WordPress 5 is here – should you upgrade?

We look at the biggest changes to the latest version of WordPress, and see how this core update affects users.

Wordpress 5.0

WordPress 5 is the latest core update for WordPress, and was released this month on 6 December, 2018. With such a major release (surprisingly, the first in over a year), you’d be expecting lots of new features.

While there are changes and tweaks to be seen all over, by far the biggest change is the addition of the new block-based editor (nicknamed the Gutenberg Editor). This is going to change the way that we use (and create content on) WordPress.

But let’s run through all of the significant changes, and see how this affects you.

What’s New in WordPress 5.0?

Building Blocks

As we already mentioned, the biggest addition is the Gutenberg Editor.

This overhauls the way that you create, add and edit your content, while also giving you more options as to how that content is displayed. Each piece of content you see on a page will be contained in its own block, and can be arranged it any way you want to.

From simple text paragraphs, to adding videos and columns of content (with more types and options on the way) – it’s a solid start to using the new editor.

WordPress 5 starting blocks in the Gutenberg Editor

Overall this makes the platform much easier to use, making WordPress more appealing to the novice web designer. By including these creation tools as a standard in WordPress, they’re fighting off the rise of many free website builders such as Wix and Squarespace. In fact, this also competes with WordPress plugins that offer drag-and-drop or page-builder creation tools.

This will also enhance the theme marketplace, with developers having an easier toolset to create themes with.

But, WordPress is keen to let you know you don’t HAVE to use Gutenberg. You can go on working as you did before, all with the help of the official Classic Editor (created by WordPress contributors). With over a million downloads, we think it’s safe to say not everybody is ready to embrace change.

New 2019 Theme

Each year WordPress releases a new default theme for WordPress, and it’s no surprise that the new Twenty Nineteen theme is based around the new Gutenberg Editor.

However, if you’re keen to explore your options, there is already a healthy selection of new Gutenberg-friendly themes available on the WordPress marketplace. Older, popular themes have also started getting updates to declare “Gutenberg-friendly” status.

WordPress REST API

Simply speaking, an API is code that allows two software applications to communicate with each other. In terms of the WordPress REST API, it simply means that it allows your WordPress site to connect with other sites and applications, sending / receiving relevant information.

Improvements to using the REST API was included with API, which allows developers to create more applications with the WordPress framework.

Should you upgrade to WordPress 5.0?

With new WP updates, we always recommend setting up a test version of your site – then updating everything (WP and all the  plugins) you use. That way you can go through your site and check if anything is broken or not working optimally. If everything checks out, then you can do the upgrade on your live site.

EDIT: WordPress 5.0.1 is now available for download – it’s listed as a security release.

If you’re feeling unsure or have any questions about WordPress 5, don’t hesitate to reach out to Lilo. Give us a call today to discover more about our WordPress Development Services and find out how we can help address your concerns.

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