Introduction to Gutenberg, the new WordPress Editor

Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor

Sometime in April 2018, the next major WordPress core software update (version 5.0) will be released and, with it, its new editor: Gutenberg.

So, when you next change the content of a page or blog post, or create a new one, where you were used to see a light grey screen with a title and a big content box with a Tools menu, you will see instead a white screen with, apparently, a lot less options.

Despite first impressions, though, with the new editor you can still add, delete and modify text in the usual way. Plus there are some new exciting features that make it very easy to do things that would otherwise need some HTML and CSS skills.

Have a look at this example in the video below:

One of the main differences is that each individual piece of content is now considered a separate block. Each block has its own features, menu buttons and customisable attributes depending on what type of content they represent, whether a paragraph, an image, a video or audio embed, etc.

New Block icon

A new block can be added simply by clicking the little "+ inside a circle"  icon.

What to double check before the change

Even so, if your website has any special features or custom content, it is highly recommended that you contact your website developer to double check that it will all still be working after the WordPress update.

Of special concern are any plugins that have not been tested with the latest version of WordPress as they may not be compatible with the changes ahead.

Because of this, I'd recommend everyone with a self-hosted WordPress website, to double check that the website is being backed up regularly and that all plugins and themes are up-to-date.

Find out more

If you'd like to learn to use the new editor before it comes out, there are a lot of resources you can use. Here are just a few:

  • Watch the live demonstration from WordCamp US 2017 (from min. 35:30)
  • Have a play on Frontenberg, by Tom J Nowell
  • Take the Introduction to Gutenberg online course, by Joe Casabona (it costs $39)
  • Last but not least, go along to your nearest WordPress meetup. There are 590 of them in the world and the great majority are organising special events to help its members find out more about Gutenberg!

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