With the end of the year almost upon us, I’d like to take a moment and look back on 2018 with you and share what’s coming in 2019.
Beyond the major change to privacy post GDPR last May, the biggest news of 2018 was the introduction of the new block editor, aka Gutenberg. The WordPress developer community has been (loudly) discussing this major change to WordPress for the last 2 years and the new editor was introduced here on WordPress.com in November ahead of its release in WordPress v5.0 in early December. The user reactions that have been posted in the WordPress.com community forums are lukewarm at best.
Oddly, there is no User Guide for the new block editor available at WordPress.org itself, but this page allows you to click around and get a feel for the possibilities. If you enabled the new editor in your WP Admin dashboard, you can experiment with the test draft post that was created there.
LinkedIn Learning is offering several WP courses for free until January 2nd. Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s Essential Training course for WordPress 5.0 includes many sections specifically on the new block editor, which is worthwhile viewing while you can.
Meanwhile the WordPress.com documentation team is busy creating a detailed support guide to working with the new WordPress editor, which is very much-needed since it focuses on our My Sites Editor. It’s a work-in-progress.
According to Matt Mullenweg, the classic editor will be supported until 2022 in the standalone WordPress software. As we WordPress.com long-timers know, everything here on WordPress.com stays the same until it changes, usually with no announcement if it’s a feature that’s dropped.
I grok why this change is important and maybe necessary (and this video on separating content from presentation made me think maybe Gutenberg is not enough), but I don’t agree that it should be compulsory even at a later stage. Content creators do not need or want obstacles to publishing quickly and so use tools they are familiar with.
Besides its amazing flexibility, I think one reason WordPress is so popular with content creators is because the classic editor is a familiar working interface. Writers and editors embraced that familiarity which helped make WordPress the world’s most popular content management system. WordPress now needs to work very hard to convince those same writers and editors that they’ll benefit from spending the time learning a new editing interface, not force that change on them. Going forward it will be interesting to see if the adoption rate increases for both the new block editor by WordPress users and for the WordPress software itself.
For me the big news of 2018 involved a month-long absence from nearly all web activity which made me sit down and rethink what I’d like to do in the future. My days post-retirement have been both a delight and a challenge, but I need to push myself out of my comfort zone if I want to progress. Helping WordPress.com users is still important to me, but no less important to me is finding concrete activities where I can make a difference in my neighborhood. Those are my challenges coming in 2019 and there will be changes to this site as a result.
And two minutes before this post was scheduled to be published, WordPress.com announced that the 2019 default WordPress theme is available on WordPress.com. What a great way to end the year and ring in the new!
How was 2018 for you? Did it make you consider doing something differently or something else altogether in 2019?