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It has been months in the making. Issues opened, and issues resolved. Hundreds of collaborators, working on a single project to bring out the best of it. Most importantly, a production-ready system came out of it. WordPress 5.0 is finally released.
During the past few months, we have been patiently observing WordPress developing to become the fully-fledged Content Management System that it is today. Patience was rewarded on December 6, when the fifth major version was released into the wild.
This time, it is not just any release. WordPress 5.0 packs some of the most drastic changes in its history. Most notably, the switch to the Gutenberg editor alters the way we think about content creation, though the shift is not being enforced just yet.
Gutenberg is an editor, but also much more than that. The idea behind Gutenberg isn’t to change the way bloggers create content for the sake of change - the Classic editor was doing the job fine, after all. Instead, Gutenberg transforms the way that WordPress sees and interprets content.
If you are new to the entire idea of Gutenberg, it suffices to say that the editor does not create WordPress posts and pages in one monolithic chunk. On the contrary, content is made up of a sequence of blocks.
In this way, paragraphs, media and anything else that you might think of are next to each other as autonomous units. The blocks can be edited, moved around and switched out without affecting neighbouring elements. On top of that, some can even contain other, smaller blocks. In short, Gutenberg is as simple or versatile as you’d want it to be.
This flexibility permits Gutenberg to become a springboard for more development. Other plugins have already started to surface, including JoomUnited’s own Advanced Gutenberg. Their goal? Exploiting a solid infrastructure to expand your toolset with even more blocks.
Gutenberg’s structure is permissive of more functionality that would not have been possible with the Classic editor. Blocks can be saved to be reused at a later stage, like templates. This makes it more difficult to irrevocably make erroneous design changes to your WordPress blog.
Moreover, this principle is ever-present throughout WordPress 5.0. From individual block structures to themes themselves, WordPress protects creations from inadvertent edits. However, if you don’t want to upend your workflow just yet, you don’t have to.
Gutenberg has come a long way since its bug-riddled days. In spite of its advantages, it may not be enough reason to switch over from the traditional editing experience. The Classic Editor plugin is WordPress’ solution to continue wallowing in the nostalgia of bygone days. In many ways, the editor is identical to the one you were used to, except for the fact that it needs to be installed anew now.
Nonetheless, as alluring as it may sound, you might not want to overstay the plugin’s welcome. WordPress has already said that official support will continue up until 2021, after which no fixes will be forthcoming.
Although 2021 sounds far-off, it is highly likely that just about anything related to WordPress will migrate to Gutenberg. And that transition has already started. WordPress 5.0 includes a new default theme - Twenty Nineteen. No surprises in the name, but the design has been built using Gutenberg itself. Many other themes are following suit.
It’s an exciting new world for WordPress, and it’s finally welcoming bloggers to explore, experiment and create. Whether Gutenberg will prove naysayers wrong or not is anyone’s guess. However, the concerted efforts of an open-source community have created the platform for a more versatile WordPress. And that can only go right.