What is Gutenberg Anyway?

What is Gutenberg for WordPress?

You may be a WordPress developer building WordPress websites for a living or a Chamber or membership organization focused on building your numbers and engaging your members. Either way, if you are using WordPress, you should be aware that Gutenberg is on its way.

Depending on who you talk to, Gutenberg is an exciting new development for the WordPress community or a huge change that will upset the entire WordPress ecosystem. There is definitely debate about the changes it will bring, but the bottom line is, it’s time to get in the loop so you don’t get caught off guard when your WordPress website undergoes this big change.

Here’s Matt Mullenweg, WordPress Creator, introducing Gutenberg in ‘State of the Word’ 2017

Gutenberg is a radical change to the WordPress editor. This change will be part of WordPress core. Which means that once you update to WordPress 5.0, your site’s editor will work differently.

Get Ready for Gutenberg Now

If you are not ready for this new editor, you could find yourself scrambling to figure out how to make even small updates to your site. If you are providing tech support for others, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the changes so you can ensure that your clients do not lose online business because they can’t update their website once Gutenberg goes live.

Basically the Gutenberg editor treats each piece of content separately. Each paragraph, title, list, image, video, etc. becomes a separate block that can be moved around the page.

Instead of your editor looking like this:

WordPress Editor, what is gutenberg

All of the meta boxes and tool bars will be tucked away like this:

Gutenberg for WordPress new editor screenshot

You will add blocks of content from a drop down and then add content to the block:

Gutenberg for WordPress plugin, add content blocks

Are Plugins Affected by Gutenberg?

Yes, plugins may be affected by Gutenberg as well. There are currently over 50,000 plugins listed in the WordPress.org Plugin Repository.  Many of those plugins, especially the free ones, may not be Gutenberg compatible when this WordPress update is released. If your site relies heavily on plugins, or more specifically, relies heavily on one particular plugin to perform a function that is important to your organization, it’s worth reaching out to the plugin developer now to find out what their Gutenberg plans are.

Better to proactively replace a plugin rather than to discover a feature on your site has suddenly stopped working.

Give Gutenberg for WordPress a Try

The good news is that you don’t have to sit and wonder ‘what will happen to my site?’. You can try it Gutenberg out right now. There is a free Gutenberg plugin in the WordPress Repository that you can download and play around with. Activating this plugin will add the Gutenberg updates to your editor so you can try them out before they become part of WordPress core. We recommend creating a staging site for testing purposes. That way you can test all of your plugins and features without affecting your production (live) website.

download plugin to test Gutenberg for WordPress

More about Gutenberg

Now that you have a basic understanding of what is Gutenberg, here are some free resources to learn more. If you know of any we should add to the list, let us know!