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How Will the WordPress Gutenberg Update Affect Your Site?

When WordPress was introduced, it was the first time end-users could enjoy the benefits of self-service website editing without having knowledge of HTML. With the new Gutenberg editor, a component of the WordPress 5.0 version now in beta testing, WordPress is ready to introduce a block-based system for building page content.

Designed to up the ante for competing page-builder alternatives, Gutenberg will enable site owners/managers to upload a wide range of content — including widgets, menus and shortcodes — within a single multifaceted composition window. The impending public release of Gutenberg and its perceived pros and cons, as a result, is a topic of active discussion. Here are a few of the topics currently being discussed among web development community at large:

Gutenberg will eventually be merged into the WordPress core.

To facilitate beta testing across the WordPress community, Gutenberg was first introduced as a plugint. This has made the trial of its expanded functionality fairly simple — with easy reversion, should issues arise. Gutenberg is slated to be merged into the WordPress core within a fairly short timeframe. When that happens, a move to WordPress 5.0 will require a committed effort to making your site work within the parameters of this new reality. Staying up-to-date with all availble upgrades and patches is key for site performance and security.

Concerns about backwards theme compatitbility.

From the outset, WordPress has long prided itself on being a "clean, lean and mean" platform with extended compatibility across multiple updates. A major core change like Gutenberg is seen by some as a potential hazard for millions of websites — many of which utilize plugins, custom fields, meta boxes and other modifications that could suddenly stop working — causing entire websites to break at some level. Any upgrade attempts should be preceeded by a complete site file and database backup.

What if you're not ready to adopt?

As advantageous as the new content creation capabilities of Gutenberg may be, many site owners may not be in position to commit the time, money and resources to prepare for its arrival.

A temporary fix that many site managers are considering is the proactive installation of the Classic Editor plugin. By enabling the Classic Editor in advance, and configuring it to revert to the current editor, a site can survive the transition to WordPress 5.0 without a major effort. This will postpone the switchover to the Gutenberg editor to a time that is more feasible logistically and budget-wise, while also providing the advantage of waiting for the inevitable rounds of initial version fixes to transpire.

Neptune Web is a full-service Boston-area interactive web and digital marketing agency with expertise in Website Design, Web Development, Digital Marketing Strategy and Execution.

We look forward to your comments and would be most happy to address and help solve any Digital Marketing or Website Design & Development challenges you may have.

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