So what is this Gutenberg thing anyway?

Right, this week’s out of the blue question from a client was “What Is Gutenberg For WordPress?”

You may be a WordPress website builder, building WordPress websites for a living or a small company focused on building your numbers and engaging your clients. Either way, if you are using WordPress, you should be aware that Gutenberg is on its way.

It’s all a bit argumentative at the moment on this subject, and depending on who you talk to, Gutenberg is either an exciting new development for the WordPress community or a huge change that will upset the entire WordPress ecosystem.

There is definitely a long debate about the changes it will bring and whether it’ll be good or bad, but the bottom line is, it’s time to get onto it  so you don’t get caught off guard when your WordPress website undergoes this big change.

And change it will! That decision HAS been made!

Here’s the WordPress Creator guy introducing Gutenberg in ‘State of the Word’ 2017:

Gutenberg is going to be a radical change to the WordPress editor, and will look extremely foreign to many users. This change will be part of the central WordPress core. This means that once you update to WordPress 5.0, your site’s editor will work differently by default.

However, a whole set of other users who have used other WP Editors, such as the popular  WPBakery Page Builder (formerly Visual Composer) plugin for WordPress, then the jump will not be as bad. How those kind of plugins will mesh with the new WP Core is still under discussion too…

Why not just get ready for Gutenberg today…

If you are not ready for this new editor, you could find yourself running around trying to figure out how to make even small updates to your site.

Basically the Gutenberg editor treats each piece of content separately. Each paragraph, title, list, image, video, etc. becomes a separate block that can be moved around the page, each seen as a separate BLOCK (remember that word for a start!).

Instead of your editor looking like this:

All of the meta boxes and tool bars will be tucked away like this:

You will add blocks of content from a drop down and then add content to the block:

How will all my plugins be affected by Gutenberg?

Yes, a whole lot of all those plugins will probably be affected by Gutenberg as well.

There are over 50,000 plugins listed as of today in the Plugin Repository. Many of those plugins, especially the free ones, may not be Gutenberg compatible when this WordPress update is released.

If your site relies heavily on plugins, or more specifically, relies heavily on one particular plugin to perform a function that is important to your organization, it’s worth reaching out to the plugin developer now to find out what their Gutenberg plans are.

Better to proactively replace a plugin rather than to discover a feature on your site has suddenly stopped working.

Want to Give Gutenberg For WordPress A Try?

You don’t have to sit and wonder ‘what will happen to my site?’. You can give it a try it right now.

There is a free Gutenberg plugin in the WordPress Repository that you can download and play around with. Activating this plugin will add the Gutenberg updates to your editor so you can try them out before they become part of WordPress core.

The Monkey Tribe DO recommend creating a staging site for testing purposes with this though as it could (and probably will!) screw things up on your site for a while. That way you can test all of your plugins and features without affecting your production (live) website.

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