Over the past 15 years, WordPress has evolved significantly. From a simple dedicated blogging platform to powering almost 30% of all websites on the internet. The platform is a culmination of work by passionate people that adds up to 112 person-years. Each new version of WordPress has added something new. For example, version 4.0 completely changed the way the media gallery functioned and how users browsed for plugins. However, version 5 is arguably the biggest change to WordPress ever.
WordPress 5.0 is centered around the new text editor named Gutenberg. Gutenberg completely changes the way that pages are build in WordPress. It introduces “blocks”, which make building a page much easier. The old editor was bare and only allowed you to do things like align text and put in images and links. This was great if you were writing a blog post, but not if you wanted to build an entire page. This is where Gutenberg helps. These new blocks make it very easy to add functionality to your site. You simply drag and drop the blocks where you want and they start working.
This acts as a sort of built-in page builder for WordPress. Because the built-in editor is so bare, people usually install page-builders to help them build pages out. Page-builders break up your pages into rows, columns, and widgets. Rows and columns help to organize your content while widgets add functionality. Gutenberg has these features built-in. This saves time and space on your website as you don’t have to sift through page builder plugins.
Besides introducing block based building, Gutenberg also adds plenty of other small but helpful features. These include improved embedding for media like tweets and videos, a “distraction free” mode that hides the admin bar, and the ability to create custom blocks that can be reused. If the new editor is too overwhelming or if you need to edit old posts, WordPress has released the old text editor as a separate plugin. Your old posts will also be wrapped up in a “classic editor” block that makes them easy to access and edit.
What WordPress 5 Means for the Future
This latest update to WordPress might be the most radical change the platform has ever had. The introduction of Gutenberg completely changes the way pages and posts are made. Although this update might be a bit jarring at first, it’s a great step forward for the future of WordPress. Making a beautiful website is becoming more accessible to those who don’t have the time to learn web development or are not able to hire someone to make site for them. Plugins and themes will have a lot of adjusting to do over the next few months as updates are rolled out, but these growing pains will be worth it in the end.