The WordPress world is abuzz with information about the latest version of WordPress Version 5, which has just been released, boasting its newly integrated visual editor, Gutenberg.

Gutenberg has been in development for quite some time now and offers a much more dynamic and fun way to edit in WordPress with some exciting bells and whistles. It is however important to be aware that it also carries some compatibility issues that could affect your website. You may have spotted the enthusiastic notice at the top of your WordPress home screen informing you that “WordPress 5.0.3. is available” If you have updated already and are experiencing some glitches, please don’t panic. These are some big changes to adjust to, but we are here to walk you through the potential challenges. WordPress have also offered an easy fix to mitigate any problems faced by their users, allowing you to ensure that your website continues to operate and appear as it should.

New Visual Building Tools

Gutenberg features a new “Blocks” system of visual building that allows users to create modular blocks of content that can be easily constructed and moved around, allowing you to build a post or page as you imagine it with minimal technical knowledge. The editor no longer features the Tiny MCE toolbar which looked and functioned much like a familiar word editing program, but now operates using some clean and stylish drop down menus. The working screen is far more spacious, having been upgraded with the diversity of modern devices and screen sizes in mind.

Seamless Transition

While the developers at WordPress have worked to ensure that their own themes transition seamlessly to Gutenberg, WordPress users who are using themes from other sources may experience issues after the switch. When it comes to building, Gutenberg offers the capacity to create columns and easily manipulated rich content not previously possible within the WordPress default builder; but many users have chosen to use visual builders from other developers to create their WordPress site. Those using plugins such as Divi Builder or WP Bakery, (formerly Visual Composer), which already offered exciting tools for building appealing websites are more likely to run into problems.

A Simple Fix

WordPress have released a simple fix for those needing to sidestep Gutenberg in the form of their Classic Builder plugin. Once you have updated to WordPress 5, simply search for the Classic Builder on your plugins page and once this is installed you will find your editing screen is back to its original format and you can continue to construct and edit your site. You will be able to use the old-style Tiny MCE editor, Meta Boxes, and any plugins that you normally use to extend this screen, as it will function as before.

Before You Take The Plunge…

Check with your theme and plugin developers before taking the plunge so you know what steps you will need to consider. What you don’t want is to end up with a mixture of Gutenberg built pages and posts and Divi/WP Bakery/other builder created content. This would result in a messy website which would most likely require time consuming work to consolidate one way or the other in the future. If you suspect you are going to experience issues with this update, it’s best to engage the Classic Builder before making any edits and testing any content that may have been affected.

Planning Ahead

It’s worth noting at this point that future WordPress updates are going to be made with Gutenberg and at this time the Classic Builder plugin is only anticipated to be supported until the end of 2021. That’s pretty far off for the moment, but is obviously something to keep in mind and plan for in the longer term.

As ever, if you are facing technical issues or require more information regarding this recent update; do get in touch!

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