Opinion: Gutenberg is Necessary for WordPress
Chances are that you have heard of the new Gutenberg editor coming to WordPress core in 2018. I welcome this necessary change.
The Gutenberg discussion is a convoluted one with many different rabbit holes depending on who is doing the talking. Developers discuss it from one angle while end-users view it from a different perspective. WordPress product businesses (like LearnDash) have their own take on the matter as well.
Let me say that as a product business we will need to make adjustments for the new editor. Mostly just to ensure that our settings are still compatible as the entire course creation process will involve a new user interface.
Fortunately our task at LearnDash is not all that challenging. We have also already charted our way forward in the “Gutenberg era”, testing out certain aspects to make sure that when Gutenberg arrives those of you using LearnDash won’t notice any difference.
Change Stinks, but is often Necessary
Let’s not forget that while WordPress is free and open-source, it still has very real competition with other blogging platforms and website builders out there.
Experiencing big changes is scary. In fact, no one really likes it – especially if they are comfortable. And let’s face it, WordPress users and businesses are comfortable with the way things are today. People generally prefer small, incremental modifications compared to sweeping overhauls.
This entire conversation reminds me of when I would administer live training to large organizations on new software systems and policies. In a class of 30 people, about 29 of them would be resistant to the training in the beginning. We would spend the entire morning session addressing concerns and protests about “what” is changing and why it wasn’t necessary.
But you know what? By the end of the week most people would be on-board with the new way forward. Not everyone of course, but most.
Predictable Pattern will Occur
The same is going to be true with WordPress when Gutenberg is out, except instead of a class of 30 we have ~27% of all websites on the internet. The voices of protest will be louder (given the numbers alone), but the process is the same: initial resistance followed by increasing rates of acceptance & adoption.
My take is that Gutenberg actually represents opportunity.
- Opportunity for business owners
- Opportunity for eventual entrepreneurs
- Opportunity for WordPress to attract more users (and gain more market share, which benefits everyone)
So while the initial adoption period will be slow, eventually people will come around.
And yes, there will be some pockets of people who will never be convinced that Gutenberg is a good. They will lament it always. They may even switch to a different platform, and that’s perfectly fine because it may be that WordPress just isn’t right for them and their use-case.
I look forward to Gutenberg because I think that it is a necessary shift in WordPress. We’ll see more good than bad. Remember, Gutenberg is the long-term strategy. We all want to see “quick wins”. Maybe some will be scored but we will be better served to have patience. Over a few years time we’ll likely look back and consider this a pivotal, positive moment in the WordPress story.