What the Future of WordPress Development Looks like with Gutenberg – Expert Roundup
Since its release in December last year, Gutenberg has been a hot topic both among experts and WordPress beginners. Based on the concept of blocks, this progressive editor allows users to arrange content focusing less on the custom code, and more on the content itself. Its amazing features bring some exciting possibilities not only to content organizing but for website creating as well. Although we are still discovering Gutenberg and its options, its future seems even more promising from this perspective. For this reason, we asked well-known WordPress experts and bloggers to share their thoughts about the future of WordPress Gutenberg. Check this article for some interesting opinions regarding the potential changes and benefits Gutenberg will bring.
Pavel Ciorici – the founder of WPZoom
With the release of Gutenberg, we are already living the future of WordPress Development. If we look a few months back, before the Gutenberg release, there wasn’t too much activity around WordPress, especially when we talk about innovations and new, impressive plugin releases. Everything before Gutenberg felt like an outdated platform from which everyone wants to move away.
Fortunately, Gutenberg gained big popularity in a very short time, and more and more teams keep creating and releasing new blocks with all kind of crazy functionalities for the new editor.
I can’t wait to see how things will change when the next stages of Gutenberg become ready, especially the replacement of widgets and sidebars with block-powered areas. This will really be a game-changer for many developers, and probably it would be even more painful for developers who will not prepare their products within the needed time.
Adam Connell – the founder of Blogging Wizard
The plugin ecosystem as we know it is changing dramatically because of Gutenberg. As Gutenberg adoption increases, a lot of legacy plugins will make less and less sense. I believe we will see a shift in the plugins naturally gravitate to. Instead of laser-focused niche plugins, “all-singing, all-dancing” blocks plugins will become more popular and begin to leave some of those popular legacy plugins behind. That’ll take a while though – it’s early days yet. After all, a huge number of site owners still have the Classic Editor plugin installed. That will likely decrease as Gutenberg improves.
So, for example, where users would have to install a single plugin to add specific functionality like a table of contents box or a click to tweet box, they can just use a single plugin for both of them (and more). I still run most of my sites with the Classic Editor, but I’ve got Gutenberg on a few sites now. The new editor makes a lot of cool things possible that weren’t before and streamlines certain parts of the editorial process.
For example, when copying over content from Google Docs, span tags are stripped out automatically (my editor loves this!). And even adding something basic like a link is easier. Although, not everything is easier. Gutenberg is far from perfect and there are a bunch of bugs that need to be ironed out. And change can be problematic.
That said, I’m excited to see how the way we build websites and create content will change. More specifically, I’m looking forward to seeing what great sites people will be able to create as a result of the new editor.
The future of WordPress Development with Gutenberg means developers can offer users even more flexibility and power in designing and laying out their content and sites. It’s exciting for developers because we get a modern development stack and great for users because you can now do more with WordPress more easily.
Eric Karkovack – the creator of Karks
Overall, I think WordPress development will continue to be accessible, thanks to great work from the community.
Nick Schäferhoff – Editor in Chief of Website Setup
The first thing I see is that building WordPress websites will become a lot more modular. As the block architecture will spread to other parts of the CMS (e.g. the widgets), in the future, developers will create custom blocks instead of custom plugins to achieve their goals. I hope this will reduce website size as it will allow you to install only what you really need. Let’s wait and see how the block directory will handle this.
Personally, I could imagine that this will reduce the appeal of WordPress somewhat. A lot of people out there rely on this type of “cowboy coding” to make stuff happen on their sites. When that falls to the wayside, it might lead to frustration in certain user groups.
Jeff Starr – the creator of Perishable Press
Jacob Martella – the creator of Jacob Martella
I think the bigger change is the switch in the paradigm from page templates to reusable blocks. Here specific page templates drop away and are replaced with blocks, that allow users to reuse those sections over and over on different pages. I’ve done that with some of my pages already. That and being able to see what the page will look like without having to hit the “Preview” button.
Overall, I think it’s a net positive for WordPress development.
Alex Standiford, developer for AffiliateWP
For agencies and freelancers who build themes, not much will change. Most developers are already using Babel to compile their JS down, and plugins like ACF have made creating custom Gutenberg blocks trivial. If you’re in that space, the most significant change will be in re-thinking your sites as pieces to assemble using Gutenberg. This line of thinking isn’t new, it’s just now baked-into WordPress’s DNA.
The biggest difference is going to be for plugin developers who cannot use third-party tools, like ACF to take React out of the question. Those developers have some significant changes. Devs will be required to use the REST API, and understand some pretty advanced React concepts, like higher order components, in order to succeed.
This isn’t going away, either. Gutenberg is expanding into other parts of the admin interface, and it won’t be long before writing in React will just be requisite to customizing WordPress.
Karol K – Content Writer
That depends on what we mean by WordPress development. If what we’re talking about are all the WP-related businesses like theme stores, plugin houses and etc. then the future is rather straightforward; you simply have to make sure that whatever your company offers does work well with Gutenberg. Or, actually, not just well but flawlessly. Your themes, your plugins, your everything needs to work with Gutenberg first, and needs to look like it’s been tailor-built for Gutenberg.
In terms of the broader WordPress development – the development of the platform itself – we’re witnessing a big user-first shift. WordPress is no longer about the “developer user”, it’s about the casual user. Whatever is being built in WordPress has to benefit the casual end user, just as Gutenberg does.
Joyce Grace – Canadian WordPress developer, SEO and copywriter
The implication of Gutenberg, as far as I’m aware of it, will, on the one hand, make things a bit easier for the users. However, those users, if they want the full experiences of Gutenberg, may end up paying more for the back end integration of their customized theme styles, to match the front end. It’s a lot of work to set up Gutenberg-ready themes, as far as my limited experience with it can testify to. This is on top of the added costs to web development we’ve seen over the years based on responsiveness, high density display screens, and the demands of site load time as it affects user experience, the mobile experience and SEO. Gutenberg integrations, if a customer requests them, will add to that financial burden.
We will also see some pages come with better HTML outputs using Gutenberg (presuming it’s used correctly). It’s important to educate our clients, as web developers, on proper, semantic HTML during editing and formatting. For example, no one should be enlarging text by using heading tags. Gutenberg can prevent that, to a degree, with some of its features. It also helps that blocks are based on the insertion of specific elements, which make attempts to do things the ‘right’ way. This may solve some common mistakes that most drag-and-drop builders come with.
Gutenberg editor is a whole new paradigm in WordPress sphere. With some exciting possibilities for content and website creating, it already makes a difference. But, as you see, the future of WordPress Gutenberg is interesting as well. Let’s prepare for a new WordPress adventure!
We hope this article was helpful. If you liked it, feel free to check out some of these interviews as well!