Sometime this year a major WordPress upgrade will be available which will drastically change the default WYSIWYG interface. The new editor, called Gutenberg, will be part of the WordPress 5.0 release. It is named after Johannes Gutenberg, who invented a printing press with movable type more than 500 years ago. The concept behind Gutenberg is not new, it draws its inspiration from how old printing presses used a galley and chase to create reusable templates that could consistently reproduce the same layout. With its introduction comes the concept of composing content with blocks. Gutenberg Blocks function similar to the way most page-builder plugins currently work–by providing a way for users to visualize the layout and appearance of their content.
Gutenberg takes it a step further, built with React and Redux, it integrates deeply into WordPress to provide a rich and powerful new editor experience for authors. Its also friendly to plugin authors, exposing many APIs that make it easy to extend and create custom blocks. The current visual editor requires a lot of us to utilize shortcodes and HTML to make things work. Essentially, Gutenberg replaces the single edit field of the current WordPress TinyMCE editor with lots of individual “blocks”.
These blocks then allow you to build more complex designs than those allowed in the current WordPress editor. So what’s a block? Well, a block can be pretty much anything. For example, you can have blocks for:
- Regular text
- Video embeds
- Widgets (yes, those same widgets you use in your sidebar)
And because each block is “separate”, you can also add things like custom backgrounds just for specific blocks. In general, it gives you more flexibility and in-depth control. The theory is that Gutenberg will eventually replace the common layout builders.
Have a look at the current editor vs. Gutenberg here:
Interested in poking around in this new editor to get a feel for it? We’ve got it installed on a staging site and will be happy to give you access to try it out. Just let us know!