A new editor is coming to WordPress

We have been using WordPress seriously now and recommending it to clients for several years. It has proven to be a reliable and popular choice of content management system not just for us but also for lots of other users worldwide. Reportedly, about 30% of the world’s websites are now based on WordPress, which means there is an ever growing community supporting and developing for the platform. 

One of the things that has been a challenge not just in the WordPress community but in web development generally has been finding a way to provide a user friendly editing experience for websites. 

The editor that WordPress uses, hasn’t changed that much in the time we’ve been using it and the classic editor has been essentially a glorified text editor, with a toolbar that allows you to do some of the things that other word processing applications do.  

Behind the scenes, however, over the last two years or so, the people at Automattic  (the company that produces WordPress) have been working on an ambitious new project to deliver a highly usable new editor that will make managing content easier.

They’ve called the editor Gutenberg and it’s due for release in WordPress 5.0 which is not too far away. At the time of writing we’re in Worpress 4.9.8.

I’m currently writing this post in the new editor, and I think it provides a cleaner, clutter-free view of the content you’re working on. To give you a visual, this is the view that I’m seeing right now as I type this post. 

What you’ll probably notice right away is that there is no clear box for the content, compared to what you would see with the old editor. 

Elements are now added to the site in blocks. A block can provide space for an image, heading, quote, gallery, audio file and more. 

This will mean that pretty soon we’ll be able to rely on the WordPress content editor to handle much of the work that themes have handled in various ways. Gutenberg will hopefully soon replace some of the rather clunky solutions that have been provided for managing visual elements on a page, which I think will be a good thing. Gutenberg should eliminate the need for a number of other plugins eventually, which will generally make sites faster and less cumbersome to manage. 

If you’re ready to try out the new editor and want to do so before it becomes a core part of WordPress, you can do so by clicking on the Install Gutenberg button on the dashboard. 

You’ll also have the option to switch back to the Classic Editor if you prefer that or need a bit more time to get used to the new one. That option will continue to be offered after Gutenberg becomes the default editor in WordPress.

UPDATE (November 15, 2018). WordPress 5.0 is slated for release in about two weeks time on November 27th, 2018. Gutenberg will be coming with it. This may not change too much on your site, but if you experience issues with editing, you may want to try the classic editor linked to above. 

There is also a plugin that can be used to Ramp Up with the Gutenberg editor. This could be useful if you have a complex site with many different post types. 

If you’re not sure what any of this means but you’re experiencing some issues, please drop us a line and I’ll give you a hand with it.