WordPress 5.0 is releasing very soon, and significant changes are coming to the blogging world. The WordPress (org) team has been working very hard on the release of a new platform in WordPress 5.0 called Gutenberg. I’ve been a massive fan of Gutenberg since the announcement and have been closely following the development of the project via Github. I recently got the chance to download Gutenberg and must say that I am impressed with the new editor and am looking forward to using it on all of my production sites. If you are unfamiliar with Gutenberg, look no further as I have done my research and will share my findings with you down below.
What is Gutenberg?
The Gutenberg project was greatly inspired by the works of the German inventor, Johannes Gutenberg; who introduced a new concept that would later revolutionize the publishing world. That concept was movable type printing.
Movable type: Uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a typographical document.
Like Johannes Gutenberg, Gutenberg (new WordPress Editor) brings a new publishing experience to WordPress and allows content creators (bloggers) to use their imagination to create captivating experiences.
The initial idea behind Gutenberg boils down to a single concept; to reinvent the way content bloggers write and style their content. Doing so allows content creators to focus solely on what they do best without having any overheads (ok maybe some).
The current state of the WordPress editor
Since the inception of WordPress, the platform has primarily relied on a modified version of the TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor.
WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get
The TinyMCE editor is somewhat user-friendly but, ultimately to get it to do things beyond your standard editor, like aligning a block of text to the left-side of the page or adding columns within posts is quite tricky. To position a particular element or add in custom columns, you would need to use a shortcode plugin. Lets take a look at a shortcode plugin called Shortcodes Ultimate. This plugin currently has over 700k+ downloads and offers a colossal amount of options but, do you need all of the available options?
Using a shortcode plugin can save you a reasonable amount of time but, t what cost? Using the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin as an example, let’s consider the pros and cons of using this plugin.
|Many shortcode options||Embed code within posts|
|User-friendly||Locked to a specific theme or plugin|
|Most themes support them||Slows down website|
Many Shortcode options
Shortcodes allow you to move quickly by providing you with a set of options that enables you to change the layout of a specific page or post. Many users feel much more comfortable using a plugin than writing out the code to accomplish a task.
Shortcode plugins make your life easier as you do not have to remember plugin specific codes. Most plugins allow users to just select the type of shortcode they would like and embeds it directly into the post.
Almost every theme on the market supports plugins or page builder directly or indirectly. Having the ability just to select a button and add a box or align text is very nice.
The bad parts.
Embedded code within posts
I cannot count the number of times I’ve uninstalled a specific theme or plugin and realized that posts and pages were filled with shortcode and HTML syntax.
Locked to a specific theme or plugin
It’s not fun being tied to a single theme or plugin especially since things change very quickly. Having a theme or plugin that enforces you to use their logic only, is a complete no!
Slows down website due to many plugins being added
While most shortcode plugins allow you to make rapid changes, often the code that is produced tends to slow down your website. That’s not a big deal, right?
> Client: Hey my website is running very slow
> Expert: No problem, just upgrade your hosting account
Gutenberg looks to solve this issue by integrating such abilities into the core of WordPress. This will be very beneficial for content creators as they will now have complete control over their website pages without having to break the bank by hiring a developer or using a third-party plugin.
A New Experience for writers
Content creators use WordPress to get there ideas or thoughts out on the web. As content creators begin to write more, they start to think of how they can visually enhance their blog posts or pages.
Up until now content creators who do not know how to code had to rely on specific themes or plugins to get their blog posts to look visually appealing. That all changes with the introduction of Gutenberg.
Gutenberg introduces a new concept to the blogging community called **blocks**.
[add an image here for example block]
Blocks are nothing more than shortcodes wrapped in new clothing
Gutenberg changes the game and makes structuring your posts or pages much more manageable than ever before (ok, maybe somewhat). The current WordPress editor, TinyMCE has always gotten the job done for writing simple posts but, there were often many things that frustrated users. Such things being:
- HTML embedded code often was obstructed /escaped when switching from the visual editor to the plain text editor or vice versa.
- When removing specific themes or plugins, formatting was often lost.
- Often plugins did not match the styling of your website theme causing inconsistencies
And you see the point I am trying to making here. Formatting posts, embedding images, or media files required a mix of various techniques before finally getting it right. Blocks will make content creators lives easier by allowing them to define reusable pieces of elements that they can use with any compatible WordPress theme.
Will Gutenberg break my current theme?
As a blogger, it can be quite concerning to upgrade to a newer platform, especially given the amount of time you’ve invested in the older one. As Gutenberg gets ready for release, it will support features that we are all used to such as:
- Custom posts types
- Meta Boxes
- Posts embed, etc
As blocks become the new norm, theme developers will need to update their existing themes to support WordPress new editor, to ensure backward compatibility with older versions (4.6 and under).
I’ve been hugely impressed with what the Gutenberg contributors have accomplished thus far and am rooting for a successful launch. Like Johannes Gutenberg, the Gutenberg (Editor) will revolutionize the way we create content for the world wide web.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming release of the Gutenberg project? What are some things you would like to see in WordPress in 2018?Let us know in the comments.