It was announced just the other day that WordPress 5, which includes the ever controversial Gutenberg editor is coming December 6, 2018. I just read through the announcement and went through all the comments where many feel it’s not ready yet. Developers feel Gutenberg should not be released until January when the holiday season is done.
WordPress 5 marks a new phase because this will be the most significant change in years. With the inclusion of the Gutenberg editor, it has definitely become a big topic of discussion with lots of criticism within the WordPress community.
But let me get back to WordPress 5 for a moment. it’s really not so much that it’s version 5, it’s mostly about the fact Gutenberg is now the default editor. The sentiment is that the release of Gutenberg is too soon and needs to be delayed until January. You will still get lots of improvements in version 5, including a new default theme called Twenty Nineteen. Most of the improvements are behind-the-scenes, so I will spare you the technical stuff.
WordPress Sites Now Using Gutenberg
I’m sure the majority of the development community is aware of Gutenberg, it’s the typical end-user that is not. People are too busy running their blog and do not pay much attention to the ramblings from core development.
With WordPress reporting more than 1.1 million sites have already updated their website to the Gutenberg editor. Apparently users have written more than 980,000 posts using the new editor. However, the plugin page states otherwise as it currently shows 700,000+ active installs on the plugin’s page. This means it’s less than the 1.1 million claimed. Considering the massive user-base of WordPress sites being in the 10’s of millions, this is only a fraction of it.
I know that sounds pessimistic, but it’s a fact when you consider some of the stats. According to an article on the Codeinwp website, they listed the total number of sites using WordPress at 19.5 million, but I remember seeing 22.2 million on another site. Either way, that’s a lot!
The big question though is how many of these website owners know about Gutenberg?
Gutenberg vs Classic
Matt Mullenweg addressed the question that many have “What if I want to upgrade but I’m not ready for Gutenberg?”. With WordPress 5 coming in just a couple of days, you have the choice of using the Classic Editor plugin instead. For a while now, you might have seen a message in your admin area that mentioned the new editor and gives you two buttons to click on. One was allows you to try out the Gutenberg editor and the other is to install the Classic editor.
The button for the Classic editor is to prepare yourself when WordPress 5 is released if you don’t want to use Gutenberg. Remember that your classic editor is NOT going to be around anymore. According to Matt, the Classic Editor is supported until the year 2022. You will also be able to switch between Classic and Gutenberg on a per-user or per-post level.
In a nutshell, this gives you about 3 years to transition to Gutenberg. Although it’s unknown if “until 2022” means that it includes the year 2022 or up to 2022.
WordPress 5 is coming on December 6, 2018, which is just a couple days away! I can only hope that the millions of websites using WordPress will be OK when users log in to write or edit a post. I’m sure many will be shocked to discover their editor is not there.
For plugin and theme developers, I would certainly hope they are aware of Gutenberg and prepared themselves. I know for myself as a theme developer, I started prepping for this day a while back. I started a new theme site called Rough Pixels which is releasing themes that are designed to work with Gutenberg (and the classic editor). The key to success with WordPress 5 and beyond is to adapt. You may not like it, but this is the start of a new direction for WordPress–good or bad.
I know for myself, my personal blog will stay on WordPress and will use the Classic editor, but for my theme site Rough Pixels, I converted it to Joomla (a whole other topic).