Posted on August 31, 2018
By now you’ve likely heard about WordPress Gutenberg, the new post editor that will be rolled out with the 5.0 release of WordPress. It’s been under development for over a year and we’re getting more and more questions about it as it nears release.
“Gutenberg is more than an editor. While the editor is the focus right now, the project will ultimately impact the entire publishing experience including customization.”
The Gutenberg Team
That’s pretty exciting news. There have been some rumblings (both positive and negative) around Gutenberg, though, and I’d like to address a few.
WordPress Gutenberg + Existing Themes = Oh no?
As far as we can see, there’s no need for alarm. Gutenberg appears to be solid, and most themes will “just work” with it. The sky won’t fall, and it’s doubtful that things will “just break” upon upgrading. But the caveat is that — like with any new application — there are no hard and fast guarantees with Gutenberg.
You’ll be able to work with the new editor if you choose to do so. And if you want to stay locked into the old editor, there’s a plugin for that too.
If it seems like most people are hedging where Gutenberg support is concerned, that’s because there’s still a lot of grey area.
First and foremost, the software is in beta and still under active development (think beehive on a busy spring day). That means even those of us who are following development super-closely can’t comment on Gutenberg with 100% certainty. Something could change in a significant way and render an active support plan meaningless.
For our part, the 9seeds team would rather underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around.
Second, Gutenberg is still changing quickly and dramatically with each release. WordPress doesn’t follow semantic versioning, so version 2.5 of Gutenberg is more like version 0.25. When it’s ready for public consumption (what most would call version 1.0) Gutenberg will be merged into WordPress core. At that point, its version number will likely become irrelevant.
A mobile version has been promised by the end of the year, as well, which will throw several more questions into the mix.
Where Things Stand Right Now
That said, we’re all working with this plugin and have found it very stable in the last few weeks.
To further understand the pace at which Gutenberg is still changing, you only need to take a look at the weekly changelog posts to the Make WordPress Core blog.
For instance, check out the entries from March 29th, then a week later on April 5th. Whoa, that’s a lot of documented changes!
“The editor will create a new page- and post-building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or ‘mystery meat’ embed discovery.”
The good news is that Gutenberg is starting to take shape as a highly useful tool. Current plans have it as the foundation of a dynamic change to the way that WordPress websites get built. You might have seen a lot of negative reviews of Gutenberg early on: our team was simultaneously critical of and excited by it in the early days. The Gutenberg editor has turned the corner in the last few months and is racing towards what looks to be a spectacular finish.
So Where Does That Leave 9seeds Theme Support?
The most important thing to keep in mind is that Gutenberg isn’t going to break our existing themes.
There are things we can do to enhance our themes to work better with WordPress Gutenberg, but the list of those things still isn’t definitive. We have already begun to update the latest and most popular of our child themes with this level of enhancement, and there is much more to come.
Rest assured we’re already working with Gutenberg and keeping a close eye on it. In fact, I wrote this post with Gutenberg 2.6! It’s a beautiful and nuanced interface, and we look forward to seeing how it evolves.