How the Gutenberg Update (WordPress 5.0) Will Affect Your Website

Written by James Grumish

In 1450 one of Gutenberg’s first printing presses went into operation. This invention changed the world, previously books had to be copied by hand and mass-producing was extremely difficult. With the invention of the printing press, books could now be produced at a rate that wasn’t possible before.

What does this have to do with WordPress?

WordPress hosts about 75 million of the estimated 172 million active websites in the world. This means that any change they make is going to affect almost everyone who owns or wants to create a website.

WordPress is changing how content will be edited. These changes are generally referred to as Gutenberg and are as monumental as you’d expect from the name. The existing editor, TinyMCE, first appeared in WordPress 2.0 in late 2005 is being replaced by a new editor aptly named Gutenberg.

What is Gutenberg (or WordPress 5.0)?

Gutenberg is a major overhaul of the WordPress content editor interface. The goal of the Gutenberg editor is to enable media-rich content entry and facilitate modernized presentation.

What is media-rich content and why should you care?

Media-rich content is content that includes video, audio, or other elements that encourage viewers to interact and engage with it.

Rich media has a serious impact on the number of time visitors spend on your web pages, and how likely they are to return. With the continually increasing amount of web content and lowering attention span of the average consumer, media-rich content only will become more important. WordPress’s forward-thinking update will make it easier for everyone to create this type of content.

How does Gutenberg make media-rich content easier?

The Gutenberg editor interface manages content as a series of blocks instead of a single rich-text document. Blocks may be paragraphs, headings, quotes, buttons, media, or other formats. It’s even possible to create custom blocks for the particular need of a theme or plugin. This makes it possible to drag and drop custom blocks where shortcode or HTML was previously used. This functionality gives non-developers the ability to create media-rich pages with a custom look and feel.

For those who are interested in a preview of how the Gutenberg editor will work, WordPress has a site where you can explore the new interface. When they are ready and tested, the changes should be a refreshing update to an editor that has served so many over the last 13 years.

When will Gutenberg be added to WordPress?

The WordPress core development plan is to merge Gutenberg with the WordPress core in version 5.0 — the next major release of WordPress. As of now (Aug 27), there is no specific timeline for the release of version 5.0, but you can check the WordPress site for updates.

What does this mean for my existing site?

Because Gutenberg is new, Windmill Design’s existing client projects will continue to support the current editor interface through the Classic Editor plugin for WordPress. You may even notice the Classic Editor plugin is added to your site in preparation for the version 5.0 release. This will protect you from the bugs and problems that may arise from implementing a new technology before it has been tested in large-scale production.

Soon after the release of WordPress 5.0, Windmill Design will begin the process of engaging our clients on a case-by-case basis to make each site’s transition as manageable as possible. We expect each client to have unique needs, challenges, timelines, and solutions. Handling the transition like this should provide a smooth experience.

What does this mean for my in-progress build?

we will release on WordPress 4.9 without the new editor. This is necessary since software release dates are especially unpredictable and version 5.0’s release is still yet to be announced. In the case of sites that release after 5.0, Windmill Design will simply apply the Classic Editor plugin for WordPress to make sure everything functions as expected.

What does this mean for future projects?

After the WordPress 5.0 release, we expect to build future projects using the new editor as the primary content entry interface. This process may take some time, but we are fully confident that we will be able to move our internal tools and workflow to the new system.

Staying ahead of website updates so you don’t have to

At Windmill Design, we stay on top of updates that affect the technology we use to build our customers’ products. This helps us anticipate future problems and prepare our clients to deal with them before anything ever goes wrong.

Do you have a website that’s currently being maintained by Windmill Design? If you want to learn more about the Gutenberg update and what it means for you, our team would be happy to help you understand what you can expect.

If you would like a web design partner that can build, maintain, and optimize a website that drives results

Our team would be happy to discuss your needs and create a strategy that fits your needs.

Contact us today