If you keep your ear to the ground as far as the WordPress content management system is concerned, or even if you don’t, you may have heard that a new content editor called Gutenberg will be introduced when WordPress 5.0 is released.
Since WordPress is such an important part of our business activities, we’ve been following Gutenberg’s development with interest, particularly in the various Facebook groups that exist for WordPress developers. Its development has been dogged by controversy, particularly relating to whether it should permanently remain an optional plugin (we think it should), and how accessible it is for disabled users (spoiler: it isn’t, not yet at least).
Now that WordPress 5.0 is into Beta, we thought it might be useful to outline our strategy for dealing with Gutenberg on our client sites.
The fairly short and succinct description of our strategy is this: we’re disabling Gutenberg on all client sites for the time being.
And why are we doing that?
There is one exception to this strategy: recently we took over maintenance for a site developed by a third party, who used the Gutenberg plugin in order to make the content editing experience more like what it will be in WordPress 5.0. We have no choice but to support this site as-is, and in fact it is giving us useful insights into the problems that Gutenberg has caused and will probably continue to cause.
When there have been enough future WordPress releases that Gutenberg is a polished and trouble-free part of the WordPress administration experience, we’ll set up some test sites and, if the outcome is good, may start using it for certain new design and build projects.
However, existing client sites that we maintain will be kept in a Gutenberg-free state for as long as possible. Then, once disabling Gutenberg is no longer possible with new WordPress releases, we will discuss the way forward with clients. This ensures that additional costs for clients are postponed for as long as possible.
We have also been closely following the development of two projects that promise to offer an alternative to a Gutenberg-equipped WordPress: ClassicPress and CalmPress. We will continue to evaluate these projects as possible alternative platforms for certain projects and existing sites.