What is Gutenberg?
WordPress is about to go through a major overhaul, and for those of you who edit your own sites and write your own blog posts, you will notice a major difference in the back end editor. This new editor is called…
Okay. Great. So What IS Gutenberg?
Gutenberg is a re-thinking of the back end WordPress editor in a way that is meant to function better on the coding end and also to make creating and editing posts easier for users. While the classic editor is simple to use, we’ve all had the occasional frustrations with lack of control over where and how things show up on the page. Gutenberg should help with some of those frustrations. The folks over at WordPress have been working hard to get it right, and a rollout should be coming soon.
As a reminder, the Classic Editor looks like this.
The new Gutenberg Editor
The new editor uses blocks of content that the user can drag and drop to change the look of the design on the fly. EVERYTHING, from headers to paragraphs, to images, will be in its own content block that can be manipulated individually from the rest of the content. You’ll even be able to add widgets and video as blocks, and third-party vendors are no-doubt busy creating infinite possibilities for the kinds of blocks you’ll be able to add to your posts.
So Will Gutenberg Replace Site Builders like Divi?
Or, at least, not yet. While the new Gutenberg editor allows some simple drag and drop functionality, it doesn’t have flexible columns or many of the features that dedicated page-builders have had years to perfect. If I have built your site for you, then Divi is likely the theme installed and, straight up, I would never choose to use Gutenberg when I could use Divi, especially now that Divi can be used when writing posts and other custom post types.
Will Gutenberg Break My Site?
Gutenberg has not broken any of the sites I’ve been able to test. At least, not at first. Some of the sites I manage are built almost exclusively with widgetized content. They work perfectly well – until I go in to make edits. Gutenberg tries to parse the information already on the page and make it into discreet content blocks, and that creates a giant mess. So far as I can tell, each page will have to be rebuilt just as soon as a simple text-edit is required. I have not noticed this to be true with my Divi sites.
What to Do?
Well, for now, there is good news. If your site is not playing well with Gutenberg, the folks at WordPress have offered a temporary solution. The latest version (4.9.8) comes with an option on the WP dashboard to try Gutenberg or stick with the Classic Editor for now. Go ahead, try the blue pill. But if something goes awry, you can always go back to the Classic Editor.