A New Way to WordPress: 4 Things to Know About Gutenberg

WordPress is the internet’s most widely used content management system, used by everyone from The New York Times and Best Buy to countless individuals who blog for fun. Although there are many different ways to create a successful site with WordPress, the platform sometimes gets knocked for not being easy enough for beginners.

With the emergence and popularity of drag-and-drop site builders, including 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite, WordPress has needed to find a new, innovative way to edit and publish web content. For the last few years, first-time site owners have opted for movable content blocks instead of the sometimes confusing systems WordPress has in place. In fact, experts from sites like HostingAdvice.com recommend the 1&1 IONOS MyWebsite builder to beginners looking to get started online.

With the advent of a new visual-based editor, however, WordPress is poised to close the competitive gap. Both professionals and amateurs will want to learn how to get the most out of WordPress 5.0, due out sometime this year.

The editor, called Gutenberg, is inspired by the revolutionary inventor who changed the world when he built the first printing press. Naming the project after the man arguably responsible for the explosion of Europe’s Renaissance shows the extent of the WordPress team’s ambition — it expects Gutenberg to have a massive impact.

Users who have no in-depth understanding of code or web design will be able to use Gutenberg’s draggable blocks to create a wide variety of content and edit everything from wordy blog posts to embedded videos. It’s a faster and simpler tool that will make it easier than ever to build WordPress websites.

Users who work with the current pre-Gutenberg editor have to use a variety of different approaches to edit different types of content. For example, the current platform uses a media library for images, pasted links for embedded videos, shortcodes for plugins’ specialised assets and widgets for the content displayed on the side of a page.

With Gutenberg, however, users won’t have to master new tools each time they want to perform a different task — the new editor will streamline all of these tasks into a single intuitive tool. Keep reading to learn more about the world-changing update about to hit the WordPress realm.

1. How to install and start using Gutenberg

Although Gutenberg won’t officially launch until WordPress 5.0 is released, you can install the new editor today. Soon, Gutenberg will be the primary way to build and edit your WordPress website; instead of putting it off and learning how Gutenberg works only when you absolutely need to, try it now and slowly get a feel for the new editor.

If you currently use WordPress 4.8, you can download Gutenberg from the WordPress plugin repository. Once installed, your classic WordPress editor won’t be replaced — but you can work with Gutenberg by finding it in the Posts section of your dashboard navigation menu. Unlock the new user experience and see what’s in store!

2. Democratising publishing: An easy-to-use building tool for non-experts

When WordPress was first launched in 2003, the internet was a simpler place. Developers, eCommerce entrepreneurs, and hobbyists didn’t have the same needs as they do now, and the original WordPress platform worked as a simple blogging tool. Today, users are much more likely to add videos, buttons, and a variety of advanced features to their websites.

Although WordPress has adapted  by making those features available to its users, the interface has become more complicated to understand and use as new components are tacked on. Gutenberg solves these problems. Even if you’re building your very first website and have no knowledge of code, the platform’s movable blocks make it easy to create the site of your dreams.

Blocks provide a unified way in which to style content and this removes the need for shortcodes, custom post types and theme options. Users can embed content from YouTube, SoundCloud, Reddit, and many other websites using the block tool, which also enables site owners to control column-based layouts.

More advanced developers will still be able to write code and easily preview it in blocks. This is just a small percentage of the features that make Gutenberg intuitive for amateurs and a powerfully efficient tool for professionals.

3. Focused on content: More room and support for information-rich websites

Even though beginners are flocking to WYSIWYG site builders, Gutenberg might reverse that trend and bring scribes back to WordPress. The new visual editor includes much more white space than the current version of WordPress, one of the most immediately apparent ways that the redesign is all about usable, simple content creation.

Creators will no longer be distracted by a million tools and will be able to focus on the task at hand. The features Gutenberg offers are especially valuable for websites with a big focus on writing.

The pared-down editing experience actually introduces a lot of tools that many writers were missing before. Users can make adjustments or insert tables with intuitive, code-free controls, similar to those they might have seen in site builders or blogging platforms like Medium.

Gutenberg also introduces a table of contents writers and readers can use to jump ahead to any section in their article. Writers can add anchors that enable them to link to particular paragraphs or sections of their stories, funneling the audience to the exact point the writers want readers to find.

In previous versions of WordPress, a post’s word count was displayed at the very bottom of the editor. Now, Gutenberg displays the number as a popup for quick and easy viewing. Anyone who wants to build a writing-focused website will find a lot of useful tools in Gutenberg.

4. Less backward compatibility will mean more broken websites

Gutenberg marks a big change for WordPress. Traditionally, the content management system is known for its commitment to backward compatibility, meaning older systems and plugins can continue to operate within newer versions of WordPress.

Some developers, however, have argued that the focus on interoperability means that a lot of the WordPress codebase is out of sync with contemporary coding standards. Although the release of WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg will bring about massive updates to the code, compatibility will be a major concern for site owners that haven’t revamped their sites for years.

A vast pool of plugins and themes will likely experience compatibility problems with Gutenberg, as the new editor phases out the TinyMCE integration behind the editing interface’s toolbar. To stay up to date or even ahead of the WordPress evolution, many organisations will need to spend countless hours migrating to Gutenberg’s content blocks.

For some development agencies and contractors, this might be a bonus. They’ll be able to find a lot of work when eCommerce businesses suddenly realise the need to update their sites. But, some people will find that their favorite sites no longer function as efficiently as they used to, and many companies will probably decide to cut their losses and let sites die.

On a large scale, none of this is entirely new. Technology’s fast evolution creates constant change. Gutenberg may be the latest example of this constant churn, although older and less maintained sites are likely to break, more entrepreneurs, developers, and creators will have access to an increasingly powerful tool to build the websites of the future.