What is Gutenberg?

If you have been using or researching WordPress recently it is fairly likely that you will have seen reference to “Project Gutenberg”.  So what is it?

In a nutshell it is a massive upgrade of the native WordPress text editor.  The very centre, or core of WordPress, the place where you write the words that WordPress automagically makes into a web page for you.

Of course nutshells are great for squirrels but don’t tell the whole story.  Gutenberg isn’t “just” a new text editor, it is far more than that and the effects of it’s implementation reflect a huge shift in what WordPress fundamentally “is”.

Who was Gutenberg?

Johannes Gutenberg was a German inventor and printer born in 1468 who was responsible for the invention of the movable-type printing press. Before his invention printing was often done by carving wooden tablets with the page of words, much like using a very complex potato print.  Movable type was just that, the concept of being able to move discreet units (letters and punctuation) around so that you didn’t have to create a whole plate for every page.  You could just finish printing 100 page 1’s and move the letters around to create and print 100 page 2’s.

Variations and developments of Gutenberg’s printing presses were mainstream until relatively recently where the advent of digital printing changed everything for the printing industry.

So why call the new editor Gutenberg?

As with Gutenberg’s invention, this new way of doing things for WordPress really is a fundamental change and its effect will be widespread. A change such as this is not just a scratch on the surfafe of WordPress, it will require a new way of thinking.

Here are a couple of great articles from Chris Lema about Gutenberg and trying to understand more about the purpose of this change,



How will it affect you?

Well, if it’s done properly it won’t really affect you as such except that you may have to learn a new way of doing things.  As ever, if you don’t want to there will be a huge selection of people out there who will be able to help (like us! Orange Pixel).

It does seem that the WordPress team have been doing everything they can to involve as many members of the WordPress community as possible in the whole testing and improving process.

Here’s an article from Theme Fusion, the makers of the Number 1 selling WordPress theme on ThemeForest all about the upcoming implementation of Gutenberg and how it may or may not affect its theme Avada,


And another article explaining a bit more about the “block”, page builder structure the Gutenberg will have,


When is it coming?

This is not quite clear but WordPress themselves still say they are aiming for a release with version 5.0, we are currently at 4.9.4 so we should assume it will be fairly soon.

What do Orange Pixel think?

We welcome all development of the platform that we have spent so many years working in.  We will approach with a fair degree of trepidation and will spend a good amount of time trying to understand the implications of upgrading any customer site long before we actually do it in a live environment.  Our most important consideration is always making sure our customers’ sites are available and working as well as possible.

I have to confess that the geek in me is itching to have a go and to see exactly how it’s all going to work, I think it could well be the beginning of some exciting times for WordPress but until the release I’ll just keep on with the day job – making and supporting websites for all of your wonderfully diverse businesses!