Gutenberg is the next big thing for WordPress
WordPress has been the most popular content management system (CMS) for bloggers and website designers for the past 15 years. Despite its revolutionary status, WordPress hasn’t changed its visual editor much. Not anymore. The hotly-anticipated Gutenberg has arrived and here is everything you need to know.
What is the Gutenberg WordPress editor?
The editor is named after Johannes Gutenberg, whose invention of the printing press half a millennial ago revolutionised the way knowledge and information was stored and exchanged, just like WordPress now. Though Gutenberg is only available as a plugin, for the time being, it will be integrated with WordPress 5.0.
Gutenberg is a new visual editor for WordPress. It is intended to make it easier for users, especially WordPress beginners, to modify the visual presentation of the website content. Currently, WordPress layouts require you to use a lot of shortcodes, metaboxes and HTML, which is as tedious for many of us as History of Magic for Hogwarts students.
Therefore, Gutenberg’s embrace of building blocks simplifies the process and makes it look like Quidditch. It enables you to add contents in blocks of many types from the WordPress backend and easily create searchable flow.
Gutenberg is not yet a page builder as it doesn’t support properly important features like drag and drop or nested blocks. However, those features and many more advanced layout options may be included in subsequent versions. Once in effect, Gutenberg will supersede TinyMCE as the default content editor though TinyMCE will still be used in some respects.
Can I download and use it now?
To be clear first, Gutenberg is still under development and is not ready to be released yet. But you can contribute a little to its making trying out the demo and leave comments and feedback in the WordPress support forum or open an issue on GitHub or join the discussions in #core-editor on the core WordPress Slack.
WordPress version 4.8 is required to use Gutenberg. To download it, go to the WordPress repository or search in your WordPress dashboard under “Add New” plugins. Don’t forget to install this on a test site or use staging environment of your host as Gutenberg is still a beta version.
Why should I care about it?
Because Gutenberg has the following advantages:
– Content blocks: The use of the structure makes the editor extremely easy to work with, especially for beginners. Building a website will be just like playing with LEGO sets. Gutenberg is better than LEGO, however, because you can create your content blocks.
– Perfect compatibility with mobile phone platform: Gutenberg has excellent performance on mobile phones. Do you have a new idea for your website display and nothing else but a smartphone on hand? No problem.
– Integrity: you can have a friendly divorce with Gutenberg because your site won’t break if you uninstall it. You can also have a happy blended family as you can edit in Gutenberg content created by the classic editor and vice versa.
– Formatting retainment: You can copy and paste while keeping formatting settings such as lists, headings, bold text, etc.
I am a website owner. What are the new things I can do?
– Collaborative editing: If you ever have a group of writers contribute to the same post, you may experience the frustration that only one writer can work at the time because of the post locking feature. While this prevents overwriting, it causes a lot of job delays. Now it is a thing of the past as Gutenberg’s block structure enables you to lock individual blocks only, allowing multiple people to work on different parts of a post freely.
– Block and embed discovery: You can look for content blocks of various kinds, such as Facebook embed or a custom template more easily. It is also possible to create custom content blocks.
– A standardised approach to page building: Gutenberg will focus on site creation. As a result, there will be a standardised approach to native WordPress page building. You can use Field Manager, Advanced Custom Fields, or a customised solution to create page builders for section fronts or marketing pages.
– High level of personalisation: Block structure allows you to deliver content according to your needs. For example, you can create suitable content blocks for different kind of site visitors.
But what is the catch?
There are not many.
– Gutenberg is not complete, yet so you may face some performance issues like lack of support for metaboxes, shortcodes and content output using HTML 5 tags.
– There can be backward compatibility problems, especially for TinyMCE – integrated themes and plugins.
– The accessibility of Gutenberg is also a serious issue, but it will be indeed fixed in the official edition.
WordPress creators have decided that Gutenberg will become the official editor for WordPress. That means when Gutenberg is officially integrated with WordPress core, you won’t be able to turn it off. Therefore, it makes great sense to start learning about the new editor as soon as possible. So what are you waiting for?
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