Major New WordPress Update

WordPress 5.0 launched officially on 6th December 2018 delivering some major changes to the very popular website platform.

One of the reasons we have loved working with WordPress over the years, is the constant development of the CMS. Being open-sourced, you not only have the clever bods at WordPress constantly updating, tweaking and refining the database, but also literally an entire world of programmers developing themes and plugins, making WordPress cutting edge! To continue to be at the forefront of website CMS, WordPress has unleashed their much-anticipated major update, WordPress version 5.0. This update introduces us to the power of their new editor. Gutenberg.

Major New WordPress Update

WordPress 5.0 Warning

There’s been a lot of excitement about the latest iteration of the WordPress software. Several Beta versions of 5.0 have come out since the end of October but one of the biggest questions recently has been when the full version was going to be released. And now it is finally here, you might be wondering whether you should update to WordPress 5.0 right away or wait to see if there are any issues. Our advice is the same as usual. Whenever there is a major WordPress update, we find it is best to wait a day or two and sometimes even longer, to see if there are any subsequent version releases to fix conflicts, bugs or issues.

What’s Different?

The big difference, as anyone who has been following developments over the last year will tell you, is Gutenberg. This is new editor improves the ability to flexibly place and organise content.

There’s a new interface! If you have run your own site for a while, it won’t phase you too much. If you’re fairly inexperienced it may send a cold hand out to clutch your heart.

Don’t worry, once you get used to it, you’ll wonder what you were ever worried about. As with most things with WordPress, the usability is quite intuitive and it’s designed to be mastered fairly easily.

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg produces blocks which means you can build your content exactly as you’d like to see it – Yoast in a post earlier this month likened it to working with word processor LEGO bricks:

“Gutenberg introduces blocks. Previously, your content lived inside one big HTML file and for every enhancement there had to be something new: shortcodes, custom post types, embeds, widgets and the like. All with their quirky interfaces and weird behavior. Now, you can build your content precisely like you make a LEGO set: all from one box, following a standardized and straightforward set of instructions.”

There will be a lot more flexibility in design, even for those not terribly conversant. You can even save blocks to use elsewhere or repeat over your site.

One potential problem, of course, is that WordPress isn’t exactly one entity and its power comes from the thousands and thousands of third-party plugins and themes that work with the platform. This means quite a few at the launch may not be compatible with the new update.

If you do decide to update sooner rather than later, then check that all your plug-ins and themes are compatible first, otherwise you could run into a few issues. Should you have a large number associated with your site, this could take a while.

What if you don’t like the new editor?

Simple, there is a Classic Editor plugin which is available until December 31, 2021 which will reinstate the old editor interface for the time being.

What’s the Advice?

Don’t panic! This is not an automated update. You are in control of when you update to WordPress 5.0. If you have an older site or theme, it might not be compatible at all which means that you may have to make major changes. If you’re nervous about doing the update yourself – seek help.

The advice for most website owners is not to update straight away. Our experience tells us that this kind of major update rarely runs completely smoothly. There may well be issues and bugs to sort out which could mean a secondary or even tertiary release within a few days to a couple of weeks of the launch. Our biggest piece of advice: always, always make a backup first, don’t put yourself in danger of losing everything or compromising your site.

Considering the date of the launch, if you’re up to your elbows in Christmas and promotions, it will certainly be more sensible to delay things till the New Year.

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