The growth of sitebuilders like Squarespace and Wix has been notable and WordPress wants to keep its place in first (WordPress is the most prominent CMS available, powering over 30% of the web). So, developers have been working on the 5.0 release with a common goal in mind: to make generating satisfying content for your WordPress site simple and enjoyable. We are living in the age of user experience, after all. But even small adjustments to a platform like WordPress make site builders fussy, so this update, with its cutting-edge Gutenberg, has us all “Ach du lieber Gott!” But, have no fear: like its namesake, 5.0 and the new editor are designed to make content development easier and more accessible and with a little time and patience, that’s what we can expect. Here’s the breakdown:

What’s different about 5.0?

The most notable difference, and the one people have been buzzing about, is Gutenberg. Gutenberg is the new cutting-edge editor for WordPress and with it arrives some fresh content development concepts that we have already begun to see in other platforms like Medium and Ghost. Gutenberg is unique in its use of blocks as a more visual way of selecting, producing, and organizing content. Drop in a block, fill it in with the content you like, put it in place and move on to the next one. The process is easy to understand and relieves the writer of the need for shortcodes and custom fields in order to achieve the desired appearance.

Thanks to Gutenberg, creating custom themes just got a whole lot easier, but chances are it’s going to cost you the use of those lovely page-builder tools and plug-ins. It’s important to remember, however, that Gutenberg is not a page-builder, it is a content editor. Chances are good that future versions will make the move from post to page, but as of right now, Gutenberg is designed to allow you to customize content, not design.

When is it going to be released?

Last we heard, the WordPress core team scheduled a proposed release date of today, but now they say it’s TBD. The folks there say there’s a good chance 5.0 will need some more time in the oven so they’re allowing up to 8 days of cushion. If those 8 days aren’t sufficient, they have scheduled the next release date to be January 22, 2019, in order to avoid falling through the cracks during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Anything I should be worried about?

As is the case with any update, there is always the chance of a site breaking. 5.0 is a huge release and most sites are made up of several moving parts and chances are, they’re not all going to play nice together. Before upgrading to 5.0 and activating Gutenberg, make sure to test for any faults. Here’s a testing to-do list graciously provided by Yoast.

  1. Install a local server like DesktopServer (there’s even a blueprint for Gutenberg you can install) or Local by Flywheel
  2. Install a backup plugin on your site, like Duplicator
  3. Run a full backup of your site, including themes, etc.
  4. Migrate the Duplicator package to your new test site
  5. Install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin
  6. Select which type of beta you want to install in Tools > Beta Testing
  7. Install the latest WordPress update

What do you plan to do to prepare?

Thanks for asking! We, along with countless others who use the WordPress platform, have been already testing out some of the features 5.0 and the Gutenberg editor have to offer. Today, the latest beta version is available for testing.

For those saying, “let’s take this slow,” you can install the classic editor plug-in which will allow you to continue using the classic editor post-5.0 update.

Feel like taking 5.0 it for a spin? You can use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or you can download the release candidate here (zip). Remember, BACK UP YOUR SITE BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES. Follow the action and get all the latest updates on 5.0’s progress here.

For our clients:

No need to worry—we’ll take care of everything on our end. Again, Gutenberg is a content editor, not a page-builder, so your site’s appearance won’t change. Gutenberg will allow site builders to customize future content, so it won’t affect current content or design. Some sites may upgrade to 5.0, and some might remain in the older version. We will personally contact clients if any changes are necessary with the update.

If you have any questions about 5.0, Gutenberg, or anything really, don’t hesitate to ask!