editing them inside the existing editor. The WordPress editor has not changed a lot since its initial creation in 2003. Those times the content predominantly consisted from text, a few images and hyperlinks. Now we need to create and edit more multimedia, social integrated, viral, design-mixed content.
Understanding the needs of modern users and the lack of flexibility within the existing WordPress post and page editor, the platform evolves to a brand new strategy — blocks of content. Blocks are actually separate parts of your post or web page which can be edited independently. For example, you can create an image block for the header of your post and then use another blocks for text, videos, social streams, quizzes or whatever you wish to add to this piece of content. And if you need to edit one of the created blocks it would not affect the other parts of your article and would not screw up the whole design of the page.
Here are some examples of Gutenberg blocks: images, cover images (full screen width images), galleries, audio, video, embedded media (YouTube, Facebook, etc.), lists, headings, paragraphs, tables, widgets. Those are only the most popular and necessary blocks but this is not the full list.
Moreover, the list of available Gutenberg blocks will be surely replenished by new items constantly. There is also a great room for creating new plugins that add different custom blocks for your WordPress editor. One example is the “Product” block for online stores. Such blocks should work perfectly with WooCommerce integration and will provide more options to advertise your products or services and edit the content with ease whenever it is needed.
The main purpose of new Gutenberg editor is to create the unlimited opportunities to create and customize your content of any type exists or will be invented in the future. It means WordPress would not play around the old editor`s framework but will ensure the possibility to adapt to any type of content in the future by means of just adding a new block to its collection. And WordPress developers should now be happy about these changes, because the limitations are literally erased!
Gutenberg`s Compatibility with Existing Themes and Plugins
It is expected, that Gutenberg will work without any troubles with the most WordPress themes (even the old ones). Basically, Gutenberg does not truly affect the appearance of your website, rather its inner constituent within the post and page editor. That is why you should not worry about possible changes Gutenberg could bring just after its implementation to your WordPress website.
There could appear some difficulties while working with specific WordPress themes which do not support some of the Gutenberg`s features. For example, if you use the Cover Image block within the Gutenberg editor and your theme does not support the full width images, the Cover Image Block would not work properly. In this case you have two options: to change the WordPress theme to some that supports all Gutenberg`s features or to use some specific tools for implementing such incongruous changes.
The situation with plugins brings more difficulties. The most popular plugins will work correctly with Gutenberg`s features, so there is no need to panic. But some smaller projects can optimize their tools not on the first day of Gutenberg`s release. We expect lots of plugins` upgrades within the first weeks or even months of WordPress 5.0 upgrade. Unfortunately, there are lots of forsaken WordPress plugins which serve good now but likely to appear incompatible with this big new update.
It is also worth mentioning, that the WordPress visual editor will slightly change its appearance with Gutenberg. The editing menu will be moved to the right sidebar and reduced in size. This feature provides the main focus on content and its appearance rather than on technical nuances as it was previously.
How to Try Gutenberg before the WordPress 5.0 Update
Gutenberg is now available in the form of plugin, which you can download, install and use for free. It is strongly recommended to try out the new features on child theme or other copy of your website but not the main and live version of any project. The main reason is the incompleteness of the update. WordPress developers are still working on it and it is not a completed product for now. But you can try out the main features even now, if you want to keep your fingers on the pulse of events.
The test of Gutenberg`s features is also important to get used to the new editor before it comes live. It will bring a bit of stress to learn the new interface and get used to it, so it would be better to prepare beforehand (especially if you fill scary about the changes).
Welcome the Gutenberg`s Changes Calmly
It is always difficult to welcome any big changes, because they force us to leave the comfort zone. And the Gutenberg update is not the exception: it will break our old habits of using the WordPress editor and bring some new experience. There could appear some bugs and problems within the first days or weeks. New things rarely work perfectly from the start. But in this case we should look to the future and think ahead. That is the main reason why Gutenberg`s changes are inevitably good.
Gutenberg will open new opportunities for both WordPress content creators and developers as it provides an opportunity to create separate blocks of content and develop them independently. With this opportunity it is much easier to bring new features and possibilities for any WordPress website.