Whether you’re a current Metric Media client or not, if you have a website built on WordPress you may or may not have heard of something called "Gutenberg". If you log into WordPress Admin you have probably seen a prominent announcement about Gutenberg on the Admin dashboard.

What is it?

Gutenberg is a new content editor that will be enabled by default in the upcoming major release (version 5.0) of WordPress. The release is currently planned for November 27th.

If you use WordPress’ default built-in editor for creating and updating content, you will notice a substantially new look and feel once Gutenberg is activated. This new editor allows users to more easily create rich content and flexible pages by adding different “blocks” of content, like text, images, video, bullet lists, callouts, and so on.

Does this apply to me?

Most of the websites we create for clients use a plugin called "Advanced Custom Fields" (ACF), which allows us to override the standard WordPress editing environment to specify which page elements can be changed and which elements are ‘locked’. This lets us more carefully control the site’s appearance and prevents administrators from making changes that might adversely affect the design of the site.

Currently, ACF and the built-in WordPress editor are very compatible and play nicely together. Because the release version of the new Gutenberg editing environment is not yet out, we do not know what conflicts, if any, may arise between ACF and Gutenberg. Our initial testing with the beta version indicates only some minor issues and we look forward to further testing once the release is official.

Most sites that we customize use ACF on almost every page, but some sites and some pages use the default WordPress content editor. Often the default editor is used on pages that are intended to be more flexible – for example, blog post pages, or “general purpose” content pages. Likewise, sites that we maintain but did not build, or that use an off-the-shelf theme, typically make heavier use of the default content editor.

Once Gutenberg is active, these pages will have all Gutenberg’s editing features available to administrators. This is good and bad: Gutenberg allows more extensive editing and page modification than the current (‘classic’) editor does. So you will have more power to alter the content and layout of these pages—and more power to stray from, or even break, the intended design.

What does this mean to me?

The answer will be different for each client based on their individual needs, but we see it breaking down something like this:

  • If most of your pages utilize ACF (and we may need to advise you if they do or do not), then Gutenberg will have little effect, since ACF will override most of its features.
  • If you and/or your staff are frequent and adept users of the existing editor to create content and posts, then you are a good candidate to give Gutenberg a try. You may find its powerful new features to be advantageous.
  • If you rarely use the editor to make updates to your website OR you have updates performed by staff who are not particularly savvy with the editor, then you may want to stick with the ‘classic’ editor. Gutenberg will be enabled by default with the upcoming 5.0 release, but the classic editor can be reinstated via a plugin. We can help with this.

What do I need to do?

First off, no need to worry—we have your back and will help shepherd the transition when the time is right.

Most of our clients’ sites use ACF, and only minimally use the default WordPress content editor. For those clients the transition to WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg should generally be painless, and we can implement both on your next scheduled quarterly WordPress update. Because of the addition of Gutenberg we’ll need to review a bit more closely during the update process, and may need to apply some additional changes, so your next update may require a little more time than is typical.

For sites that make heavier use of the default WordPress editor, we will check in with you prior to implementing WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg. If you are interested in using the new features we can enable Gutenberg and work with you to make sure you understand how to use it. If you want to keep things how they presently are, we can install the classic editor and you should be able to continue managing content as you always have.

These are our current recommendations, based on an abundance of caution to ensure the transition goes smoothly. Also, please know that if you or someone on your staff activates Gutenberg, don’t panic; it’s unlikely any immediate or significant harm will come to your site and we can help you switch back to the classic editing environment.

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a good resource to check out.

If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact us. We will keep you posted with any new and relevant news related to this rollout.

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Currently, Advanced Custom Fields and the built-in WordPress editor are very compatible and play nicely together. Because the release version of the new Gutenberg editing environment is not yet out, we do not know what conflicts, if any, may arise between ACF and Gutenberg.

View All