QuickByte: WordPress 5, Should You Update?
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Woman: Welcome to the QuickByte podcast, your five-minute digital dose of tech news and tips and tricks for digital first marketing. QucikByte is brought to you by Lance Montana, a digital marketing agency based in Brisbane, Australia.
Grace: Hi everyone, my name is Grace. I’m here today with Lucy and Laurence to talk about WordPress 5.0, and its new block editor, Gutenberg. So we’re gonna do a big, deep dive in this topic in a full Keyword on the Street episode, but today we’re just going to give you a really quick overview. So to get started, Laurence, can you give us a brief history of WordPress?
Laurence: I’ll keep it to 60 minutes. So, WordPress is hugely important, it’s like a massive part of what makes the world spin on its axis. You may have heard of gravity? Well, I describe gravity as WordPress – that’s how important this is. So in all seriousness, WordPress runs around 1/3 of the world’s websites, at an estimate. I don’t know if you can wrap your head around how many websites that actually is, or how much impact that’s having on our human culture, as a whole, but it’s big. It’s a lot. So, Lance Montana, the agency, where we all work at, is a huge fan of WordPress. We use it as a default starting point from which to build websites out that need a content management system that’s flexible and easy to use. And you know, often there are reasons not to use WordPress, like you’ve got a really heavy customisation required for a very complex website with a whole lot of integrations to other third-party assets. Or you just want a nice, simple, easy to use Shopify ecommerce system, I get that. But WordPress is pretty keen, when it comes to content management, and that’s, you know, people all are about these days, is easily updating and keeping a fresh website out there that, you know, communicates the message for their company. So, WordPress 5.0 is a really, really, really big deal. It’s one of the biggest kind of seismic changes in the evolution of WordPress, throughout its history since 2003, when it came into being. I actually thought it was older than that, I was surprised that it’s only 2003. I guess either I’m getting old, or you know, my frame of reference is contracting. But, yeah, it just really wasn’t that long ago. But I guess in the history of the internet, that is a long time.
So, in November last year, 2018, WordPress 5.0 beta release went out, and caused a storm in the WordPress culture and community around the world. Because for the first time ever, it seems like a bit of a capitulation to the bulk-style editors that are rampant within WordPress as plugins. And I don’t know, my initial reaction was why, why do you have to feel like you need to, you know, go to this kind of drag-and-drop style Wix editor…I now use Wix like a dirty word, in case you didn’t, you know, understand the sarcasm dripping from my lips there. However, having had a little bit more time to play with it, I can see that, yeah, this is the future, it’s gonna make content editing easier, you know, for WordPress users, generally. However, this is a public service announcement. You know, as Grace mentioned, we’re gonna go deep into this with our Technical Director Pav in a full-length Keyword on the Street episode, but for the purposes of this QuickByte, we just wanna let our community know that there are some pretty major issues with the implementation of WordPress 5.0 in your website, if you’re running WordPress, and we know that a lot of you are.
So, first of all, you cannot change the width of columns responsively from my bar if your columns are different sizes.
Grace: I can’t believe this one.
Laurence: Yeah. Like, so you can get a developer to go in afterwards, right, and add some kind CSS wrapping-style stuff to make sure that your columns are gonna look okay. But basically, if you’ve got a 2/3, 1/3 column layout, which is potentially the most used layout on the web, it is not coming out of the box with responsiveness. It’s insane, and I can’t really understand how this has happened. So, it’s a big deal, and yeah, as I said in the moment, you can use a workaround, you can use themes, right and they’re gonna come and hopefully look after that for you, unless they’ve got bugs in them. But this is one of the many reasons that we’re not implementing WordPress 5.0 without, you know, putting in a stopgap to not use the box editor at this stage.
Grace: Did you say that WordPress were planning on fixing this in the next update? Or we’re just hoping that that’s gonna be the case?
Laurence: Yeah, it was more of a hope but based on the fact that there is a huge amount of requests and…yeah, so they’re very much aware of the issue, so…
Grace: Yeah, I have faith in WordPress that they’re listening.
Laurence: Yeah, I’m sure they are. And, you know, since the beta release in November, specifically late October, I should say, for the first beta release, you know, there’s been one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten updates to get through to WordPress 5.1 in January 11, 2019. So, you know, the team at WordPress are continuing to work hard on getting this up to scratch, and we know based on the forums that this is a hot flashpoint that is going to be actioned by WordPress at sometime quite soon.
Grace: Yeah, awesome.
Laurence: Yeah, and apart from the massive columns issue, there is also the potential for things to go horribly gone wrong if you’ve got content that you’ve loaded up into your WordPress site in WordPress 4.0 or earlier through the WYSIWYG editor, and it hasn’t converted properly over to the new blocks editor format, you may not be able to edit it at all. You’re stuck with kind of out of date or potentially incorrect information or content on your website. Again, so this is a massive red flag. It’s not ideal at all. And so, our recommendation at this stage is to either hold off updating to WordPress 5.0. If you don’t want to seek any technical assistant, wait for, potentially, 5.2, and for, you know, these kind of issues to be resolved. Or, seek the assistance of a developer, somebody who’s experienced in WordPress development, who can basically install the plugin one line piece of code which will ensure that you can update to WordPress 5.0, but circumvent having to use the Gutenberg blocks editor.
Grace: It’s very good advice. I like it. So, that pretty much wraps up our episode for today, if there are any things that you would like us to talk about in our next episode, hit us up via @lancemontana on any of the major social platforms. Thanks, Laurence, thanks, Lucy.
Lucy: Thank you.
Woman: Thank you for listening to the QuickByte podcast. This has been a production of Lance Montana, a digital marketing agency based in Brisbane, Australia. For more great resources, go to lancemontana.com.au.
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Topics covered in this podcast:
- The pros and cons of WordPress 5
- Whether or not you should update to WordPress 5 or wait for future versions