Content management system WordPress has been around for 15 years now, and although it has constantly been developing, its basic layout and tools have remained largely the same throughout. Today, it unveils what some in the software and content management industry are calling its biggest ever update, with the rollout of WordPress 5.0.
WordPress hopes that its new update will help webmasters reduce the number of plugins they need to install, create modernised layouts suitable for mixed media, and optimise their sites for multiple devices and screen sizes.
Most significantly, it includes a new editor called Gutenberg. While previous WordPress editing interfaces have used the rich text editor TinyMCE as their core, Gutenberg integrates blocks so that users can insert images, audio, video and suchlike in a way designed to be easy even for those who are not web development experts.
Why the rush?
Perhaps the most surprising thing about all of this is just how quickly it’s happened. As this cycle shows, it was only just over two months ago that the ‘kickoff meeting’ for WordPress 5.0 took place. A test version of 5.0 was released only last Friday, and following just a weekend of testing, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg has confirmed a December 6th release.
Some in the WordPress community appear to be a little perturbed at the haste with which WordPress is making these sizable changes. A Search Engine Journal article has collated some of the community’s negative feedback, including one commenter labelling the process as ‘entirely irresponsible’. Some have also suggested the update is being rushed through in time for WordPress’ annual WordCamp US convention, which takes place this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee.
Mullenweg himself uses words like ‘stability’ and ‘testing’ in announcing the 5.0 introduction, suggesting that this is being done in a cautious and almost ‘trial and error’ way.
Patience is a virtue
Mullenweg stresses it is ‘totally okay’ to wait a while to upgrade, and indeed that seems to be the policy most webmasters are following. With many plugins likely to be non-compatible with Gutenberg, and several of those who have tested the interface saying it is not stable, a wise policy may be to wait until the release of the 5.0 ½ version.
At Engage Web, we will be biding our time until the New Year before updating to WordPress 5.0 for our own site or any of our clients’.