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Gutenberg: The new WordPress editor

Words by Colin GoodmanApril 20, 2018

Gutenberg building blocks image

In 2017 WordPress announced Gutenberg will be a big part of the version 5 release, which is scheduled for 2018. In this post, you will understand what Gutenberg is and what changes you may have to implement to accommodate this new feature.

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a new content editor that will be the main addition to the WordPress 5 release. It has a page builder concept where you build up your content by using the built-in ‘blocks’ within Gutenberg.

Currently Gutenberg is available to use as a plugin however, when upgrading to version 5 there will be no going back and Gutenberg will replace the current TinyMCE editor. Below is a screenshot of how Gutenberg looks, as you can see a big change compared to the TinyMCE editor.

So why Gutenberg?

So you might be thinking why to change the current TinyMCE editor, well WordPress decided in 2017 that they wanted to improve the platform’s core editor to provide a better user experience. Gutenberg is their solution and its aim is to simplify the process of creating content and being more intuitive to use for the user.

How so you may ask, well Gutenberg will allow you to build up your content by using predefined ‘blocks’ with the potential of creating your own custom ‘blocks’. Below you can see some of the blocks that Gutenberg allows you to use within your content area.

If you have used a page builder plugin like Divi or Elementor before, you should see some similarities when comparing it to Gutenberg. You will notice Gutenberg will give you the ability to arrange the pre-built elements and customise them to what you require, much like a page builder plugin.

Death to all page builders?

In my opinion, this is one reason why WordPress decided to create something like Gutenberg, due to the increase in popularity of page builder type plugins. When Gutenberg is released, having to use a page builder like plugin should become a thing of the past but that will be very unlikely initially and maybe for quite some time.

At Atomic Smash we create a page builder like format using ACF (Advanced Custom Fields) which will not play well when WordPress 5 is released. This will be mainly down to WordPress changing the metabox which will affect ACF and other plugins.

Fear not as a large number of plugins will be affected by this change, which will result in many plugins having to adapt to the new changes WordPress 5 will bring. So basically popular plugins like ACF are already looking into making their plugin compatible with Gutenberg so it’s most likely other plugins are as well.

Just be prepared

If you use a page builder plugin then there’s nothing to worry about currently however, you will need to be prepared for when Gutenberg is released to see how this will affect your existing projects.

The best advice I can offer is just to stay up to date with the latest Gutenberg/ WordPress 5 news so you can stay ahead of the game, some good resources are linked below.

Gutenberg News
WP Tavern

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Colin Goodman

Colin works very closely with David and Ben on the front end development aspects within projects. He has an exceptional eye for detail and is constantly looking at new ways to code websites with the latest technologies available.

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