Big changes are coming to WordPress in 2018

For those who don’t know, the ‘creators’ of WordPress kicked off the Gutenberg project earlier this year. From what I’ve seen in the beta version, the WordPress editor is about to get a makeover, and the changes are significant. Now is a good time for small businesses and others with WordPress websites to prepare for the 2018 launch.

Named for the man who invented the printing press, the Gutenberg is an attempt to make the editing experience not so complicated and more logical. The Gutenberg Editor is essentially a page builder. Like other page builder plugins on the market, Gutenberg creates content blocks on the page that you fill-in with text or images. The new editor is a different and more intuitive (and fun!) way to format.

The first public release of the ‘beta plugin’ was made available in June, and the developers have been doing weekly updates to that plugin. Because the developers are seeking active feedback, the updates polish the user experience a bit more. However, the team is still months away from Gutenberg becoming a core part of WordPress, so it’s difficult at this point to see where it will end up.

With so many more changes expected, here are a few of the changes you can see today:

  • What is now seen on the left-hand side will be positioned on the right. (The goal is to allow web content publishers to create new posts and pages in rich layouts.)
  • Text pasted from Word will get cleaned up and converted to blocks automatically and instantly.
  • There is no ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top where you can control the options on the page.
  • A whole palette of options (font size, background color, text color, and block alignment) show up when you select a block of Paragraph content and right click. (Most of the things previously found in the Tiny MCE tool bar above the Edit box.)
  • Within the Media Library, all the Attachment Options are gone. (After you load an image, you can drag the corners to make it smaller, but the controls are then sent to the Image Settings under the Block tab.)
  • Can create up to four columns (At last WordPress gives us columns)

Gutenberg is expected to ship in WordPress 5.0., probably in the second quarter of 2018. Some in the WordPress world are worried that Gutenberg could possibly break pre-5.0 websites, if it is incorporated into the WordPress core.

I’ve always been a change agent. And change makes some folks uncomfortable and worried. But remember, folks were worried when the printing press was invented, too. Conrad Gessner, a Swiss biologist in the 16th century, really didn’t like the invention of the printing press. He warned against the “confusing and harmful abundance of books,” but that all turned out ok in the end, right?

WordPress is giving us a huge amount of notice to stay on top of both WordPress core files and plugin updates as the groundwork continues with Gutenberg. Not familiar with WordPress? If you need help with these areas, reach out to Kalop Marketing…as, we too, are actively preparing for Gutenberg and have years of experience with all things WordPress.

For more information about the WordPress open source project, visit wordpress.org.