WordPress 5: what you need to know

Every release upgrading implies important changes; this time the upgrading was long awaited since the expected changes affected the tool that users use the most, the editor for the entry of textual contents used to manage both pages and articles.

The new editor with the codename Gutenberg “upsets” positively the way contents are created and managed, thereby improving its usability. Furthermore, features that were missing or that were applicable only by installing plug-ins of third parties were added.
The key element of the new editor is the concept of BLOCK: titles, paragraphs, lists, galleries of images, other types of elements are considered as a block.
This choice optimizes the management of contents and allows to focus the attention on single elements of the page, which simplifies any operation of entry, change or shift of the blocks.

Generally speaking, what has changed when compared to the previous release for the developer of websites in WordPress?

For those who want to develop brand new websites, the upgrade will have no particular consequence, on the contrary, it will bring only advantages.
Those who develop customized themes in WordPress for their Customers without buying themes on websites like themeforest.com have to pay attention and define the CSS for the new HTML elements that are generated by the new editor. However, WordPress makes
available a basic CSS which allows the right display of all types of blocks.
Instead, for those who develop websites starting from purchased themes will have to be careful and select only themes that have already been upgraded and are, therefore, compatible with the new release.

For a couple of years old themes can still be used, because the developers of WordPress realized a plug-in which allows to reactivate the old editor, the “classic editor” with the aim to keep the compatibility with the previous releases and to give developers the possibility to upgrade their themes. This plug-in will be maintained until 2021.

Will the system be higher performance, with greater flexibility and the possibility for more customizations?

The answer to all these questions is yes, it will be. The new editor exploits at best the room available of the browser window and acts on single blocks; features displayed are filtered according to the type of block we are working on as well. Let’s make an example: if we are working on a paragraph, then we will see only the features of the editor that can be applied to the text like bold type, italic, font alignment and so on.

In addition to this, we will have the possibility to expand the new editor and to realize types of blocks in case we want to create specific elements according to the requirements of our Customers.

Regarding the development of new websites through Wordpress 5.0, what can we say to customers? Will it make it easier for them to customize their website or will things remain the same?

Final customers, authors and editors of both pages and articles will only benefit from the new editor since it is very easy to use and the management of all those multimedia elements like images, galleries or videos will be simplified.

How would this greater possibility of customization or so-called “block customization” of websites affect possible choices or the development of the chain of responsive templates?

Developers who don’t use ready-to-use themes or specific editors for the management of contents but who develop customized themes for their Customers will benefit the most. This is possible because they will have more elements at disposal for the customization of the
pages. Furthermore, they will have the possibility to avoid the use of alternative editors, which can be installed as additional plug-ins; in this way the platform will remain simple and safe while the maintenance of the entire website will be easier.

In the short term, what kind of solutions can we suggest to those users/companies/professionals etc. who have their websites in the previous release of WordPress?

Before passing to the release 5.0 we suggest to make a backup of all contents and to upgrade all plug-ins used on the website. Those who use ready-to-use themes will first have to upgrade themes to the latest release available and to check the compatibility with Gutenberg.
If the theme is compatible, then it will be possible to move to the release 5.0 without problems; instead, to those who have themes that have not been upgraded yet we suggest to move to the release 5.0 in any case, but to install the plug-in for the classic editor as well, , in this way they will keep the complete compatibility.
Anyway, we remind that the updating of plug-ins, of themes and of WordPress have to be done on a regular basis in order to ensure the highest reliability, compatibility and system safety.

Are search engines penalizing users who are waiting to upgrade their Wordpress websites to the latest release?

No, users won’t be penalized.

Are there currently any problems or issues connected to the upgrade of the latest release of WordPress 5.0? For example some plug-ins that do not properly function, etc…? What kind of advice can we give?

As we said before, we will have to check the compatibility of all plug-ins with the new release of WordPress and, if necessary, to replace with alternative versions those which are no longer compatible or that were not regularly upgraded by the authors.
The most used plug-ins have already been upgraded and made compatibile with the last release like Yoast for SEO, WooCommerce for the development of e-commerce pages and WPML for the management of websites in several languages.

Simone Volpini



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