Gutenberg Is Progress

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A lot has been already said about Gutenberg and whether it should be included in WordPress core. How should it behave once it is included? Should it be the new editor for new sites only? Should it be an option that users can enable, or should it be on by default and give the option to disable it?

Progress is good

My personal opinion about if and how Gutenberg should be included in WordPress core has changed quite a few times. I could easily come up with as many advantages and disadvantages.

I asked around in my team over at Mindsize and Zach (our CEO) had a great way to describe why Gutenberg needs to happen:

We can’t keep the platform in the stone age to accommodate users who can’t deal with change. I think that’s the central argument for inclusion in 5.0. The only way that we continue to grow market share rather than start to lose it is to start making great strides toward competing with the alternative platforms that are available.

Nobody likes change. But in order to make WordPress move forward, something has to change. Competitors have caught up with WordPress, particularly in the areas of user experience and ease of use. Gutenberg is a really big, really bold step in the right direction.

Compatibility with Gutenberg

In one of the more heated discussions recently, Gary Pendergast explained the philosophy behind Gutenberg and content blocks in more detail. This is a good guideline for everyone who wants to make their plugin or theme compatible with Gutenberg:

Over the coming years, the “block” concept for managing site data will become the primary method for thinking about, laying out, interacting with, and editing data. The block editor coming in WordPress 5.0 is the first major step in that direction, the Gutenberg Customisation focus this year is the next step, along with the Gutenberg Theme.

Of course, not everyone will be 100% ready for the block editor when WordPress 5.0 ships. That’s a practical reality that everyone is aware of, and we have no wish to leave people with no viable way to upgrade to WordPress 5.0. With that in mind, there are a few different ways to disable Gutenberg, depending on your particular use case.

Nobody is expected to become compatible with Gutenberg right from the start. Developers can ensure that their software can continue to use the classic editor.

The new editor will be included in WordPress 5.0, which is scheduled to be released in April. From that moment on, it will be the new default editor for everything. Gutenberg can be disabled via the Classic Editor plugin. Developers can specify that a meta box isn’t compatible yet with the new editor (via the __block_editor_compatible_meta_box parameter). WordPress will then use the classic editor for all pages where that meta box is shown.

Making Gutenberg the new default editor is in line with one of the core WordPress philosophies; decisions over options. New features that replace older features should become the new default, with a graceful fallback for legacy code. That is exactly what’s happening now with Gutenberg.

Join the progress

Even WooCommerce, one of the more popular and meta box heavy plugins is already working on becoming compatible, so everyone should be able to.

Content blocks are the future of WordPress. There is plenty documentation available, including good explanations of the philosophy of the project. Take your time to do it properly and in the meantime, make sure the provided fail-safes are in place before WordPress 5.0 is released.

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