On December 6, WordPress released its long-awaited version 5.0, also known as ‘Bebo’. While several WordPress upgrades happen every year, this one is unique in that it involves significant changes to the default interface used to manage a website. This new page editing interface is called Gutenberg. If you are at all aware of WordPress-related news you will know it has been hotly anticipated with both excitement and concern.
The Gutenberg interface will enable administrative users more granular control over elements that have traditionally been edited together in a single Content field. Instead of one big block of content with headlines, subheads, paragraphs and images all crammed together, Gutenberg allows users to configure these as separate elements called blocks, then arrange and style them individually to build the page.
If you are a current Jake Group client, you are probably thinking “hey, my site already does that.” True! We have long used custom fields to allow us to engineer and manage a more sophisticated content model on our sites. In other words, the ends that Gutenberg is driving towards are already in place on your site (and then some). This is a strategy that enterprise-level WordPress programmers have relied upon and refined over many years.
In concept, the custom fields approach should not conflict with the Gutenberg interface. However, there is a possibility that the new WordPress code may cause issues with some existing software plugins during the initial launch of 5.0. In the long run, any such issues will likely be ironed out by WordPress, the various plugin providers, and website developers such as ourselves.
But in the short term, Jake Group has installed a software plugin on all WordPress-based sites that we host or manage to forestall the switch to the new interface even after a WordPress 5.0 upgrade. This plugin — Classic Editor — simply disables Gutenberg and any conflicts it might create with existing content editing methods. Based on our testing, this solution will keep things working smoothly until any underlying issues have been addressed. And let’s just say LOTS of people are using this solution until the dust settles.
Jake Group will be waiting for awhile to update to WordPress 5.0 on our sites until any issues have been identified and resolved. But if you decide to upgrade right away, we’d suggest installing the Classic Editor plugin beforehand just to be safe. That can be found here: (https://wordpress.org/plugins/classic-editor/).
Finally, if you have questions, run into any problems or need help with your site, please contact us. Based on our testing, most of what Gutenberg seems to break can be recovered without too much trouble. We would be happy to help!
For more information on Gutenberg, check out the WordPress documentation, and some of our previous posts on the topic: