Project Gutenberg: What Will It Mean for Your WordPress Website?

Changes due to be introduced soon by WordPress will have implications for millions of website owners.

The open-source Content Management System powers around one in three of all websites in the world – including our own, and all the sites we create for our customers.

We love WordPress, and Project Gutenberg is set to make the platform even better, transforming the way website owners and web developers interact with it.

Like any revolutionary change though, Gutenberg is likely to take a little while to bed in, and there will inevitably be some teething issues as initial glitches are ironed out.

If you have a WordPress website, here’s what you need to know.

  • What is Gutenberg and why do we need it?

Gutenberg will replace the classic WordPress content editor, making it easier for anyone to edit their WordPress website – regardless of their technical ability.

The new editor uses ‘blocks’ to create all types of content, transforming the way website users and developers interact with WordPress to make building rich web content a much easier and far more intuitive experience.

  • What are blocks?

With the current WordPress editor, making content changes requires a mix of different approaches that are not always intuitive. With Gutenberg, the process is simplified through the concept of blocks – a new, unified way to style content.

Blocks exist for every type of content; they’re easy to search for and easy to dynamically shift around the page.

  • When will Gutenberg be here?

Gutenberg will be a core component of WordPress version 5.0 when it is released – possibly later this year. At the moment, Gutenberg is still undergoing beta testing and is available as a plugin for anyone with a WordPress site to trial.

  • What will Gutenberg mean for your website?

Until it’s been thoroughly tested, compatibility issues with some plugins mean Gutenberg is likely to cause many sites to ‘break’.

As part of the beta testing process, the WordPress team are working with the major plugin developers to resolve any problems. By the time WordPress version 5.0 is released, the majority of these issues will have been addressed, and if you have a new WordPress website created, you’ll be able to enjoy the full benefits of Gutenberg as a core component.

In the meanwhile, if you have a WordPress site, you have two options:

  1. You can opt to be part of the test community and install Gutenberg now. It’s simply a case of going to the Plugins menu on your site’s dashboard and typing ‘Gutenberg’ into the search box.

But if you do decide you want to migrate your current website to Gutenberg, be very careful. Firstly, as already mentioned, it may well conflict with plugins used by your site and cause it to not work as it should. Secondly, you’ll need to have some technical knowledge of web development as an absolute minimum.

  1. Ahead of the release of WordPress 5.0, there is the option to simply turn the new editor off. This can be done either by using the official plugin, a number of unofficial plugins or by inputting a few lines of code.

Turning off Gutenberg will allow your site to continue functioning normally with minimal effort.

If you think your website may be impacted by Gutenberg, we recommend you contact your website developer for advice.

What about MMD Websites?

Here at MMD, we’re preparing for Gutenberg, and don’t anticipate any problems for our managed clients when WordPress 5.0 goes live. We’re liaising with plugin developers and conducting our own tests, and expect the key plugins we use in our websites to continue functioning normally after the release date.  Where necessary we’re updating our client sites to ensure smooth running with the latest versions of the software.

And in case you were wondering….

WordPress’ new editor is named after Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg. The German printer and publisher was responsible for introducing moveable type printing to Europe in the early fifteenth century, setting in motion the printing revolution.

If you’re unsure what you need to do with your WordPress website then you may want to think about our WordPress peace of mind hosting and management service.  We take the complexity out of having a website leaving you to focus on your business.  Contact us for more details.