18th Aug // 2018
WordPress is used by more than 30% of all websites worldwide making it a massive part if the Internet. What you may not know about is a major change, code named Gutenberg, to the next main release of WordPress that will affect all their sites.
At the very least you or your developers will need to choose whether or not to use the existing editor when Gutenberg is release in version 5 of WordPress later this year - blocks will be the default option so if you want to stay with the current editor you'll need to download a plug-in to do that. Either way you'll need to do some extensive testing to make sure your site will continue to work.
At the moment if you add or change a post or page on Wordpress, you get a view with a text editor. You can use the text editor, as you might expect, to add text and images to a page. You can also add other elements such as sliders using short codes linked to plug ins. The Gutenberg change is to replace the text editor with blocks.
These blocks can be simple text or images, layouts such as headings, lists or quotes or more complicated features such as sliders or buttons. The main benefit is that blocks can be used between pages and ultimately there will be a site customiser with drag and drop functionality.
When version 5 of WordPress is released, the new default layout in the core code will be to use blocks so you will see an immediate change. Instead of the old layout you will see a new clean layout
To add a block you will need to click on the plus sign in the top left and that will open a list of available blocks. Many blocks will be released with version 5 and you can even create your own block or download plug ins to enhance or add blocks.
There will be a “classic” block which will contain the old style text editor and as mentioned above a plug in to enable the old style editor.
To help with the transition, Gutenberg has been released as a plug in so you can install it and try it out, although it's not in its final form so there may still be bugs. You'll see the screen below when you log in to your dashboard on Wordpress:
Once you get over the initial shock of things being different, it’s actually relatively easy with simple sites. You can change individual elements of the blocks and use them across pages so eventually things will be easier - although as with everything there will be a learning process.
If you have a more complex site with multiple plug-ins, you need to check to see what changes may be needed.Unfortunately there's no firm release date for Gutenberg and version 5 yet although Wordpress are still targeting 2018.