WordPress 5’s alive

Bright new dawn, or the beginning of the end?

Earlier this month, WordPress version 5.0 hit the stands (servers).

For several years, the numbering of WordPress versions hasn’t mattered all that much, they’ve just been sequential. Version 4.0 was just the next major release after version 3.9.

But Matt Mullenweg decided that what WordPress users were really crying out for was a new editing experience, which had to come in version 5.0 – which why the release before this one was 4.9.8. And if you haven’t updated to 5.0 yet, your latest version is 4.9.9, which has a security update.

In fact, the latest version as I write is 5.0.2…

The new editing experience is a ‘block’ editor, called Gutenberg while it was being developed. The idea of blocks on that you can drop different block types – paragraph, image, table, and so on – in as you type. It’s pretty much caused a schism within the WordPress community, and I’ll be honest it doesn’t work well for me.

It’s crap with tables, for a start. You can’t drag and drop text around.

In my case, it doesn’t matter which editor I use as I compose in Word then copy & paste into WordPress. And this is perhaps the point. No other piece of writing software I’ve ever used uses blocks, apart from PowerPoint. Word certainly doesn’t, and doesn’t seem to suffer for it.

Worse (for me, and many others), the block editor is going to become the basis of other parts of WordPress, including widgets and navigation menus. And it will affect themes in the future as well.

To me, that means WordPress is moving away from being hobbyist-friendly. Even part-timers like me can write or adapt widgets and plugins without having to learn React (JavaScript) or similar. Now, it looks like I might have to learn a whole new way of doing things with blocks, which might not be flexible enough.

Sadly (for me, and many others) the classic editor is only guaranteed to be around until 2021. And there’s no fork of WordPress in the offing. So I’ve a bit of leisure-time learning to come in 2019 as I get to grips with Gutenberg.

Not what I had in mind for 2019, really…

Update I just tried to publish this post, using the new block editor, to be greeted with a message “Publishing failed”. Yeah, thanks WordPress. Back to classic it is then.