What is Gutenberg

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Who would’ve thought that the inventor of the printing press (Johannes Gutenberg) would be making such a ripple in the WordPress world?

WordPress has announced the impending arrival of a new text editor – Gutenberg – for the popular content management system. This roll-out comes after nearly a decade with few changes to their existing visual editor which uses, primarily, shortcodes and HTML. Currently in its beta phase, it’s not quite ready to run on production sites yet, but the developers are looking to enroll testers so they can gain valuable feedback on any potential issues or bugs.

“The editor will create a new page- and post-building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.” — Matt Mullenweg

Content blocks will include text, quotes, galleries, images, lists, audio, files, headings/subheadings, and video. Formatting elements will include tables, html, code, buttons, columns, page breaks, spacers, separators, and read more.

Embed blocks will allow you to add YouTube and Twitter links, quickly and easily. And, as a bonus, Gutenberg will keep track of your “most-used” blocks.

Our Take

As of today (October 26, 2018) Gutenberg is only available as a plugin and can be downloaded via the WordPress Plugin Repository or added via the WP dashboard (version 4.8 or future releases). So far it’s getting mixed reviews from developers and less-than-developer-users, and I concur with the mixed feelings. After playing with it a bit on a development site with WordPress’s 2017 theme, I was definitely underwhelmed. I found it to be clunky and the styling options are still limited. It was easy to install and there are some improved options for SEO, and it’s certainly an improvement over the previous text editor. While Gutenberg won’t change the functionality of WordPress, it will have a huge impact on the experience of anyone who edits content or manages their own site.

So, ready or not, Gutenberg is coming to WordPress 5.0 with a tentative November 19 release date. It is updated weekly, but it is still very much in its beta phase and is currently only available as a plugin. (We’re not going to talk you through the “how-to” of installation, because our job is to complete plug-in installations for you.) If you do decide to play with it, remember exactly what “beta” means and proceed with caution.