This post is part of the series Keeping up with Gutenberg
Other posts in this series:
The probable scenario for the Gutenberg roll-out
No one in an official capacity published these roll-out phases in any structured form. I gathered these by listening closely to what Matt Mullenweg stated at the WordCamp US, in his talk and in his Q & A. Some of it was also taken from interviews Matt Mullenweg gave on the 200th episode of Kitchen Sink podcast with Adam Silver and during 300th episode of WordPress Weekly. I also read a few of the bird’s eye view discussions on the Github repository and during Slack meetings of the #core-editor channel.
Phase 1: Gutenberg as a feature plugin
Right now Gutenberg is available as a Feature Plugin. It will receive about 10 more iterations to be ‘feature complete’. Matt estimates this will be sometime in April 2018. At the time of this blog post, Gutenberg 2.0 was just released.
Phase 2: Beyond development of Gutenberg editor
“Before it’s ready for a bigger audience” Matt lists a few things that need to happen.
- “Really good documentation, which is not there yet, but it grows”
- Introduction to Gutenberg on WordPress.org with a thorough set of additional resources
- Gutenberg Handbook
- Continued conversations around it. There have been 77 Meetups and 20 WordCamp sessions so far. Matt Mullenweg visits Meetup around the country for informal Q & A sessions. Tammie and Matías give talks at WordCamps, as do other developers and designers on the team.
- “We need plugin developers to start reimagining what their plugins would look like in a Gutenberg world,” he said. We keep a list of plugins we test, and I also keep an eye out for new plugins that extend Gutenberg for advanced users.
Phase 3: Writers and bloggers will be able to test Gutenberg on WordPress.com & WordPress.org
- As a test, Gutenberg will be enabled for some WordPress.com users. The team will learn a ton from this rollout to thousands of bloggers.
- A future point version of WordPress 4.9 will contain a Dashboard prompt for users on self-hosted sites to test Gutenberg by installing the plugin. There will be additional information about the new editor available to them.
There are still a lot of things missing, and it’s hard to tell how long it will take to implement the additional pieces. This will be by far the most interesting period of the rollout. That’s where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Personally, I am looking forward to the feedback and discussions around this phase.
We are right now in what I called Phase 3. There might be other aspects already in the works. As I mentioned before, this list is a result of my personal educated guesses.
Phase 4: Merge proposal to make Gutenberg part of Core.
For a feature plugin to become part of WordPress Core, the lead developers will create a merge proposal, outlining how to tackle all the tasks and changes necessary to make Gutenberg the default editor for WordPress. The heavy lifting from a code standpoint is probably already done. Part of this phase is also to make sure the new version doesn’t break sites. That’s as much as important than the programming of Gutenberg.
Fallback solutions for compatibility
This phase will include fallback solutions to make sure that this update doesn’t break sites.
- Gutenberg-ready Flag
Themes and plugin developers can declare their plugins Gutenberg-ready or not. If it’s not, the site switches to the old default editor.
- List of Gutenberg-ready Plugins
Daniel Bachhuber and others are working on a way to distinguish between plugins that are Gutenberg-ready (this is a very early version of the list) and those that are not. The goal is to show the readiness flag in the plugins screen for each site.
If there are plugins installed that are not Gutenberg-ready, the classic editor becomes the default editor again.
- Classic Editor Plugin
The Gutenberg team created a plugin called the “Classic Editor” which is available in the plugin directory today. It can be installed long before Gutenberg is released into the world with 5.0. With this plugin, the “edit” buttons fall back to the current editor and all stays the same. Built into the plugin are some anonymized usage data. In future updates, it will also have some information around Gutenberg updates, so a user or developer might reconsider working with Gutenberg further down the line. The plugin will be around for quite a while, too.
Phase 5: Release of Gutenberg in WordPress 5.0 beta
The team might get a better idea about the time frame after Phase 3, when thousands of more people use it to create their blog posts and pages. Once the issues from this phase are collected and resolved, the leads are in a much better position to estimate how long it takes to get ready for a beta release.
In general terms, this release will not be different from other releases. There will be multiple beta releases (normally 4 or more) and release candidate versions (3 or more) before the final release is deployed.
Although, many Themes and Plugin developers started working on Blocks for Gutenberg, teams of larger projects won’t be able to start compatibility testing until the first beta version is released. Fast iteration and patches will follow for issues discovered. There might be a few surprises for the Gutenberg development team.
The period between beta releases as well as between release candidates (RC) will probably be much longer than usual to give time for testers to find as many incompatibilities as possible, so they can be handled during beta and RC testing.
“WordPress 5.0 won’t be released until it’s ready.” — Matt Mullenweg
Top Gutenberg Resources
Gutenberg is the new WordPress Content Creation experience built by WordPress Core team.
The editor will endeavour to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery. (Introduction to Gutenberg, Handbook)
If this is the first time you learn about Gutenberg, I recommend reading these two articles to learn more about the vision and get answers to “Why Gutenberg?”
- We Called It Gutenberg for a Reason, by co-founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg (August 2017)
- Gutenberg, or the Ship of Theseus, by co-lead Matías Ventura (October 2017)
If you are curious how it works, you can take it for a spin here.
Gutenberg’s first release as Feature-Plugin happened in June 2017. In the pure open-source manner, the team releases new versions early, often, and learns from the feedback. This week the core-editor team released version 2.0 with about 160+ issues resolved.
After Matías Ventura demonstrated Gutenberg during the Matt Mullenweg’s annual State of the Word last month, the buzz around Gutenberg increased considerably.
The discussions are fragmented and all over the Internet–in blog posts, on Twitter, on Github, in Reviews, on Facebook (AWP), at WordCamps, in Meetups, on the Make blog, in the Slack channel.
There is a running list of new posts and discussions available on Gutenberg Times, where I curate community voices around the new editor. It does not aim for completeness, though. If you find pieces missing, feel free to send me an email.
Last month, I posted on how we plan to roll out Gutenberg to WP4Good members sites.
Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash
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