If you use WordPress, you’ve probably heard news about Gutenberg – the default new visual page builder that’s coming with WordPress version 5. It will definitely take the WordPress community by storm.
Let’s learn more about it and whether you should use it.
What is Gutenberg?
WordPress version 5 (which is set to come out sometime in 2019) will include a new page editor called Gutenberg, in honor of Johannes Gutenberg – the inventor of the movable-type printing press.
A beta version of Gutenberg is already available to test in current WordPress installations as a free plugin and will become the default editor in WP 5.0. The classic editor will still be available as a plugin then, for backward compatibility.
Gutenberg introduces the concept of blocks:
Blocks allow inserting various types of elements into your page (text, headings, images, videos, etc.) and then easily re-arranging and styling them as needed, without using any code.
The old WP visual editor allowed adding many of these elements but in a simplified linear fashion, and you had to rely on coding and other plugins to create more advanced layouts.
Gutenberg contains blocks for:
- Text: Paragraph, Heading, Subheading, List, Table, Button, Text Columns
- Media: Image, Gallery, Cover Image, Video, Audio
- Others: Columns, Quote, File, Code, Custom HTML, Embeds, Shortcodes & More.
And since it’s open source, new blocks are constantly appearing to provide more power and flexibility:
What are your alternatives and how does Gutenberg compare with them?
Most of them have tens of thousands of users with huge communities on YouTube and other sites, people who’ve gotten accustomed to their preferred page builder over time.
At the moment, Gutenberg is nowhere near as powerful as other established page builders out there:
- no front-end visual editing option
- smaller selection of elements/blocks
- fewer customization options
- fewer responsive design settings
To make users migrate to it, Gutenberg would be to really surpass other page builders in terms of functionality and ease of use, and we’re still a long way from that.
Should you use Gutenberg now?
Quick answer: no, not yet.
But eventually, probably yes.
If you just have a simple portfolio site with a straightforward blog area, then yes, you can indeed already transition to Gutenberg, or at least test it out.
But for reasons I explained above, Gutenberg is not yet powerful enough to use for a complex photography website.
Especially if you’re already using a page builder plugin, it’s best to wait until Gutenberg becomes more powerful. Almost all existing page-builders are not yet compatible with Gutenberg, because G completely takes over the page edit screen.
You can, however, click “Classic Editor” when you hover over a page under “All Pages”, which then allows using your existing page builder.
Keep checking this site and my newsletter email for new on this topic. I’ll surely write about this further when things change when Gutenberg truly becomes a viable option even for complex sites.
What does the future bring?
Overall though, I’m very impressed with the work done by the WP team, and I think it will eventually become a major (positive) disruptor in the web-design industry.
Based on current news, Gutenberg is just the beginning of something big for the WordPress ecosystem, it’s just the groundwork for a bigger strategy.
After Gutenberg establishes itself as a revamped “industry standard” editor, WordPress developers will focus on providing better page templates (stage 2), and then eventually offer a powerful full site customizer (stage 3).
Gutenberg is just the first step.
Gutenberg will definitely be a whole-page builder, that's the entire point of phase 2. All of the infrastructure is built to support that, so it will happen much faster than phase 1.
— Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) September 6, 2018
Along the way, WordPress themes will be the most affected. Their biggest selling points are custom page templates, built-in page builders and various customization options, which are all meant to be baked into the WordPress core to a certain degree. Theme developers will have to adapt.
As for WP plugins of the future, they should be fine if they don’t directly interact with content that much. There will always be a need to extend WP’s functionality, regardless of how the content building process works.
- What is Gutenberg [Yoast]
- Diving Into the New Gutenberg WordPress Editor (Pros and Cons)
- Writing with Gutenberg – Testing from a writer’s perspective
- Using Gutenberg as an editor: Does it make my life easier?
- Gutenberg vs Page Builders (will they survive?)
- Will Gutenberg Kill WordPress Page Builders? Not So Fast…
- Gutenberg Plugin Garners Mixed Reactions from New Wave of Testers
What are your thoughts on the future of content editors, and WordPress in general?