The Gutenberg Basics
In 2018, WordPress modernized, streamlined, and simplified the content creation experience with the new block editor, phase one of the Gutenberg project. The project optimized for direct manipulation of the visual presentation of the content, instead of through indirect means, like metaboxes. The first component of the Gutenberg project to launch is the new WordPress editor experience, which is now a part of WordPress 5.0. The new editor offers content creators a straightforward way to find, insert, and work with elements on the page.
As exciting as it is, it also represents the biggest change to the WordPress user experience in several years. We know very well that many of you have extensive integrations with the current WordPress editor and will want a gradual transition. We are here to help you evaluate the impacts, test out the new components, plan a smooth transition, and make decisions about the best way to update your roadmaps.
For a peek into what’s next for the Gutenberg project as relates to enterprise WordPress, see our notes on Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word 2018.
Note: Gutenberg is not a VIP initiative! The open-source community, led by designers and developers at our parent company Automattic, are driving this project. For a full description of Gutenberg check out the WordPress.org FAQ and Matt Mullenweg’s own FAQ.
We have managed the release of WordPress 5.0 to make the process smooth and opt-in for VIP clients. However, if you’re not already familiar with it, it’s a good idea to start experimenting and creating content in Gutenberg right away. Some projects are already using Gutenberg in production, like this new site platform Big Bite built for Amnesty International.
We will be communicating Gutenberg rollout updates in this document and in the VIP Lobby as the project continues on to its next phases. This page will continue to be your guide to our latest documentation and news. Most importantly, as you test the new editor and make plans to incorporate it in to your workflow, please reach out to your VIP support team. We’re here to help!
Testing and Experimentation
Hands-on with the Editor at TestGutenberg.com
We encourage all VIP clients across WordPress roles to get hands-on experience testing the new editor as soon as possible. You can use our site, Testgutenberg.com, to try out and work with the latest version of Gutenberg in a safe front-end experience. There are helpful reference links in the left sidebar of that site as well as additional resources.
Load Gutenberg Selectively on Go
On your VIP Go sites, you can now load Gutenberg everywhere, or selectively by post ID (load only for specific posts) and post type (load only for specific post types). Find complete instructions in this helpful page.
We recommend that you load it up in a VIP Go development environment first. If you don’t have a development environment on which to test, now’s a great time to get one set up. Just open up a ticket with our Support team and we can get a development site set up for you. Unless otherwise requested, we’ll sync the content from your live site so you can get a true sense of how Gutenberg will work for you. If you already have a development environment and would prefer not to disturb that, we can create an additional Gutenberg testing environment instead. Not to worry, in either case content changes here will not affect the content on your live site.
Many of the most popular plugins have released new versions that are Gutenberg-ready, including Yoast and Advanced Custom Fields, and new releases that have come out in the last several months have launched as Gutenberg-optimized. Some plugins may work with Gutenberg but not yet be optimized for it. And some number may not function fully or properly. VIP completed an analysis of plugins maintained by Automattic and VIP. You can find details here as well as recommendations for evaluating how your own plugins will work with the new editor. You should evaluate your own plugins and customizations with the Gutenberg plugin in a development environment ahead of using it in production with them.
Deployment at VIP
WordPress 5.0 deployed on VIP the week of December 10th. Deployment details are available in the Lobby. We are using a custom plugin called Gutenberg Ramp to allow for gradual and controlled exposure of the new editor to posts and pages. All VIP-hosted sites on Go now have the Gutenberg Ramp plugin enabled with Gutenberg set to OFF to start. Use the instructions on this page to enable Gutenberg selectively. This will preserve the legacy editing experience and allow you to transition with a high level of control.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Gutenberg?
Gutenberg is the code name for the new editing experience on WordPress. This is not a VIP initiative! The open-source community, led by designers and developers at our parent company Automattic, are driving this project. For a full description of Gutenberg check out the WordPress.org FAQ.
Why do I care?
Because this is an exciting leap forward for WordPress, and will affect every single site using the platform. It will not only change your editorial workflow, but also your use of shortcodes and embeds.
Can I opt out?
No. While Gutenberg is the name of the project, the functionality that is being created will just become part of WordPress core. In the short term, you can control how the new editor appears on your sites today and as WordPress 5.0 rolls out using the Ramp plugin mentioned above.
How did the rollout work on VIP?
The Ramp plugin allows you to decide when the new editor surfaces in your workflow, selectively by post ID (load only for specified posts) and post type (load only for specified post types.) Whatever those settings are when 5.0 deploys will determine how Gutenberg surfaces.
This puts you in control of the details, and if you choose to do nothing, the new editor will stay defaulted to “off” for all content types. It will give you the runway to test all of your customizations and integrations ahead of time, and plan a thoughtful and granular transition if that’s what suits you best. If you are ready to rock with Gutenberg throughout your post types and pages right out of the gate, it will be easy to do that too.
Will my plugins work?
Many third-party plugins have been updated to be compatible with or even optimized for the new editor. It’s important to test all of your plugins and customizations ahead of your using the new editor with them in production. In short, some will work just fine, some will need to be updated, some may be rendered unnecessary. We have recommendations for conducting your own testing and analysis based on our own process.
What if VIP previously reviewed a plugin for me?
We cannot take ownership of reviewing every plugin we have reviewed in the past for Gutenberg compatibility. This is one of the reasons why testing in your own environment is so important.
Useful reference materials
- The official https://make.wordpress.org/core/2018/12/06/wordpress-5-0-field-guide/
- Matt Mullenweg’s Gutenberg FAQ
- Gutenberg Handbook (#)
- Gutenberg News, a helpful third-party news tracker (#)
- Gutenberg Hub, a treasure trove of blocks, resources, and tutorials (#)
- VIP News overview (#)
- Human Made’s white paper (#)
- Gutenberg Times, another helpful news tracker (Twitter) (#)
- One thousand and one way to extend Gutenberg today, Riad Benguella (#)
- With Gutenberg, what happens to my custom fields?, (#, #)
- A wp-cli command to create a static block (#)
- Easy to understand and extensively inline documented starter WordPress plugin for Gutenberg (#)
Help shape the direction and success of Gutenberg, for WordPress 5.0 and beyond. Our best-prepared clients won’t be the ones following the chatter, they’ll be part of that chatter. It’s worth joining the WordPress.org slack (https://make.wordpress.org/chat) and checking out the #core-editor channel. If you have questions, you can ask for help in there.