As every WordPress user is aware, the WordPress platform periodically goes through changes that add and improve function and any other issues.
Yet there are big changes on the horizon this year as WordPress advances to version 5.0, bringing with it the new Gutenberg editor.
Based on what we already know, Gutenberg is a significant change to WordPress as we've known it before, one that has already caused quite a stir in the WP community.
In spite of the backlash, WordPress developers believe that users in time will come to appreciate the improvement and great functionality it offers.
What Is Gutenberg?
Gutenberg is the newly developed text editor that will be coming to WordPress presumably by the end of 2018 when the site updates everyone to WP version 5.0.
Named after Gutenberg, the inventor of the modern printing press, this editor is vastly different than the current text editor.
The WordPress editor currently operates using a single text editing box where text, images, and media are added, then modified using editing functions on the customization bar.
Gutenberg does away with the text editing box completely, replacing it with a system of individual boxes that can be positioned around the page as needed and more easily modified.
In this sense, Gutenberg is advancing the WordPress interface from a blogging platform to an actual website design platform that supports drag-and-drop components and easy page customization.
What New Benefits Will Gutenberg Bring to WordPress?
Understandably, Gutenberg will be a big change for longtime WordPress users who are accustomed to the text edit box and know it well.
Yet according to its developers, the change is well worth it and brings with it impressive improvements:
- Block Flexibility - Blocks allow blog and website designers to more easily achieve the site they want with drag-and-drop functionality and individual block customization.
- Enhanced Customization - Gutenberg allows users to customize their sites in more ways to get the exact changes you want and need.
- No HTML Knowledge Required - Because blocks can be individually customized and moved around the page, in most cases there is no need for designers to hand-code anything.
- True WYSIWYG - Designers can see their page while building it without the need to save and view the page, then go back into the editor to make more changes.
- Up-to-Date Technology - Gutenberg brings WordPress on par with today’s current website builders.
- Faster and Easier - Once users become accustomed to it, Gutenberg should make creating the perfect blog or website faster and easier than even the most current version of WordPress.
What Are Current Criticisms of the Editor?
As it is with most significant software updates, the announcement of Gutenberg has been met with some criticism as users have had the opportunity to download and use it before the mandatory switch.
While much of the criticism about the new editor comes simply from having to change old habits and learn something new, there are a few concerns that some users have brought forth:
- Interface and HTML Markup - As efficient as it is designed to be, some simply do not like this type of interface or the way Gutenberg handles HTML markup.
- Previously-Created Content - Many users fear that once everyone is forced to switch to Gutenberg, their previously-created content will be negatively affected. WordPress states that this will not be the case and has been taken into consideration with the development of the new editor.
- New Functions - Some feel that even though it brings website editing capabilities to blogging, Gutenberg leaves out some preferred functionality that is present in the current text editor.
- No Backward Compatibility - Many are concerned with the fact that there is no backward compatibility. Once Gutenberg becomes a permanent part of the core application, it will be impossible to go back to the previous editor.
- Not Seen As An Improvement - Some developers simply do not see Gutenberg as an improvement to the WP core application for a variety of reasons while others believe it’s a great change.
Overall, Gutenberg should make blogging and the creation of many different types of websites easier and more effective with its box editor and movable elements.
Still, there are always nay-sayers with any significant change, so the truth remains to be seen.
Users should just stay aware that this change is coming and everyone will be required to use it once they update to WP 5.0.
Those who get the jump on things now and start working with with it will be ahead of the pack once the upgrade becomes mandatory.
Hopefully, most designers will find it to be a pleasant surprise as opposed to a rude awakening!