If you have updated to WordPress 4.9.8 you will have seen the callout for 'Try Guttenburg' within your WordPress dashboard that'll look like the image below.
If you haven't updated to WordPress 4.9.8 or indeed are on a version of WordPress that isn't even 4 - well I strongly recommend you talk to your website developer as your website is at serious risk of being hacked into and are likely falling behind in other areas like following new major privacy laws like GDPR
What is Gutenberg for WordPress?
Gutenberg, named after Johannes Gutenberg, who invented a printing press with movable type more than 500 years ago. The printing press being, of course, one of the most vital inventions in human history allowing for the mass creation and spreading of information. Fitting then, of course, WordPress would name a drastic overhaul to their ancient text editor to a more content creation friendly style after such an important historical figure.
Gutenburg is the latest overhaul of the WordPress CMS which is looking towards being its most drastic change yet in time for WordPress 5.0 as it will become mandatory as part of the core functionality instead of the optional plugin it currently is.
This update allows you to download the editor as a plugin (a php script) so you can get a taste of what's to come.
Gutenberg, named after Johannes Gutenberg, who invented a printing press with movable type more than 500 years ago
Should I download Gutenberg?
On a production website with live traffic and lots of custom coding? Definitely not!
There's going to be lots of bugs and initial hiccups for the WordPress developers to solve through and fix but if you have a smaller website or a website in a staged testing environment and have a fair idea what you're doing code wise and enjoy a bit of problem-solving and want to help the developers out - then go for it!
Protip - When the eventual version 5.0 of WordPress rolls out, it's generally worth waiting a week or so while before updating your website and monitoring how it's affecting similar websites.
You really don't want that stress in your life of watching your website broken with one update click.
Whilst the current editor is very outdated in the design, it works. Which is why a lot of developers and custom coding designers are pleading with WordPress to not rock the boat as with huge updates like 5.0 - usually come a lot of broken websites. Time will tell on how bad or good this latest update will prove for the WordPress community and the 25%+ portion of website dominance of the internet that includes.
From my initial tests with the plugin I noticed multiple blank pages, failed previews and the functionality just didn't seem to work as intended. Though again it's definitely worth reiterating this is still very much in development and in beta. When I did get it to work correctly it definitely offers a nicer flow for blogging than the current editor which most content marketers will love.
Overall the use of space in the editor is much cleaner than the current editor which feels more like a Microsoft word editor from 1998. Gutenberg relies on block-based based where each section falls into elements which can be easily moved around or edited individually and offers useful quick tools like 'most used' tools.
Who will Gutenburg benefit most?
The Gutenberg editor design is certainly a huge step in the right direction for bloggers and editors as the overall layout is much cleaner and easier to manage rich content media like images and videos. Overall the editing ability is much more suited to the modern web, but it's a far cry still from what the developers have dreamed up for it and certainly worth waiting on a bit longer.
Need more help with WordPress?
If you are a WordPress owner who's struggled to keep their website updated to modern standards and doesn't have the time to ensure plugins / WordPress versions are up to date and not breaking their website. We offer maintenance plans with backups, security scanning and much more. Feel free to Contact us to ask about a plan that suits your website and business size.