Heads up for WordPress Gutenberg; How to get ready for the big change

Heads up for WordPress Gutenberg; How to get ready for the big change

2nd December 2018 0 By Azadeh

Most of us do not like change of any kind, but a change of this magnitude may be devastating for some! This change could have many implications for those of us who are expecting the change.  For those whom these changes catch off-guard, the surprise could be a nightmare.

If you are reading this article, you know about Gutenberg. The WordPress modern and next level editor that will change the way we build websites in WordPress.

Here we will talk about what will be affected by Gutenberg and how to get ready for it. And if ever having a problem migrating to it, what solutions are available.

Gutenberg editor

What is Gutenberg?

Basically Gutenberg is the new upcoming core editor of WordPress that will change the way of building pages and how they appear in the frontend. It uses block units like components to build posts and pages. Blocks that are reusable as well.

Therefore it has a close relationship with the theme and all the plugins involving in building and customising the site.

Embrace the change

What should we expect as a business?

As with any technology upgrade in any industry, enterprise-level businesses simply need to know what changes to expect and plan accordingly.

Generally with WordPress 5 release the customers will get a notification to update to the new exciting editor in the new major release.

Even if they don’t do anything we should take all the steps to make sure their websites will work at any stage.

An update is a MANDATORY task to do every time a major release happens. Because it lessens the SECURITY RISKS of using old releases and reduces the problem of compatibility issues with new themes and plugins updates.

Also in a major change at this scale all 3rd party themes and plugins including the old ones will update themselves to the new editor to survive. Therefore the thought of not updating the site is not an option.

Typically more than 90% of sites should work just as before. Especially if they are using reliable page builders and plugins. 

But there will be less than 9% of the customers whom had a very custom frontend with different kinds of customisation that might not see their site just as before.

How Gutenberg affects us in technical point of view?

As mentioned above, Gutenberg will be the core editor in WordPress. This means it will replace the old classic editor.

As a result of this transformation :

  • Plugins that are used for changing and customising the editor will be affected.
  • the theme’s compatibility with editor will be affected

What does this change mean?

Eventually if related plugins and theme(s) we used in the site are not compatible with Gutenberg the frontend will not work as expected.

And it all depends on how much those plugins have customised the website’s editor and design.  

Plugins like Siteorigin page builder , eliminator, Beaver page builder,  SEO YOAST are the major plugins that have an instant effect on the page editor. The page builders are the one’s that have the most concerns.

Fortunately all these popular page builders are already updating themselves to be compatible with Gutenberg. Siteorigin page builder is supported already and SEO Yoast has integrated itself by working alongside Gutenberg team.

Bu there are sites that might use some 3rd party plugins or old and not updated themes that might crash or not work properly. Here are the solutions.

WordPress 5 is close

What are the solutions?

First step is to warn the customers about the notification. And ask them to let us know when they got it so we can update the site for them regarding a major release risk that we want to take care of for them.

Customers updated their site already

After WordPress 5 released there will be customers that have done the update already. Chances are most sites will work fine. But if there were issues with their site, these are the steps to take:

  • Update all the plugins to the latest version up to date
  • Update the theme to their latest version
  • If problem persist then test the site with block test unit plugin for Gutenberg to identify the problem
  • If still site does not look as expected install the classic editor and check again. This is a temporary solution though and should be reverted back to Gutenberg after testing.
  • If the problem was not identified reinstall Gutenberg and test again. activate all plugins one by one to see which one causes the problem.
  • If the identified plugin is not compatible with Gutenberg replace it with another one based on research

The worse case scenario is if the theme is not compatible with Gutenberg. Then we will need to replace it and rebuild the site accordingly.

Otherwise it is very unlikely that we need to rebuild the site. It is the matter of fixing bugs and replacing some plugins that we might find causing the issues.

Customers not updated yet

For those customers not updated their WordPress yet these are the recommended steps:

  • Update the theme 
  • Update all plugins
  • Test the site with block test plugin
  • Update WordPress and test Gutenberg accordingly

The steps is pretty much the same but with more cautious and care.

 As a final note Gutenberg is now in second release candidate and the WordPress team hasn’t announced a certain date for WP 5 release. But it will be soon this year. We can try it now as a plugin and get comfortable with it as soon as possible.

Thank you for reading.