As any of you who frequent this site have probably heard by now, WordPress has major changes in store for their content editor. This is well overdue – WordPress has been using this content editor for more than a dozen years and in that time themes and plugins have begun adding and changing the editor to fit their needs. The new editor, code name ‘Gutenberg’, will be an attempt to simplify the editor, and also build in some of the functionality that’s been missing.
What does this mean for you? Change! Everybody’s favorite thing — YAY CHANGE!
Ok, probably not. The good news is we’re planning for change, we have training available, and – if you’re a client of Design & Web Services, or if you use of Hosted WordPress or Blogs service – we’re working on transitioning your sites. [Not sure if you’re our client or need some help anyway? Please email email@example.com and we’ll do our best!] How much change you see and when that change happens for you is variable – so we want you to help us make the best decisions for your transition.
Here are some of the variables…
- WordPress developers are still working on the Gutenberg editor, so we’re not sure when the final product will be done. We think WordPress will release 5.0 around May, but it will probably continue to change for some time after release.
- Campus is very diverse, with sites using an array of themes and plugins. The impact of Gutenberg on your site will be unique.
- Each of you has your own projects and timelines and the Gutenberg transition has to fit into those. We want to do the best we can to plan these updates in consideration with your other needs.
Important things for you to know…
- DON’T PANIC. 🙂
- You can try out Gutenberg right now. We have a “quick” interface for simply clicking around to edit a single page with Gutenberg. We also have a full Gutenberg testing environment where you can create a whole new site using Gutenberg.
- We have training available right now. You can sign up for our ‘content creator’ and ‘site administrator’ classes via REPORTER. If you’re not sure which class to take please ask us! You can also reach out to us if you need custom training for a large group. More information on the classes, plus the slides we use, are available at go.ncsu.edu/gutenberg.
- It is possible to have both Gutenberg, and the classic editor, available at the same time! Right now Gutenberg is available as a plugin which, when enabled, will allow you to edit your posts and pages with either editor. Documentation on this, and other Gutenberg tasks, are available at go.ncsu.edu/gutenberg.
- You help us decide when the time is right for you to start using Gutenberg. If you’ve tried it out, and had some training, and you think it’s appropriate to turn Gutenberg on for your site(s), let us know! As mentioned above, the classic editor will still be available, and we’ll always be around to help with questions or issues.
- Gutenberg looks really different on the backend, but it should not change anything about the way your pages look on the frontend. Yes, you have a different experience for interacting with content and layout. But the end result should be the same code, and thus the same content and layout.
- There will be exceptions. That’s why we’re here. If things go wrong, let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll jump in and get things fixed.
Your site transition…
We have a lot on our plates trying to transition each of you in addition to our other tasks: updating our themes, supporting general campus WordPress users, collaborating with our other campus colleagues on new tools, and providing campus-wide training. We know we’re not going to be able to tackle these changes for everyone all at once.
With that in mind we’re working on breaking our campus clients into three groups: “vanilla” WordPress sites, “intermediate” sites, and “uh oh” sites.
“Vanilla” sites are sites with a limited number of customizations, and mostly hosted in a campus theme of some kind. Most of you in Hosted WordPress have “vanilla” sites. We hope to be in touch soon, and transition most of our “vanilla” sites by the end of June at the latest.
“Intermediate” sites are those that use NC State Shortcodes and/or have a large number of plugins or customized campus-based themes. These should also be helped relatively quickly, though their full transition to Gutenberg will likely not be complete until sometime in the new fiscal year (after July 1, 2018).
“Uh Oh” Sites
It’s not as bad as all that, but the “uh oh” sites are more complex. These are our clients who have highly customized, non-campus themes, and custom content. The process for transitioning each of these sites will be complex and require a good deal of planning and coordination. With that in mind I hesitate to put a timeline on these, other than to say we’ll be talking with each of you in turn. At a minimum we’ll be in touch by July as we normally would, to plan for your needs for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and figure out where the transition best works for you.
Yes, big, scary change is ahead. But we’re confident that you’ll like WordPress better on the other side.
Your takeaways should be to…
- Go try to play with Gutenberg.
- If you think you need a class sign-up via REPORTER, or reach out to us to request custom training.
- Think about when the best time would be for you to make the Gutenberg editor available alongside the classic editor. We’ll work through that process with you.
- If you have a complex site, or big changes, be thinking about the other things you need for your site in the next 6-12 months so we can keep those in mind as we help with your transition to Gutenberg.
- If you’re looking for Gutenberg resources start with go.ncsu.edu/gutenberg.
And talk to us! Let us know how it’s going! Send us email, visit us during office hours, use our Contact Us form, or catch us in one of our training sessions. We’re working to make this as painless as possible so your feedback helps. Thanks!