WordPress 5.0: What's Inside & Why They Launched a Major Release After a Long Time?
We all have been hearing about the new WordPress 5.0. It was announced a few months ago that a big change wouldbe coming in the WordPress platform and that it was scheduled to be released sometime in 2018.
Finally, on 6th December 2018, the WordPress 5.0 was launched. This is a major update that is expected to take the WordPress community by storm.
In this release, the community has introduced a lot of significant improvements as well as fixes, and a major update – Glutenberg – a new WordPress editor.
That means, when you update your WordPress to the latest version 5.0, Gutenberg will be the default editor. This editor was named after Johannes Gutenberg who was first to introduce the first movable type-printer into the world.
In this blog, we’ll discuss more on Gutenberg and the reasons behind bringing a major update to the WordPress platform after a long time.
First, let’s start with the reasons. There are mainly two of them.
Reason 1 – WordPress Has Strong Competitors Now
Even though WordPress is an open-source and automatic platform, the team behind WordPress is still in business. Therefore, they need to compete with every competitor such as SquareSpace, Wix, and more.
While the WordPress market share is still strong, but at the same time, its main competitors are growing at a rapid speed. For instance, according to W3Tech, WordPress saw 17.3% of rise in market share from 2017-18. But, during the same period, Wix grew from 0.3% to 1.0% and SquareSpace grew from 0.5% to 1.4%.
Now if we convert that percent into year-on-year growth, Wix grew by 233% and SquareSpace grew by 180%.
That’s way more than WordPress’ growth, don’t you think?
Reason 2 – WordPress Badly Needed a Rewrite
Why? – Well mainly, it needs to compete with others. Secondly, the WordPress also needs to shift to latest technologies, which is why Gutenberg is developed using React.
In addition, Gutenberg also leverages benefits from a lot of other modern technologies like REST API, WebPack, ESnext + JSW, etc. besides React.
Furthermore, because how the new Gutenberg editor is structured, it introduces a new kind of ‘block development’. Though it was said to complete things for users, but thankfully WordPress community had already thought it through and released open-source projects like create-guten-block.
Remember, Gutenberg is all about blocks, so you’ll be hearing about that term a lot further.
WordPress 5.0 Changes (What’s New?)
Most of the past updates before 5.0 have been minor and they did not impact much.
For instance, in WordPress 4.8, the community had released multitude of new widgets as well as an improvement on how links work in the visual editor.
In WordPress 4.9, we witnessed a significant update towards a more user-centric way to customize as well as manage websites. The customizer in WordPress 4.9 had great new functionalities to the widgets and a more powerful text editor for the code editing.
The WordPress 5.0 release, however, is different. It’s mainly all about Gutenberg.
Gutenberg – What The New Block-Based Editor is All About?
The first thing you need to know about Gutenberg is that you’ll have a completely new editing experience.
Another great thing about Gutenberg is that you also don’t need to settle with whatever features Gutenberg brings with itself.
Besides, Gutenberg will also bring essential changes to themes and plugins. Though not every plugin is going to be updated to support Gutenberg, but the Gutenberg team is attempting their best to make updating existing plugins for the new update as easy as possible.
If you’re curious about the new Gutenberg editor and want to test it first, WordPress has also made a demo site at https://testgutenberg.com/ which you can use to test it. On the other hand, if you’ve already tested it and would like to install it, you can just follow the prompts on your WordPress dashboard.
The Big Question – To Switch or Not to Switch?
While we firmly believe that upgrading to a new version or building a website in the latest version of WordPress should only be done after a few test runs. This is why our WordPress developers at Zealous System have already deployed and tested WordPress 5.0 on test sites to ensure it works smoothly for our clients.
Moreover, since WordPress 5.0 is bringing a lot of bug fixes and massive security updates, updating to the latest version will not be much of a choice but a necessity soon.