With the release of WordPress 5.0 just around the corner, a lot of people have been asking me what does that mean for those of us that use page-builders like Divi and Beaver Builder.
The short answer is that it is too soon to tell but I have been reading up, asking around, and even pestering some people to get their thoughts on the future, and so I hope this helps shed some light.
What is Gutenberg?
WordPress is changing the way we create content on our WordPress websites with the integration of Gutenberg into WordPress core. Gutenberg is named after Johannes Gutenberg who is the inventor of the printing press.
Just as the printing press revolutionized publishing, WordPress is hoping Gutenberg will do the same thing in this age of the internet. Without getting too technical, the way we will build pages and posts in WordPress 5.0, will be very similar to using a page builder like Divi (without all the bells and whistles yet).
There are several articles out there that explain Gutenberg in more detail so I won’t bother going into detail here. Here are some excellent links if you want to learn more about Gutenberg which is currently available as a plugin in the WP Repository.
WordPress Gutenberg by Jim Zarkadas
3 things you need to know as presented at WordCamp US 2017 by Morten Rand-Hendriksen
If I were talking about Gutenberg & WordPress by Chris Lema
Our first look at Gutenberg by Divi Chat
What Does This Mean for the WordPress Theme & Plugin Developers in General?
Many theme and plugin developers are working around the clock to determine the road map adjustments they will have to make.
- Make minimal changes to ensure everything works which is the most cost affordable roadmap for many.
- Fully embrace Gutenberg and modify the product to work seamlessly within the new “block” structure which is the most costly and time-consuming route to go.
- Fork WordPress and make a new market and ecosystem based on a custom CMS platform that works with your existing products.
- Retire existing plugins and themes and change the business roadmap altogether.
This is truly a tough decision for many as not everyone has the budget and staff to change their entire product line overnight. So there will be some big decisions to be made in the WordPress ecosphere. Here is what Tony Perez, Co-founder of Sucuri, had to say about it on his blog
“This does not mean that there won’t be a plugin ecosystem in 5 years, but rather that it’ll be dramatically different than today. Tools that prove invaluable in moving the platform forward will prove market need, and this need will be productized at some level. The impacts here will move beyond just the plugin domain, there are affects to be felt within the theme space as well. One could argue that when the site creation process is introduced how themes are leveraged will fundamentally change. When you simplify the creation process, do you really still need a theme at all? If so, what does that theme really look like?” – Tony Perez, GoDaddy SBU Lead & Co-Founder of Sucuri (read more)
I am excited to see that many products and theme developers are fully embracing the change even though we have yet to fully see what that will look like. Take for example the team at Modern Tribe, makers of The Events Calendar.
“We’ve chosen the second path. It’s the more expensive route, and requires us to shift our focus away from other things we’re excited to build. But for years, we at Modern Tribe (makers of The Events Calendar) have been obsessed with the evolution of content creation, and how we can improve the experience of creating events. Just making things “not-break” is an inadequate response to such a unique opportunity to change the content-creation experience in WordPress on a foundational level.” – George, Modern Tribe. (read more)
Many major product developers like WooCommerce are already creating blocks for WordPress 5.0, and it is exciting to see the possibilities.
“Our design team has explored and experimented with adding product Blocks (recent products, featured products, etc.) to posts and pages. But as you’re well aware, publishing products should be a very different experience to authoring a blog post.” – James, WooCommerce (read more)
What About Page Builders Like Divi and Beaver Builder?
I believe companies like Elegant Themes and FastLine Media LLC (the makers of Beaver Builder) have invested way too much to let their customer base down.
Robby McCollough is a partner at FastLine Media, makers of Beaver Builder. partner He recently gave a presentation at our local WordPress Monterey Meetup, and the topic was “How Blocks, Views, and Gutenberg might change the future of the web.” And of course, we would not let him leave without asking him some serious questions. 😉
Robby shared that they are playing around with a few blocks and some other ideas, but it is still too early to determine what exactly is going to be on the roadmap for the future. Either way, they feel there will always be a need for advanced customization which is where they can come in.
“Gutenberg is the self-proclaimed editor of the future, but Matt also mentioned that they’re designing Gutenberg for new users. I think there’s always going to be another level of customization and features that Page Builders can provide. Hopefully, Gutenberg will successfully increase WordPress’ market share. When those new users are ready to take their designs to the next level, we’ll be there!” – Robby McCollough, FastLine Media, LLC (the makers of Beaver Builder) (read more)
If you are interested in hearing more about the pros, cons and fears coming from the community, just check out the comments at the end of his post.
And of course, this article would not be complete without talking about Divi, by Elegant Themes. The owner and founder of Elegant Themes, Nick Roach, is a smart businessman and a visionary. He has been ahead of the curve in many ways.
So I trust that whatever direction they decide to take with Divi, they will be very successful. I reached out to Nick for a comment and this is what he had to say.
“First of all, Gutenberg will not break Divi. There will be a choice to use the Divi Builder or Gutenberg just like there is a choice right now between the Divi Builder at the current WordPress post editor. We are also exploring creative ways for Divi and Gutenberg to interact, but what that interaction looks like will depend on how Gutenberg development progresses (and will continue to evolve as the project matures).” – Nick Roach, Elegant Themes.
Will it be Webageddon?
So does the release of WordPress 5.0 mean we are on the verge of Armageddon? Absolutely not. All of our websites are not going to crash suddenly, and we will not have to be up 72 hours straight fixing broken websites.
What it does mean is that the WordPress community and its ecosphere is going to change in a big way. We are going to see a whole new flood of plugins and plugin developers providing new “blocks” to add to our website.
It may even mean fewer themes as Gutenberg develops over time. But this is going to span years, not months because it will also depend on how quickly the rest of the community adapts.
How will this affect us little guys?
The reality is many WordPress users like the simplicity of the current text editor and may be scared to make the switch or they will leave WordPress altogether for platforms like Wix and Squarespace. So this just might actually open up our market base to a wider audience in need of professional web designers and developers to build their websites.
[bctt tweet=”At the end of the day, we all are building our business on a platform that is evolving and changing and if we are going to continue using it, we must adapt and adapt quickly. #gutenberg #wordpress #divi #pagebuilders” username=”genoq”]
Many are even predicting the WordPress community will break up into smaller CMS adaptations. This too could be a good thing as it could create new markets to break into after what has become a very crowded WordPress plugin and theme market.
I am excited to see what the future of web design and development holds. I love WordPress and I love Divi and will most likely continue using both for quite a long time.
Will page builders be replaced? I think that the introduction of Gutenberg will cut into Divi’s and Beaver Builder’s “Do-it-yourself” market somewhat but the designer / developer market will remain strong because I believe they will always stay one step ahead.
Yet at the same time, we cannot forget that at one time the “Framework” model used by Headway, Genesis, and others, was replaced by page-builders which no one expected.
At the end of the day, we all are building our business on a platform that is evolving and changing and if we are going to continue using it, we must adapt and adapt quickly.
“This evolution is not unique to WordPress, it happened with Google, Twitter and the list goes on. The platform will always do what is in the best interest of the platform. Just because WordPress is democratizing publishing, it doesn’t mean it is a democracy.” – Tony Perez, GoDaddy
Thanks for the article Geno, keeping up with everything at once can be mind boggling at times.
Thanks Barry. I am glad you enjoyed it. It was fun gathering up all the opinions and thoughts from people I respect and look up to in the WP community.
Excellent article Geno. I too am looking forward to what it all brings to the table. I’ve been doing this now for 20+ years and designed my first ever websites with AOL Press/Frontpage, for goodness sake, so I’m not going to be worried about a few “blocks” (over-simplified I know). I’ve seen many changes along the way, which despite all the extra learning has only benefited all of our businesses and I can see exactly the same with Gutenberg.
WordPress and DIVI are all I use now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Exactly Paul. For those of us who have been designing websites since the 90’s, this is nothing new.
Nice job as usual Geno. I’m going to try to stay informed. I signed up to the facebook group also. You know I love the old workout layout you did with Sara Jane on it. I have used that thing time after time and it is still one of my favorites. Question? What do you think about you guys making a Musician/Band Divi layout with the music player in the footer so we could listen to background music if we want to. Also we need ecommerce to sell our music and any other bells and whistles you can come up with. I don’t think anyone who does Divi has done that yet. I think it would be great Geno. So when are you getting started? Lol. Just a thought but I’m still waiting for someone to help us musicians out.
Have a good one
Thanks JC. That sounds like a great idea. I will put that into consideration for sure 🙂
Nice post Geno! These are exciting times in the WorPress space. I have to believe that the release of WP5 will be like the scene in Jurassic Park when Ray Arnold (Samuel Jackson) says “hold on to your butts!” before flipping the power switch on.
LOL. Love it!
Love the information! thank you Geno!
Thanks for the article. There is always a lot of fear and uncertainty out there when big changes like this are coming down the pipe. It was great to hear Nick Roach say that this won’t break Divi. *wipes brow*
Glad you liked it. Thanks for checking it out.
Good article Geno, once again.
I suspect Gutenberg will appeal to some of the Wix type audience, but us developers always like to “keep things complicated” … it’s what keeps our jobs relevant.
I’ve been playing around with adding Material Design Bootstrap 4 to my websites and building with Divi page builder. It adds another level of complexity but at the same time simplicity.
If WP would add MDB4 it’d be a kick-ass platform.
Great points Shaun. That does sound like it would be fun to play around with.
“Nick Roach, is a smart businessman and a visionary. He has been ahead of the curb in many ways.”
You mean, ahead of the curve. 🙂
How will this affect the realworld little guys?
Existing projects with customized editor (own Shortcodes, own Metaboxes, complex ACF etc.) will stay at 4.9.x forever…
My thought is this. Websites have a lifespan of about 3-5 years. Anything older than that probably needs to be updated because of either modern design trends, functionality, theme support, improved practices, Google algorithm changes and more. I do not expect WordPress to change overnight. If you look at the current state of Gutenberg, you can see they have a long way to go to get where they want to be. I think that gives us plenty of time to update and upgrade when it makes the most sense for our clients.
Hey Geno! Thanks again for helping fill out the room at that meetup (for those who weren’t there, he brought the whole fam along) 🙂
We really appreciate the plug. I feel like a broken record, but I think it’s going to be a really interesting year in WordPress.
Thanks Robby. It was a great meeting and I was really inspired by both the FastLine Media backstory and the talk itself. Thanks for coming out. Please feel free to come back out anytime.
Nice article Geno
When I heard Gutenberg, I thought it just minor update, but when I read your article, I realize that Gutenberg is WordPress Major Update. I think Divi will adapt with this new update and maybe Gutenberg will affect to the WordPress early adopter..
Keep blogging to share anything about DIVI ??
First of all, thanks for this clear and very concise article. I read a lot nonsense about the new Gutenberg editor and the industry of page builders. It’s very interesting to have the opinion of the biggest page builder founders (Robby and Nick). I don’t think that the page builder industry will collapse. On the contrary. All these changes are good for the WordPress environnement and for us, users.
PS: i am a big fan about your work on Divi!
I have read enough over the last few weeks to quel most of the fears about the disruption of Gutenberg. There will be a little no doubt, but mostly the jump forward should mostly be positive. Baring the complete incompatibility of Divi with Gutenberg we should get over the hump.
The worst option, listed in your article, was the idea of forking WordPress into different versions. To my mind this would be disasterous as it could mean the two things I use most going their separate ways, Divi f^*rking off in one direction, Toolset f%^rking off in the other.
Thankfully, from what I can see, common sense prevails and all are making a concerted effort to conform to the Gutenberg paradigm.
The one small area that I feel that could have been handled better in terms of optics is the way this was proposed and implemented by Matt and the core team. Making Gutenberg default and only offering a plugin to re-instate the so called Classic editor has been a bad move in marketing terms.
On the one hand you have a lot of people screaming blue murder on the 1 star reviews to five star reviewers being pass remarkable about away with those pesky page builders. Talk about a great way to divide the WordPress community.
Hi Stephen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that the way this was proposed could have been a little more transparent.
Hello, so crash sites created in Divi or not? That’s a lot of bold words about the bright future, but I really did not know anything. I was originally a graphic designer and I was happy to have learned by using wordpress to completely create a website myself. Now, do I have to do it all over again from the beginning? Thank you.
Hi Jirka, WordPress will continue to thrive but as with any software, with every update there will be new things to learn.
Nice article. I believe not many WordPress users are aware of Gutenberg yet and it would be interesting how they would react once it gets into the core.
I think many bloggers who only use text and image with Classic editor to write blog posts will not be happy.
As you mentioned, we should adapt and move with the change to survive.
Great article, Geno. I believe that Nick and his team will do their best to make Divi work just fine with Gutenberg.
Geno, you explained all about gutenberg, divi and beaver builder smoothly. This is relay great article. I know this is old post but as i am a Divi expert so liking it 100%.
Great Job !
Thanks you 🙂
Thank you, this is really a cool and useful article that explained about gutenberg. I’m just studying this program and looking for useful articles. Recently, too, read an article about a selection of plug-ins for Gutenberg
Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for taking a few minutes to comment 🙂
Thanks for the info, Geno. Such a useful article.