How Will WordPress 5 affect your website?

This week WordPress announced its release date of version 5 for December 6th 2018. This morning it’s here. The response from the WordPress community has been less than positive. This is the first major release since 2014, and it’s bound to be a cause for concern.

WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg gave only three days notice with his announcement, this coming at a time when millions of online businesses rely on the stability of their sites more than ever during the festive season.

It’s also come at a time when hordes of developers are flocking to WordCamp USA, one of the biggest annual WordPress developer conferences.

One person said:

“This is reckless, and incredibly out of touch. … I’m a converted fan, but it still has serious usability problems. …I see why so many are disenchanted with the project feel it’s been stuffed down their throats.”

What could the WordPress 5 update mean for you?

WordPress 5 is forgetting about incremental and is shipping out some pretty major changes.

The biggest major change for WordPress 5 is the inclusion of Gutenberg in the core. For people who have outdated themes installed, this could be problematic. Gutenberg is a block-based editor, allowing users more control over the look and feel of their website posts and pages. It’s designed for the user to be able to edit their site content with no coding ability.

This version is also veering away from major releases with lots of minor ones in between. The idea is to roll out an update when there’s something truly meaningful within.

Major changes in short:

The whole platform is moving towards a more intuitive way of building posts and pages. WordPress already has the market share of the web, and with the rise of other web builders, they want to hold on to it.

Gutenberg’s block-based editor will make theme creation more accessible, relying less on code. Whilst this is useful for many website owners who just don’t have the luxury of a developer, Gutenberg will still shine best when teamed up with a knowledgeable web and UX team.

Page builder plugins may lose some of their importance. At the moment, Gutenberg won’t have that kind of functionality, but in the long run who knows where this will go?

Should I update my site?

A word of caution. Logging into your site will give you the message that WordPress 5 is here: Please update. If you aren’t confident that nothing will go wrong, then proceed with caution.

We have been using the new editor on production sites for a while now with lots of success and our users have been happy with the level of control and ability they have to create smart looking content.

Since the release of WordPress 5 will include the classic editor in addition to Gutenberg, it’s not necessary to switch out. In fact, WordPress insist that there will be little change from the current version to version 5when choosing the classic editor.

The main concern for those in the know is the web users who, understandably have very little knowledge of the inner workings of the web and just go right on ahead and press the update button. I mean what can go wrong right?

Our advice is, before making any major update to WordPress, ensure your site is backed up, along with your database. If you are unsure how to do that, contact your developer. There is always the option to hold off updating for a couple of weeks until the bugs have been ironed out. We’re not panicking about the next major release, but we do understand the concerns of the community, many of whom are managing large legacy sites.

We are a web design agency who are experts in custom WordPress builds and have 15 years experience in design and development. We have worked on hundreds of WordPress projects.  At Factory, we adhere to WordPress coding standards and follow best practices for the web. As a result, any of our sites which have been through major releases of WordPress have lived to tell the tale.


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