WordPress 5.2 to Make Gutenberg Block Editor Use Mandatory for All WordPress Sites

Published on April 1st, 2019

Last Updated on April 5th, 2019

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We got you! Don’t take this article too serious as this was an April Fools’ joke ;-) 

Since its initial release in WordPress 5.0, WordPress fans have used the new Gutenberg block editor to publish billions of posts on millions of websites.

Third-party developers have also latched onto that success to create hundreds of plugins and themes that further build on the power of Gutenberg.

Thanks to that, you can now build complicated designs that rival those you’d create with a page builder – all using the default block editor.

Because of Gutenberg’s tremendous success, as well as the stellar reviews that the Gutenberg plugin has received at the WordPress.org plugin directory, the WordPress core team is ready to move into the next phase of the Gutenberg project:

Starting with the next major release – WordPress 5.2 – the Gutenberg block editor will officially become mandatory for all sites running WordPress 5.2 or greater.

That is, you’ll no longer be able to use the Classic TinyMCE editor – all of your sites will automatically use Gutenberg and you’ll be able to benefit from the new blocks without the need to make any tough choices.

To coincide with this switch, the core team will remove existing plugins that disable Gutenberg from the WordPress.org plugin directory. You’ll also be blocked from installing such plugins, much like WordPress 5.1 stopped you from installing plugins that weren’t compatible with your version of PHP.

We reached out to the core team to learn more about the reasoning behind this change and were told that it’s all about staying a step ahead of competitors like Squarespace and Wix:

“With Squarespace and Wix, every user gets a single editing experience. This consistency simplifies the website building experience and removes the chance for compatibility issues. As we move forward, we’ll continue to implement a more Squarespace-like experience as we believe that’s what most WordPress users are looking for from a CMS”

If you look at the data on content management system usage, it’s easy to see why the core team is targeting these changes.

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One year ago, WordPress was used by 29.9% of the websites on the Internet. Today, that number stands at just 33.5%, which is an increase of only ~11%.

Squarespace, on the other hand, moved from 0.9% of the web to 1.5%, which is a massive increase of almost 70%.

If those trends continue, we might well see Squarespace overtake WordPress in 9-10 years.

The core team and third-party developers aren’t just resting on their laurels with the Gutenberg block editor, either.

Beyond a bevy of new plugins to help you create better Gutenberg layouts or add new blocks, you’ll also find high-tech tools like GutenBrain, which lets you control blocks in Gutenberg using only your brain power (the control happens via a high-tech headset).

With innovations like these, it’s easy to see why the core team is making the decision to go “all Gutenberg” on WordPress.

WordPress 5.2 is currently scheduled for general release on April 30. So, check your calendar and get ready for the switch.

Are you excited for the new change? While we definitely think it’s a little aggressive, we’re excited to see WordPress moving in a more Squarespace-like direction and creating a unified interface for all WordPress sites.

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.