Those who have delved into the world of content management systems (CMS) will be well aware that WordPress is one of the most popular. There are many reasons why WordPress is so popular. One of which is the “open source” structure around which it is built. This effectively means that WordPress is developed and advanced using the input of thousands of developers and feedback from millions of website owners. The fact that the base code is available, free of charge, to everybody has encouraged the creation of literally thousands of different plug-ins, website designs and interaction with every payment system you can think of.
So, if WordPress is so popular today why did they decide to update the WordPress editor to Gutenberg?
The Gutenberg editor
Before we take a look at the details of the new Gutenberg editor, note that it is now standard for WordPress version 5.0, 5.1, 5.2 updates and later. Since December 2018, it automatically loads as the default editor. Although users can revert back to the previous Classic Editor, at least for now.
One word of warning, it is highly likely that the Classic Editor system will be unsupported in the very near future. As a consequence, plug-ins of the future will likely be focused on the new Gutenberg editor. So unfortunately, they may not be fully compatible with sites using the Classic Editor.
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Is the Gutenberg editor such a big change?
Over the years we have seen massive changes to WordPress designs, multi-media integration and plug-ins. The way in which this open source system can be manipulated is mind blowing. Nonetheless, up until December 2018 the editor, while simple but effective, was starting to show its age. Step forward the Gutenberg editor!
The best way to describe the new editor is a “block editor”. Why? Well, it actually allows you to drag and drop various blocks and sections on any page. Images, paragraphs, headings and quotes can be dragged all over the place allowing you to test different designs and different formats.
Even though the new editor is fairly simple to use, for those who have been using the Classic Editor it may take a little time to get up to speed. Some of the pros and cons include:-
- Drag-and-drop facility reduces need for coding experience.
- It is now much easier to create multimedia pages.
- Many format plug-ins will no longer be necessary.
- The scope for more complicated, eye-catching and useful plug-ins has increased.
- Custom blocks allow you to create unique features which you can replicate across any website.
- Custom blocks can be set-up as a standard template.
- It is not the Classic Editor – for those used to this system.
- Old plug-ins may not work on the new Gutenberg editor.
- The Classic Editor will soon be unsupported.
- There may be some formatting tweaks required between the new editors.
In all honesty, we are grasping at straws to list any major cons for the new Gutenberg editor because it actually brings the WordPress system up-to-date. Those who have researched content management systems will be well aware there are numerous platforms out there although they are all overshadowed by WordPress. This frequently updated open source platform, provides improved security and flexibility to users.
While some people will highlight the number of WordPress hacks attempted year-on-year, why could this be? Could it be because the WordPress platform is the most popular content management system on the Internet today?
Preparing your site for Gutenberg
If you have time we recommend checking out the live demo on the WordPress website:-
There is also a very useful WordPress Beta Tester plug-in which allows you to look at your existing WordPress based website through the eyes of the new Gutenberg editor. A few tweaks may be necessary. Primarily to address security or just adjustments to the format. WordPress already gave its stamp of approval after heavy testing. Advising that it “should not break your website”.
There is no doubt that your WordPress editing experience going forward will be very different. It will be more flexible and the Gutenberg editor will make it easier to customise formats, designs and displays.
The ability to introduce multimedia blocks is something that many WordPress users have been demanding for some time. The level of editing experience in the future will be significantly less than that under the old Classic Editor. In the past, some WordPress pages needed hard coding which was sometimes beyond the capabilities of individuals more focused on business growth.
Stage by stage preparation:-
- Backup your website.
- Upload the WordPress Beta Tester plug-in.
- View your site through the beta plug-in for any issues.
- Make necessary adjustments to coding.
- Backup your website again.
- Upload the Gutenberg editor.
You are now good to go for an editing experience very different from that in years gone by. We have already tweaked our WordPress hosting services to maximise performance and we promise that you will not be disappointed!
Looking to the future
WordPress is a platform which goes back to May 2003. Even with the introduction of new content management systems it is still the leading light today. It would be interesting to compare and contrast the first release of WordPress back in 2003 and the major changes introduced with the Gutenberg editor. The principles have remained the same. That is, the source code is free to everybody under an open source environment, which has created a massive support and development network.
When you consider that some online entrepreneurs may have been using WordPress since 2003, the first major change in the editor in 16 years is a big jump. Those behind WordPress are obviously confident the new editor has been tested, tested and tested again and is safe and secure. However, the beauty of WordPress is the fact that even if security flaws are revealed, almost immediately we will have a flurry of security fixes from the army of WordPress developers out there. What better way to fight hackers!