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Many of you may not be aware of a major update that's been in the works for WordPress for quite sometime.
The update replaces the very basic text editor used by WordPress with a new type of editor named Gutenberg. Gutenberg uses a completely different type of editing experience based on "blocks" that you can drag and drop.
Gutenberg has been available as a plugin for users interested in test driving it before it's addition to WordPress core code. The test-drive days are coming to and end, though.
Gutenburg is part of WordPress 5 which is scheduled for release as early as November 27. If you update to WordPress 5.0 without any idea of the impact of Gutenburg, you might have a bad day. Gutenberg's impacts a website have been a big point of contention within the WordPress development community, and for good reason.
Here's what you should know:
Gutenberg will completely replace the long used TinyMCE editor.
Everyone who uses WordPress has probably had gripes about TinyMCE, but as they say, it's the devil we know. Switching to Gutenberg will mean a whole new learning curve to get up to speed on the new editor. Once you do though, you should have a much more robust content editing experience.
Gutenberg will not play nice with plugins that haven't prepared for it.
The great thing about WordPress is it's open source model that allows anyone to create great plugins to add really useful functionality to WordPress websites.
The bad part of that is that ANYONE includes people who build plugins without taking care to follow WordPress coding best practices, or ever bothering to update their code to remain compatible with WordPress updates.
For a typical WordPress website with maybe 10-20 plugins, it's likely that one or several of your plugins might start acting up... or crash all together.
What can you do to prepare?
Luckily the TinyMCE editor has been rolled up into a plugin knows as the "Classic Editor". This plugin, when present and active, will suppress Gutenberg from taking over the editor.
If you aren't sure if your plugins will be compatible with Gutenberg, our suggestion is that you install the Classic Editor plugin so that when the time comes to update to WordPress 5.0, you can expect to continue with business as usual.
If you're a SangFroid website maintenance client, we have already installed the Classic Editor preemptively to prevent any issues when your site updates to WordPress 5.0.
If you want to give Gutenberg a try, here is a video that goes over the functionality.
Gutenberg and Beaver Builder
If we built your website, it may use the Page Builder plugin called Beaver Builder, which offers a robust drag-and-drop visual editing experience. Gutenberg doesn't replace Beaver Builder, so editing Beaver Builder layouts remains the same. (See how Gutenberg works with Beaver Builder » )
Get in touch with Liz or Eddy if you have any questions about WordPress 5.0 or Gutenberg.