What You Need to Know About Gutenberg WordPress

What You Need to Know About Gutenberg

If you’re in tune with the latest WordPress developments, then chances are you’ve heard of Gutenberg.

This editor is set to replace the current backend editor. It’s currently going through beta testing and exists in plugin form, for those who want to get used to the editor before it becomes a stock WordPress feature.

Below we explore what the Gutenberg update is all about, what the update hopes to accomplish and address the most common concerns and questions regarding Gutenberg.

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What is Gutenberg?

Essentially, Gutenberg is a new WordPress text editor. The name comes from the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. This invention revolutionized the written word, and WordPress is hoping to do the same to the WordPress editor.

The goal of this addition is to make adding rich content to your WordPress site a simple and intuitive process. Instead of the classic post editor, you’ll be creating content with blocks. Instead of creating text-based content along with shortcodes and custom HTML to customize the look and feel, these blocks will be arranged on an individual basis

There’s a lot that Gutenberg is going to introduce to WordPress, but the main elements are highlighted below:


1. It Currently Exists in Plugin Form

Today, Gutenberg exists in plugin form. It currently has a couple thousand installs and a pretty low star rating. However, these ratings need to take into account the version being reviewed won’t be the final version of Gutenberg. This update will come into effect with the launch of WordPress 5.0.

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2. It Makes Adding Content Blocks and Embeds Easy

One of the core elements of this update are including content blocks and making embeds easy. The goal of these content blocks is to simplify the site customization process. You’ll have access to common content blocks like paragraphs, headers, and images, along with text formatting blocks, layout blocks, and widgets.

In terms of embeds, you’ll be able to quickly and easily add media from various sites to your existing site, like Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, Reddit, and a lot more.


3. It Includes Drag-and-Drop Functionality

Existing website builders make creating your website a very intuitive process. To build and customize your site with these you don’t have to utilize shortcodes, widgets, custom HTML, or plugins.

With the Gutenberg update, all you have to learn about and utilize are content blocks. You’ll be able to add content elements by dragging and dropping and will be similar to the Medium post editor. These blocks will allow you to accomplish all the same tasks without having to master and integrate things like plugins, shortcodes, and widgets.


Why The Switch to Gutenberg?

The shift to Gutenberg marks a change in the future of WordPress releases. From now on WordPress releases will focus on adding more features that make writing and publishing much simpler. The goal will be eventually to minimize the use of third-party plugins and instead incorporate those features into the WordPress core itself.

Currently, the WordPress community is divided about Gutenberg. You can see this in action by browsing through the reviews of the plugin.

However, it’s important to remember that the current plugin form of Gutenberg isn’t the final form. The user experience and feature set will definitely evolve over time. Most of the criticism aimed at Gutenberg is directed towards this unfinished version.


Common Gutenberg Questions

Since Gutenberg is still in the testing phase there are naturally going to be a lot of questions and concerns. We address some of the most common questions below.


When will it roll out?

Gutenberg will roll out with the WordPress 5.0 update, however, it’s difficult to pin down an exact release date for the update will occur. The release is currently slated for November 19. 


Can I still use the classic editor?

The Gutenberg editor will become the default editor. However, there are already some plugins that’ll overwrite the Gutenberg changes like, Classic Editor. Gutenberg will have an option called Classic Editor, which will mimic the look of the current post and page editor.


How will it be integrated into WordPress?

Gutenberg will replace the standard TinyMCE editor completely for a seamless page and post building experience. Read more about how to demo the new editor. 


What about existing plugins?

Gutenberg will change how certain WordPress plugins are developed and integrate with the post editor. Most plugins will have to be updated; however those that do will be at a huge advantage, and it could make development easier due to the flexibility of the block system.


In Closing

Eventually, the Gutenberg editor will replace the classic WordPress text editor. If you’re looking to get ahead of the curve and understand how to use Gutenberg before it becomes standard, then you can install the plugin and get a feel for how it works.

Gutenberg has the potential to revolutionize how content is created and edited within WordPress, but it’ll definitely change how things are done in the backend. One thing is for certain; Gutenberg will shape the future of WordPress for years to come.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.