Everything You Need to Know About WordPress 5.0

On December 6, 2018, WordPress 5.0 was released.  If you have you site set to auto update to the latest version of WordPress, you may have been pleasantly (or unpleasantly) surprised to see a brand new editor!  Even if you updated manually, you may not have realized what a big update WordPress 5.0 was.  Besides the new editor, there are also a number of other enhancements in WordPress 5.0.

Note: On December 13, 2018 WordPress 5.0.1 was released as a Security Release.  This means you should NO LONGER be running WordPress 5.0.0.  Please check your WordPress version and update immediately if you are running WordPress 5.0.0!

everything you need to know about WordPress block editor Gutenberg

Let’s take a closer look at what is in this WordPress release.

The New WordPress Block Editor (The Gutenberg Editor)

If you have not yet seen the new editor, here is a screen shot:

new WordPress block editor

You may have heard this editor referred to as Gutenberg, or the new Block Editor.  Either way, we are talking about the same WordPress 5.0 editor when we use either term.  

Here are a couple of observations after using the new editor to write this blog post:

  • Formatting takes a little bit of getting used to.  This editor (called the block editor, how appropriate) is based on the notion of text blocks.  For example, this bulleted list is in its own text box versus the one with the sentence before it.
  • Because of this, naturally writing in WordPress can be a little interesting.
  • Each block can be formatted independently, which is nice, since you will not encounter trying to format a heading and accidentally formatting a whole paragraph with it.
  • I do not think it is the best for long form text base writing right in WordPress, since the cloumns are very narrow.  You are better off formatting text after the fact.
  • You will need to paste text section by section, pasting large amounts of text puts them all in the same block and limits formatting options.  You can break it into blocks by hitting enter to break up the text.
  • You can make blocks reusable, which can save time if you use a similar format on a regular basis.
  • Most things you would have previously done in the center of your WordPress classic editor have moved to the right hand pane.
  • I did find myself getting a little frustrated when I could not quickly do something I normally do, so I switched back to the classic editor for those things.  This will take some practice and getting used to.
  • Take a look at the HTML view in the classic editor, this is not as easy to edit as it used to be with the extra code.

All in all, this new block format definitely makes formatting text in WordPress much easier.  It will take some getting used to, and it may create more work for some depending on how they are used to writing in WordPress

What If I Don’t Like the WordPress Block Editor?

No problem!  According to WordPress directly, the Classic WordPress editor we all know and love will be supported through 2021.  Something important to keep in mind is that the classic WordPress editor requires the use of a new plugin called Classic Editor, which you can find as a featured plugin in your Add Plugins pane currently:

wordpress classic editor plugin supported 2021

Enhanced Statistics and Outline in WordPress 5.0

There is a new view in WordPress 5.0+ that is very helpful, that tells you a wealth of information about your blog post.

WordPress WordCount in 5.0+

The first question I had when I started using the new WordPress block editor was “Hey, where’s my word count?”.  Simply click the circled i icon in the top left of your editor window to see your word count in WordPress, and more!

wordpress 5.0 block editor word count

In addition to the word count I was looking for in WordPress, I found some more interesting statistics about the blog I was working on, as well as a nice document outline based on the headings I had used.  This is a nice new feature, although it is a bit of a drag that it requires an extra click.

More WordPress 5.0 Features

While the introduction of the new block editor was arguably the biggest feature of WordPress 5.0, this update also brought some additional functionality to WordPress.

These gems are buried in the For Developers section of the WordPress 5.0 Highlights.  For example, enhancements to the Rest API in WordPress 5.0.

If you are not a developer, the big thing for you is of course the WordPress block editor, and learning how to use these blocks in the best way possible for you.  While it does take some getting used to, I feel it will remove much of the manual formatting that was necessary when posting a blog on WordPress before.

You can find some great information such as videos about the new block editor right from WordPress directly on the WordPress blog.

But Wait, Stuff Is Not Working With WordPress 5.0!

Before you update to a new major WordPress release like 5.0, it is important to make sure that any WordPress plugins you depend on are compatible with the latest version of WordPress.  After you update to a new major WordPress release like WordPress 5.o, make sure to update those plugins for maximum compatibility!

Also, remember, if things just are not right, you can switch back to the classic editor to fix them, or use the classic editor exclusively for the foreseeable future.

What do you like and dislike about WordPress 5.0?  Be sure to let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

The Latest News on WordPress 5.0

WordPress 5.0 is constantly evolving as new bug fixes come out.  Here are all of the releases to date:

The WordPress 5.0.3 Maintenance release was released on January 9, 2019.  It contained many bug fixes related to the block editor also known as Gutenberg.  You can find the WordPress 5.0.3 release notes here for more details.

The WordPress 5.0.2 Maintenance release was released on December 19, 2018.  It focused on bug fixes related to the block editor, with a focus on performance of blog posts that have many blocks.  You can find the WordPress 5.0.2 release notes here.

WordPress 5.0.1 was released as a Security release on December 13, 2018.  It fixed lots of nasty security related issues.  This means you should NOT be running WordPress 5.0.0, and should immediately upgrade to WordPress 5.0.1 if not higher.  You can find the detailed release notes here.  This security release impacted more than just WordPress 5.0, there was also a corresponding release for previous WordPress versions.

As you can see, WordPress has been working hard getting the kinks out of the WordPress 5.0 release which heavily feature the new block editor also known as Gutenberg.

WordPress 5.0.1 security release patch updates block editor

What has your experience been with WordPress 5.0?  Be sure to let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

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