As WordPress users anticipate the release of WordPress version 5.0 in 2018, there have been mixed reactions to Gutenberg editor which will be released together with the new WP version. The editor is currently on its beta and testing phase and so, only available as a plugin. It is designed to be a permanent replacement of the default WP Editor.
First, what is Gutenberg Editor?
Named after Johannes Gutenberg, the brain behind the invention of a movable printing press over 500 years ago, Gutenberg editor is an upcoming editor for WordPress expected to WP Editor permanently in the editing of content on the websites running on the platform. Created with React, the editor is a client-side interface that builds up content using a system based on blocks.
If you are wondering whether the official rolling out of Guttenburg must affect your WordPress website or not, the answer is yes. Once released officially, the software will be integrated into WordPress core and hence become the official WordPress editor. Nevertheless, if you’ll want to restore the old editor, Classic Editor, a free plugin will make the restoration possible.
Advantages of the Gutenberg editor
Eases building of content blocks
The main reason why WordPress has decided to adopt Gutenberg editor in its core is to enable its users to build content blocks with less hassle as compared to when using the old editor. Once the new editor released officially, WordPress theme developers will be able to create themes for content block sites more easily. The editor will allow the support of such layouts by themes natively instead of using a visual editor. As a result, the software will reduce on WordPress sites’ load times significantly because there will be no need of bulky content block plugins.
Eases theme switching
Another benefit Gutenberg is expected to offer to WordPress users is ease in switching from one theme to another. Switching themes, especially those embedded with content block builders, for instance, Divi, can be a complex process. Therefore, the editor will offer great relief to users who want to change themes in their sites. Besides, once incorporated in WordPress, Gutenberg will make themes that don’t content blocks to do so by default. Therefore, unlike how the themes work currently, they won’t require third-party themes to offer content builders.
Shows the exact look of content on a site
Content in Guttenberg editor appears the same way as it would when published on a site. This will enable a site admin to have a glimpse of how content will eventually look like on the site without having to publish it.
Gutenberg is designed to work on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones as well as computers; desktops and laptops. This is absolutely a huge plus! Why? Because the majority of other content block plugins are not well compatible with mobile devices. Whether you’ll be using Gutenberg on your mobile or desktop site, its functionality will be uniform.
What are the downsides of Gutenberg editor?
Your site will break
For the many years that it has been in existence, WordPress has been laying much emphasis on backwards compatibility in its technologies. However, Gutenberg will be somewhat a departure from this position as it necessitates the utilization of modern technologies such as React, REST API. While the major advantage of backwards compatibility is that it maintains consistent user experience, the introduction of Gutenberg to WordPress Core, considering that it runs on modern technologies and disregards backward compatibility, is likely to cause breaking of sites.
As a user, when you update a WordPress site which relies on custom meta boxes to WordPress version 5.0, expect to have a broken experience while editing a post next time. This something that any site owner or developer would want to experience, but that seems inevitable upon the release of Gutenberg editor.
Plugin and theme incompatibility
Another drawback of Gutenberg editor, although unconfirmed yet, is the possibility that it could cause issues for particular plugins, especially those using custom meta boxes. The editor has an enormous and clunky designed panel with lots very many toggle boxes. As a result, many users are likely to experience difficulties while looking for the meta boxes they require.
What are people saying about it?
The magnitude of the concerns about Gutenberg editor is so significant that the plugin currently has a rating of only one out of five stars. Many web developers in Singapore, particularly on WordPress’s forums, have shown their discontent with the quick rolling out of the editor and integration to the WordPress Core.
While some argue that it is too early to set the software as a default editor on WordPress since users need more time to learn more about it, others feel that making it a default is actually not a good idea as it will allow clients to botch up their websites and this could cause low productivity and more work for website developers.
More time is needed
Site owners and developers need more time to prepare for the change since it is not only a costly affair but also requires people to learn more about the proposed new technologies. Besides, ample time is a need for the WordPress community to understand the effects of the change. The contribution of different WordPress users towards Gutenberg editor is paramount for its success. But how can they make such contribution satisfactorily when they know just a little or nothing about it?
People are resistant to changes and Gutenberg editor won’t be exceptional. Before they catch the grip, WordPress users, both new and experts will encounter various challenges while using the editor. However, we hope that the majority will be able to adapt quickly.
Whether Gutenberg Editor will make break WordPress still remains a hard question because of various reasons. First, the edition is still evolving because so far it is in beta version. Secondly, there are lots of WordPress themes and plugins and no one is certain if all of them will be compatible with Gutenberg. Timing is another issue.
There’s doubt that the editor is a powerful software that could bring lots of positive changes to how things are done on WordPress. However, rushing things is not a good idea as some people may be overwhelmed by the rapid and enormous changes and eventually give up on WordPress. So there’s a likelihood that Gutenberg will make WordPress, especially if its community will be able to adapt quickly to the changes it will come with. On the other hand, if other parts of WordPress’ core will not be tweaked for their compatibility with Gutenberg editor, some issues like site breaks due to the introduction of the editor are likely to break the platform.
In conclusion, it is not easy to tell if Gutenberg project will be a success for WordPress or not at the moment but time will tell.