Gutenberg and the buzzword around it…

WordPress’s growth is impressive (28.5% and counting) but it’s not limitless — at least not in its current state. We have challenges (user frustrations with publishing and customizing, competition from site builders like Squarespace and Wix) and opportunities (the 157 million small businesses without sites, aka the next big market we should be serving). It’s time for WordPress’ next big thing, the thing that helps us deal with our challenges and opportunities. The thing that changes the world. Automattic has been moving towards offering better support for small businesses with its acquisition of WooCommerce in 2015 and steady commercialization of Jetpack, with plans targeted at business owners. The company is confident to capture even more of the self-hosted small business market by allowing customers to tap into WordPress’ third-party ecosystem. So they need to beat the competition and look for a solution/feature that comforts the users in publishing and design the content.

And that’s Gutenberg. There are a lot of confusion and debated going around it and people gets more disorganized each passing day about it…

However, many vocal opponents to Gutenberg fear with the changes that will come along with it and are concerned that the project is being developed essentially to serve Automattic’s customers and corporate interests. Those who build websites for clients have expressed concerns about how Gutenberg will affect their businesses or whether the brand new interface will drive users away from WordPress. Developers and product owners are eagerly awaiting more answers on what it means for existing plugins and themes in the ecosystem, as the project has yet to iron out some of the more technical details regarding extensibility and support for metaboxes. This naturally raises concerns about Gutenberg’s timeline.

As per Matt Mullenweg, Gutenberg will ship with WordPress 5.0 if not 4.9, but the release will come out when Gutenberg is ready, not vice versa,” Mullenweg said. “We still have target dates to help us think about scope and plan for all the supporting documentation, translation, and marketing efforts, but we’re not going to release anything until Gutenberg become what its team want it to be”

“My life’s work is improving WordPress,” Mullenweg said. “I firmly believe that Gutenberg is the direction that will provide the most benefit to the maximum number of people while being totally in line with core WordPress’s philosophies and commitment to user freedom. So he requested to keep giving them the feedback, and offer to push through the fear together.

I am a firm believer that It’s worth a little discomfort to change the world.”

However, it not only moves the WordPress ecosystem forward, but also moves the whole web forward. Which is scary! Because change always is, and this is a big one. But a scary thing is usually a thing that leads to growth, if you can push through it. Ten years ago, agencies and developers worried that software like WordPress would ruin their business because clients wouldn’t need help updating their sites any more, and would maybe even just start building their own sites. But their worst fears didn’t come true — instead, it created new opportunities for everyone.

Ok we agree…

Gutenberg is an exciting, ambitious project, but one that perhaps not entirely sure is necessary. If WordPress core is going to fundamentally change the way I create content without giving me a choice, I want as much information and user research data as possible to convince me that it’s the better option. It may seem odd that these questions and concerns are being raised six months into the project but at the same time, development has moved so fast, it feels like the opportunity to have them addressed at the beginning was missed.

Revamping the editor experience is a massive undertaking and, six months in, it’s not better than the editor I use today. It will need to address a lot of issues if it’s going to beat the current WordPress editor itself, leave apart the other editor competition. Additionally, Gutenberg needs as many testers as possible if it’s going to be the best editor in its class. For instructions on how and what to test, read the Gutenberg testing guide on the Make WordPress Testing site.

Gutenberg has been in development for six months and is ready for testing, but its developers do not recommend using it on production sites. If you install the beta version and play around it, At first glance, it may appear that WordPress is trying to copy its more recent competitors (Medium, Squarespace, Wix, and others) to keep pace, but the 14-year-old software has offered many of these content capabilities for years.

And I strongly believe that the developers at Gutenberg need to think more in-depth and techno-creative in order to make it compete with other editors and make more sense if they are aiming at it as a website design tool if not general publishing at all.

We can’t really conclude this discuss as of now as we need to see more of Gutenberg and its progress as a tool for publishing and to study the ultimate motive of Automattic. We will leave this discussion open and will publish more on it. I would like to hear from you on this. Please feel free to leave your comment.

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