Preparing for Gutenberg Part 3: Making the Switch

Welcome to our third and final blog post in the “Preparing for Gutenberg” series. In the last blog, we talked about how Gutenberg would affect your current website and what you might need to do. Now, we’ll outline some actionable steps for making that final transition to Gutenberg as the release date draws closer.

Use the Classic Editor plugin on your live site

If you aren’t keen on moving to Gutenberg immediately, the Classic Editor is a good way to update to WordPress 5.0 while still using the editor you’re accustomed to. The Classic Editor plugin is being developed by WordPress contributors, but it’s uncertain how long support for it will last. It’s more just to help developers buy some time so they can figure out solutions for different content types. So, if you need more time to figure out the logistics of updating your website, this is a good option.

Classic Editor Plugin

Create a staging/dev environment (if necessary)

For some websites, your hosting provider may already have you set up with a development environment. For instance, we typically use Siteground and Pantheon for our WordPress sites, and they come with development environments out of the box. If you don’t have one, set one up so that you can test out Gutenberg and make sure no content or functionalities break. Having a dev environment is also just generally good practice to prevent things from breaking on your site and testing new elements.

Install Gutenberg on your dev environment

So while you have the Classic Editor installed on your live site, go ahead and install Gutenberg on your dev site. Now, go through both the backend and frontend to see if things are working properly. The main thing you’ll notice is styling, as blocks look much different than the current editor. Simple content should appear fine, but anything with meta boxes will probably have to be looked at. It’s important to be thorough in this stage because this is essentially your last chance to review changes before they go live.

Fix any issues, then go live with Gutenberg

After you sift through your website and convert content to blocks, go through the frontend one last time and make absolutely certain that everything is working. Once you’ve done the final run-through, go ahead and push your dev environment to the live site. Viola! Now you’re officially on Gutenberg!

Gutenberg Ramp

Another viable alternative is a plugin that Automattic released called “Gutenberg Ramp.” This plugin essentially lets you select what post types will and will not show the Gutenberg editor. With control over what posts use Gutenberg, you are afforded the opportunity to learn and adopt Gutenberg at your own pace. If you don’t want to use the Classic Editor or go to full-blown Gutenberg quite yet, Gutenberg Ramp is a nice alternative.

Gutenberg Ramp Plugin

Wrapping up

The final release date for Gutenberg has been delayed several times, and although it was tentatively scheduled for November 27, it has been pushed back again. Many WordPress enthusiasts are advocating for the release to be postponed until January. With the release date still up in the air, the best course of action is to prepare with any assistive plugins you want, create your staging environment, and wait!

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