WordPress recently released 4.9.5, putting us even closer to the projected 5.0 release of its new editor project named Gutenberg. Gutenberg will radically change the way content on WordPress sites is managed. My personal take on it is after the dust settles Gutenberg will change WordPress for the better. With any change though should come some preparation.
Try It On A Test Site
If you’ve not tried Gutenberg I highly suggest you download it to a local environment and begin playing around with it. You can download it through the plugins page or by going here?https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg. Keep in mind it is still in active development and new features and feature polish is happening constantly. The best way to prevent any future hiccups is to educate yourself before the launch.
Inform Your Clients
Many clients that don’t interact with WordPress all day everyday like some developers. For some clients, Gutenberg could give a shock when they log on to their site to see the editor is completely different. This can cause a bit of a panic for some and leave a bad taste in their mouth. The more proactive and upfront you can be with your clients the less heart ache you will have down once Gutenberg is released.
Test, Test, Test
Hopefully you have a staging environment you can test your sites on before making the upgrade to 5.0. This will help you know exactly how your sites will handle the update and if it will be a smooth transition, or one that will take some tweaking. Most of all you want to test in a staging environment to prevent and potential break in production. A staging environment might would also be a good place to showcase the update to your clients.
Another way to help test is by checking your sites plugins against this compatibility list of plugins?https://plugincompat.danielbachhuber.com/. You can also help contribute to WordPress by testing those plugins and testing beta releases of core before the release.
Have a Plan B
Not all plugins and themes are built the same and as a result Gutenberg may not work with a few of the millions of WordPress configurations out there, or Gutenberg may work fine but you could have a client very resistant to change. Now what? WordPress is also releasing a plugin with Gutenberg called Classic Editor. If you install classic editor your site will not run Gutenberg at all but instead give you the editing interface you’re clients have always been used to. This is a great plan b that will allow a smooth transition for those wanting to keep the classic editor a little longer, but the overall goal should be to get your site on Gutenberg. Also you should use the classic editor plugin over the alternative of just not updating at all, that will leave your site open to potential security issues the longer you go without making an update.
Gutenberg is coming to WordPress, with that in mind prepare yourself, prepare your clients, and save yourself any potential heart burn by doing a little due diligence. WordPress is about to drop the biggest change to WordPress since WordPress and it’s going to be awesome.