Q: What the hell does Steve Gutenberg have to do with WordPress?
A: Absolutely nothing.
“Gutenberg” in this case has to do with an initiative the WordPress Powers-That-Be have been busying themselves with for some time. And that initiative is named after Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg who”…introduced printing to Europe with the printing press” (wikipedia) in the 1400s. These are two very different people. Johannes was unavailable for comment regarding the cinematic masterpiece “Short Circuit” at the time of publishing, having passed away some 550 years ago.
Jeff Goldblum, Starring in “The Fly” (1986)
Nonetheless, while “Short Circuit” and the Printing Press are olde news, the impending Gutenberg Page Editor roll out into WordPress Core is not. In fact, it is very newsworthy.
Specifically, the Gutenberg project has to do with WordPress’s native content editor. This is a full replacement for TinyMCE (or what is affectionately known as a WYSIWYG). TinyMCE has been the default page editor since the inception of WordPress (near as I can recall, anyway).
You might be asking yourself why you should care. Or, you may be thinking to yourself this is the least useful blog post of all time. In the latter case, it’s not… and anyway you didn’t have to pay to read it, so bugger off.
Back to the issue at hand.
TinyMCE, while inadequate for power users, was elegantly simple. In the spirit of WordPress, it was the minimally-viable WYSIWIG (What You See Is What You *mostly* Get) page editor. More robust page editing and layout needs were met by the broader “WordPress Community” in the form of drag-and-drop editors such as Visual Composer (now WPBakery page editor) and Avada’s Fusion Builder. Beaver Builder and Enfold’s Divi Builder would be others of note.
Gutenberg editor in its nascency (birth state) is rudimentary as far as drag and drop editors go. It won’t stay that way.
Once again, you ask “who cares?” The reason you should perhaps care is that unlike a plugin which represents optional functionality, Gutenberg is being baked directly into the WordPress Core. And this is important as it may very well make your current WordPress site function in… erm… interesting and unexpected ways.
Others can extol or vilify the Gutenberg initiative. What we know is that for non-technical folks, that sort of inside baseball is nearly incomprehensible.
Our mission with this post is just to provide a heads-up for the 2 or 3 people who occasionally lurk on our site.
The general guidance we would provide is as follows:
Check with your host provider and/or webmaster and ask them the likely impact this will have on your site, and what plans they have in place to mitigate any bad behavior your site may exhibit after Gutenberg is rolled out.