WordPress 5.0 / Gutenberg: Don’t Do It. Just Don’t Do It.

by Andrew Schulkind

Even if you leave the inner workings of your website to your development team, you may have heard rumblings about the on/off/back on WordPress update that was released yesterday. Version 5 includes many improvements and changes, but no change is getting more attention than the inclusion of an entirely new content editing system, known as Gutenberg. (But not this Gutenberg.)

Steve Gutenberg photo: Gord Lacey

photo: Gord Lacey

Gutenberg is what’s know as a visual editor. Visual editors have been around for a few years and are included with a number of popular themes, like Divi. They make editorial updates much easier for some users, though their usefulness depends on a site being built to take advantage of their strengths and on users who understand how best to use them.

Whether a visual editor is a good fit for you or your site will depend, of course, so give us a shout if you’d like to discuss the pluses and minuses. In the meantime, we’ll share some of the wisdom we’ve gathered in recent days. The executive summary: Just Don’t Do It.

At least not now. Our recommendation is to wait until after the holidays when we’ll have seen how the initial rollout has worked for the early adopters. Once things are stable, perhaps with a subsequent release to address small issues, it will be safer to push ahead, with or without Gutenberg. (The “classic editor” will be an option through then end of 2021 WordPress has promised.)

Our own initial testing has found inconsistent results, though not the outright disasters being reported from some developers and site owners. It really all depends on how your site is was built.

The official word from WordPress, or one of ‘em.

Friend and colleague Shane Larrabee’s (Fat Lab Web Support) take on the situation. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

WPML, a well-respected plugin/theme developer offers similar thoughts.

Elegant Themes, the creators of the Divi theme, offers a rosier assessment of Divi’s compatibility. We’re still suggesting caution for all but the simplest Divi-based sites.

Finally, one of our favorite hosting providers, Pair Networks, adds this:

WordPress have announced their intention to launch WordPress 5.0 on Thursday, December 6th. Due to the sudden announcement, and proximity to the holiday season, we are choosing to postpone applying the update until early January for all WordPress Hosting accounts.

If desired, one can update sooner by initiating the upgrade to 5.0 directly through the WordPress administrative dashboard, or by contacting our support department for assistance.

We will be in contact to specify the exact date of the update soon. Meanwhile, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Let us know if you’ve had a different experience or would like help managing the transition.