Just over a year ago I was sitting in a packed auditorium in the outskirts of Paris when Matt Mullenweg, Founder and CEO of Automattic the company behind WordPress, announced Guttenberg; an editor that would forever change WordPress. The event was the 2017 WordCamp Europe and now, over a year later, WordPress 5.0 is about to be launched and at the heart of it is Guttenberg.
Not who but what! Guttenberg is the code name for the new post editor coming standard with the release of WordPress 5.0 in the coming weeks. Although it's an exciting addition to WordPress — simplifying the website building experience — it really changes everything related to the post editor. And with great change comes, well, a whole lot of broken sites!
What to do?
Even though Guttenberg is coming, the beta version has been around since June of 2017. That means that plugin and theme authors have had over a year to prepare. However, the only way you're going to take advantage of their work is if all of your plugins are updated to their latest versions before updating to 5.0.
Updates: handle with care
Most WordPress site owners know how to update a plugin or theme. I'm also sure that most have also experienced what happens when an update brings down their entire site. The reality is, is that managing plugin updates is one of those deceivingly simple tasks that everyone thinks they can manage on their own until something happens.
First off, if you updating plugins directly on your live site then you're just asking for trouble. Updates should be managed on a staging environment, which is a secondary site that mimics your live site. This allows you to test plugin updates and other code changes to see their effect. That way, if things come crashing down around you, not only is your live site unaffected but you can take the time you need to troubleshoot what happened.
What to do, continued.
So, now that your staging site is up and running and you've updated all your plugins, what now?
As I mentioned before, a beta version of Guttenberg has been around for a while and it can be found in the plugin library. Instead of just waiting for 5.0 to roll out, it would be wise to test out Gutenberg on your staging environment to see how things respond.
Now that you've installed Gutenberg, how do things look? Hopefully, your site pages look and perform as before, but if not, and everything seems broken, well, you're not alone.
If your site is indeed broken it's important to try to troubleshoot the culprit. Is it a plugin or theme related issue, or something else entirely? If you need help with this, give us a shout. Gutenberg just happens to be our specialty. 🙂
In the next few weeks, once WordPress 5.0 is launched you may find that your site or a plugin you're using simply isn't compatible with Gutenberg. But don't worry, lucky for you, you can Install the Classic Editor plugin,
Using this plugin probably isn't a long-term solution but it may be a good solution for a few weeks while you iron out some bugs. Installing the classic editor is a much better solution then not updating altogether because with core WordPress updates also come a slew of security updates as well. Once those security updates have been made public you site is a sitting duck if left un-updated.
Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0 is nothing to be afraid and is an important step in WordPress becoming a better and more usable CMS. But if like many others you find yourself a bit intimidated by the coming changes and would like to have a bit of support, that's why we're here. Whether it's a simple question that you have or you're interested in ongoing support and maintenance, we have a 24/7 team that is happy to help in whatever way can.