When WordPress 5.0 is released (which is expected sometime in 2018), WordPress will have a new editing experience (a.k.a. Gutenberg). This new editor is a significant departure from the classic WordPress editor currently on your website. As always, change and growth can bring discomfort during the adjustment period. We’re going to take a look at this new editor and action items you can take to smooth the transition. (Jump to action items)
The Classic Editor
Here is a screenshot of the classic WordPress editor. It is comprised of a single text area with controls for modifying the text (bold, italics, links, etc.).
New (Gutenberg) Editor
The new editor is block-based, which means that instead of one single text area you have many editable areas that are combined when your page is displayed. This allows each block to better handle specific types of content (there is a block for paragraphs, a block for headers, a block for images, a block for lists, a block for quotes, and many others). With your content broken into blocks this also allows you to rearrange your content by changing the order of your blocks.
Here is a screenshot of the new block-based Gutenberg Editor.
Try the New Editor
Tom J. Nowell put together a great Gutenberg Preview site, I recommend visiting this site to get a quick preview of the new editor.
These are steps you can take to ease the transition to the new editor on your website.
Current Action Item
Install and activate the Classic Editor Plugin on all your WordPress sites.
Details and Future Action Items
Because the new Gutenberg editor is still changing as development continues, I do not recommend using the new editor on your live website until it is officially released. While it might be tempting to delay updating WordPress to version 5.0 when it is released, it is important to always run the latest version of WordPress to ensure the most recent security fixes are in place. Here are the steps, I am taking with my own websites and I recommend others do the same.
1. Add the Classic Editor Plugin to Your Website
When: Right now
The Classic Editor Plugin will have no impact on your website until WordPress 5.0 (with the new editor) is released. At that time, the plugin will suppress the new editor, giving you the Classic Editor experience.
2. Test Your Website with the New Editor
When: When WordPress 5.0 is released
Once WordPress 5.0 is released, I suggest making a copy of your website and deactivating the Classic Editor Plugin. This will let you experience the new editor on your website and identify any issues.
3. Address the Issues
When: After WordPress 5.0 is released and you’ve tested your site with the new editor
When addressing issues specific to your website, the first thing I would do is make sure you are running the latest version of all your plugins. A limited number of plugin authors are already adding support for the new editor but once WordPress 5.0 is released, I expect other developers will quickly work to catch up.
If your problem still persists, I suggest reaching out to a developer to get technical details regarding your issue.
If you’re one of my existing clients and want help with any (or all) of these steps, let me know and I’ll take care of it for you.
If you are not a current client but would like to work with me, please fill out my contact form.
If you are a developer, you might find some of my writing on custom blocks for WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg helpful.