Gutenberg: The Future of WordPress

Now that some time passed since the global rollout of the new Gutenberg block editor, which met with some controversy, it’s a great time to reflect on 2018 and see what’s in store for the future of WordPress.

In this post, you’ll find our evaluation of the recent changes that came to the WordPress ecosystem and will also see some expert opinions, predictions, and comments that are exclusive to this article – so stay tuned!

In case you missed it, WordPress underwent some incredible, monumental changes – mainly the global rollout of WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg, codenamed “Bebo.” The update was surrounded by so much contention that it even made some question whether Gutenberg would mark the end of the era in which WordPress was considered the world’s best content management system.

Table of contents
Fortunately, it wasn’t that tragic.
Here were my first thoughts
And then Gutenberg divided the entire WordPress user base into three categories
WordPress 2019 – Conclusion

Fortunately, it wasn’t that tragic.

Iain from Delicious Brains even concluded that although it is a lovely piece of software, it really doesn’t belong in WordPress (or WordPress as we know it today)On the other hand, I approached the Gutenberg editor with a completely open mind and, as a result, was met with mixed emotions.

Here were my first thoughts

The very first impression I had of the new editor was, “Wow, ok, they’re trying to be more like,” but overall:

  • The editing experience can be intuitive.
  • I love the ability to copy & paste content from anywhere without spending ages reformatting it (most of the time).
  • It is a lot easier for people new to web design to use.

There’s no doubt that the WordPress team worked extremely hard to make Gutenberg what it is today, and given the limited amount of development time they had to work with – they all did a fantastic job.

That being said, for a content management system that powers about 33% of all websites on the internet, maybe rushing the development wasn’t a great idea. I have been loving the new editor experience, but the fact that the Gutenberg YouTube embed block still doesn’t work to this day (on some sites) is just unacceptable.

Many people in the WordPress community weren’t as open to change, and I hate to see the amazing community divided to the point where there is even a fork of WordPress for the people who hate Gutenberg.

Funnily enough, the framework of choice for the folks over at ClassicPress is the Elementor page builder, which means they aren’t even using the classic WYSIWYG editor anyway.

The Elementor page builder (which I have nothing against) can still be used on websites that run WordPress 5.0, so they didn’t even build the fork for themselves 😂…

I wasn’t going to include this in the article because I felt it wasn’t worth bringing more attention to, but it’s pretty funny, and I thought you might also find it as entertaining as I did.

And then Gutenberg divided the entire WordPress user base into three categories


At the time of writing this article, there are three types of WordPress users:

  1. People who love Gutenberg.
  2. People who think Gutenberg is great and works fairly well, but it has some issues.
  3. People who hate Gutenberg (i.e., the folks behind ClassicPress)

I fall somewhere between 1 and 2 – I love Gutenberg, and the new editing experience is a step forward. However, I’m occasionally bothered by how the editor behaves and that (in rare cases) some things still don’t function as expected.

It will take some time for the new editor to mature, so this is understandable. I see how Gutenberg is an important step forward for publishers and web designers, with its goal being to bridge the visual gap between what content looks like when crafted in the admin area and how it is rendered on the front-end, which is why I choose to embrace the change, not to fight it.

On top of what I would call the wrongly overshadowed launch of Gutenberg (because I think it was met with unfair negativity/resistance), WordPress has expanded its leadership to include now the founder of Yoast, Joost, which is to lead marketing and communications and Josepha Haden which is taking on the role of executive director.

As you can tell, I can’t wait to see what the future of WordPress in 2019 will look like 🤓but without further ado, let me handoff to the WordPress community.

Here’s what they had to say about what they expect, want, and predict for WordPress in 2019.

The future is awesome 🙂

I’m really looking forward to phase 2 of Gutenberg rolling out this year, which should basically replace widgets and menus with blocks. Also, WordPress updating its minimum PHP requirements and what that will allow developers to do is very exciting.

joostJoost de Valk | Founder @ Yoast

First, thanks again for taking the time to contribute to this article! 🙌🏼

Secondly, I couldn’t agree more with Joost. For years WordPress has worked hard to ensure that the CMS was backward compatible with all versions of PHP, which discouraged a lot of web hosts from even updating.

This was done for obvious reasons, mainly to attract a larger share of the target audience, but I’m also looking forward to them enforcing a new standard/minimum (even if it’s a little late).

I think the future of WordPress is very bright! There’s so much change happening right now like Gutenberg, the new leadership roles for Joost De Valk and Josepha Haden, and even the WordPress Governance project picking up steam. At Beaver Builder, we’re excited about Gutenberg phase two and the idea that blocks might be able to exist outside of the scope of the editor.

Our lead designer, Brent Jett, has been contributing a lot of ideas to the discussion of what the future of theming might look like. We’re also excited about WordPress core focusing on collaboration. This could open up a lot of opportunities for new business ideas and also will make WordPress a much more powerful tool for publishing.

Robby | Co-Founder of Beaver Builder

Again, thanks for taking the time to share your opinion with us! 🙌🏼

And Brent’s post about the future of theming is worth a read. The prospect of a new customizer will surely make some of you look forward to the future of WordPress (even more than you already are). I don’t know about the rest of you, but in my opinion, a new customizer that looks like the one detailed in Brent’s post (also shown below) is undoubtedly an exciting idea:

New WordPress Customizer
Brent’s visualization/concept of what the WordPress customizer might look like for themes in the future

I think, for one, we’ll see wider adoption from beginners. The whole playbook for 5.0 revolves specifically around new installs and bringing on people who used to think the Classic Editor was too hard.

As that happens, and sort of as Matt laid out in the State of the Word, we’ll see Gutenberg creep into more areas of WordPress and the front end. The tricky part for the Core team will be to integrate what’s sure to be a front-end editor with the easy long-form writing experience WordPress is known for.

Finally, I think we’ll see this mostly affect themes. Unlike some opinions I’ve heard, I feel Gutenberg will mean a renaissance of sorts for themes and theme developers. We’ll finally see true decoupling of themes from plugins and content, thanks to more of the theme’s features living in the database through blocks. The themes that do this the best are the ones that will survive. On an unrelated (to Gutenberg) note, I think we’ll see a greater focus on front-end performance in 2019, so it will be crucial for WordPress developers to keep that in mind. This goes for theme developers, plugin developers, and site builders.

joe casabonaJoe Casabona |

Thank you, Joe! 😎

As suggested by your note at the end about a stronger focus on frontend performance, I also think that WordPress is finally enforcing a minimum PHP version will set a new precedent for the entire web seeing as WordPress powers almost 1/3rd of it 🤯.

Remember that while they are increasing the minimum required PHP version to 5.6, the latest version (at the time of writing) is currently PHP 7.3.1, so there’s still a long way to go.

At risk of sounding boring, I don’t think too much is going to change. We already have Gutenberg, and I actually like it. Being able to cleanly copy and paste from Google Docs is already saving us loads of time. I only expect the experience to get better. The controversy surrounding might make a few of the most passionate people look for alternatives, but for the most part, I think it’s business as usual.

james roseJames Rose | Agency Highway & Content Snare

First, a huge thank you to James Rose for hosting one of the best podcasts in the WordPress industry 🚀and launching what has now become a brilliant Facebook group for WordPress web designers and agencies.

One of the main reasons I love Gutenberg is that it makes it so easy to bring content into the editor from anywhere. You can copy stuff from a Google doc (as mentioned above) without having to spend ages reformatting it, saving so much time! ⏳

This question is largely subjective based on what each of us does with WordPress so hopefully, my perspective will be something different than what someone else may suggest.

After all, WordPress is made up of bloggers, content managers, designers, and developers of all sorts.

That said, one hope that I have for WordPress in 2019 is that other developers will begin to see it as a foundation or a platform for web application development.

Whether or not this is using various APIs that are available (such as the REST API) or simply some of the APIs that come out of the box along with a theme that plays nicely across desktop and mobile devices, I hope to see more done with that.

And I know that there’s demand for it.

I think it would be nice to see the rise of niché theme shops, as well. With many of the major hosting companies making acquisitions, the number of theme shops that are available now has gotten relatively small.

No, the lucrative landscape that themes used to provide isn’t the same but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason why shops dedicated towards certain nichés can’t grow. These include specialized markets in things like music, podcasting, writing, vlogging, and so on.

Next, it’s without hesitation or lack of expectation, really, that Gutenberg will continue to mature. This may breathe more life into WordPress, it may welcome an entirely new group of people, a new set of developers, or new a new set of bloggers. Or it may not. But that software itself will continue to get better.

Finally, I think that WordPress as both an economy and a community is going to face an interesting set of challenges that we may not be able to even forecast just yet.

The introduction of some of the latest changes showed how opinionated and fractured a community can become. I believe this is the nature of a community especially the larger it gets – it begins to fragment a little bit – but that doesn’t mean that the fragmentation has to be all bad.

Everything is going to reside under the WordPress umbrella, sure, but where you belong can very much depend on what type of work you’re doing in the economy.

So rather than thinking of it as WordPress-as-a-whole (which is not to say that this shouldn’t be done sometimes), it’s important to focus on where and what you’re working in within the WordPress economy.

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2019, but I believe that we’re going to need to shift our thinking from how WordPress was, say, five years ago to how it now stands today.

tom mcfarlinTom McFarlin | Pressware

Another huge thank you to Tom for taking the time to send your opinion over! 🤓

And to add to what you’ve said here, I honestly believe that Gutenberg was met with so much backlash shows how resistant people are to change, which is a very dangerous attitude.

Even if Gutenberg caused you a lot of hassle in the short-term because you had to upgrade 100s of WordPress websites that are on a maintenance plan for your agency, there is no doubt that it is and will continue to make the post/page editor a lot easier to use for clients in the years to come.

I believe WordPress will grow in strength as developers discover new ways to utilize Gutenberg and the other exciting changes coming in WordPress over 2019. Matt shared many years ago that there was a focus on WordPress as a framework. The Gutenberg interface is a game changer.

lee jacksonLee Jackson | Agency Trailblazer

As for James Rose, we must thank Lee Jackson for hosting another all-time favorite WordPress podcast of ours (The Agency Trailblazer Podcast) and a brilliant Facebook group that connects people in the WordPress industry…

We’re also super excited about Gutenberg’s future, which has (mostly) been an absolute pleasure to work with. Gutenberg is going to take WordPress in a whole new direction.

I think WordPress is about to make a huge leap forward once Gutenberg evolves and becomes more widely spread. Bringing a visual builder into the core of WP has been a smart move, as well as moving the coding focus more towards JavaScript libraries. While the management of the development process has been less than ideal, I think Gutenberg overall is a step in the right direction.

In the future, I hope to see less bloated themes. As Gutenberg will include blocks for most types of content and we already have some solid plugins to extend Gutenberg with blocks for content like gifs, embeds or call-to-actions, themes can focus more on stability, loading speed and security.

With frameworks like create-guten-block, development for Gutenberg is extremely accessible to all developers, even more so than starting a plugin or theme from scratch with no proven framework.

In terms of maintenance, I’m confident that WordPress sites will become easier to maintain, due to less complexity in themes and plugins. Once Gutenberg is adopted by the majority, we’ll see fewer plugins on sites and more of the same plugins extending Gutenberg. Page builders are getting out of adolescence too and become more streamlined to use, which will make creating beautiful WordPress websites easier than ever. It’ll take a while until Gutenberg becomes equally powerful to those well-established page builders – if we’ll ever get there.

jan koch Jan Koch | WPMastery

Thanks, Jan, for contributing to this post ❤️

Gutenberg is definitely in the spotlight at the moment, and I also can’t wait to see what amazing things people all over the industry manage to do with it.

The Future of WordPress in 2019 will be bright with blocks getting better and WordPress as a platform attempt to find more enterprise space.

New users will find WordPress more easy with blocks editor (Gutenberg). Existing users will also embrace blocks editor at a faster pace once the final phase of Gutenberg is implemented. Bottom line, the influx of users into the WordPress ecosystem would stay strong.

WordPress will become all about blocks for the majority of websites. Even complex implementation may leverage the blocks foundation for easy user interaction and content publishing.

The other aspect which is generally aloof from an average WordPress user is the enterprise space. WordPress is already showing signs of providing more custom offering for enterprise clients with an aim to expand its footprint.

WordPress in 2019 is a win for every user from small to scale.

davinderDavinder Singh | Smart Web Creators

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, too, Davinder! 🚀

And, yes, another reason I think Gutenberg was a move in the right direction is that it’s not as steep of a learning curve for new users exploring WordPress.

This should remove the barriers to adoption for many beginners and small to medium-sized businesses that previously struggled with the Classic WordPress editor.

You can’t talk about the future of WordPress without talking about Gutenberg. The shift to a modular, React-driven WordPress is huge. Once Gutenberg matures and is more widely adopted, which I think it will (it’s just a matter of time), there are a lot of possibilities that will open up for end-users, developers, and web design agencies.

I think the marketplace for Gutenberg blocks will be strong – with developers being able to create, package, and distribute single block “add-ons” that extend WordPress in terms of functionality or aesthetics.

I also think that “Gutenberg-powered” WordPress Themes will be a lot more user-friendly than the themes that people could buy in the past. Theme developers will be able to give a lot more control over to the end-user while also providing a far easier customization experience.

Agencies and freelancers alike will need to crack out a JavaScript book or start looking around sites like Udemy to get their JavaScript and React skills up to snuff. I think that agencies that adopt Gutenberg and harness the React framework will stand out and be able to deliver unique websites, custom functionality, and an improved user experience.

chris castilloChris Castillo |
Propel Digital Media Solutions

I see the future of WordPress not so much as being about the specific features that will continue to roll out with each new version release but about the things they will empower people to do. I truly believe that the invention (and continued support/growth) of WordPress has helped to democratize the internet for people looking for new ways to make a living. I’m one of the people who benefits from all the amazing things WordPress can do and I’m excited to see what 2019 and beyond will bring for the platform — and more important, the people who use it.

Maddy Osman | The Blog Smith

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the community as well, Maddy!😁

And your perspective is certainly interesting for me to hear, especially given that I’m in a very similar (if not the same) position. I’m confident that everyone who contributed to this post (myself included) would agree that WordPress did change their life and will continue to do so.

WordPress 2019 – Conclusion

The WordPress philosophy has always been to provide features that 80% of users welcome. This is why we might never see localization in the WordPress core – while some users would appreciate the functionality, not 80% would think it’s a good use of development time and resources. The number of WordPress users who want to build multilingual sites is comparatively meager compared to those that do not.

Functionality which caters to a smaller percentage of WordPress users is what plugins 🔌 are intended for.

In case you’d still like to learn even more, we think you’ll surely enjoy listening to Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word 2018:

Here’s to another great year of WordPress ahead! 🙌🏼

What are your thoughts? Share them on Twitter and tag @WPModula so we can join the conversation!

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Cristian Raiber

Self-taught entrepreneur with a deep passion for learning, understanding human nature and what drives businesses forward. Our products are being used by over 7500,000 users, daily.


  1. Characterizing ClassicPress as ‘the fork for people who hate Gutenberg’ represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the the fork. Certainly many of us involved with ClassicPress think adding Gutenberg to core was a mistake, and not in the best interests of many in the WP community or of many website owners. Our goal is to build a better business-class CMS, and the block editor will not be part of that because, in our opinion, it’s the wrong tool for editing business and professional websites. You can read more here:

    • Hi Ray, thanks for taking the time to read this article and leave a comment. My comments about the ClassicPress fork were mainly intended as sardonic humor to poke fun at Gutenberg’s poor reception. I mean the fact that it pushed the ClassicPress ‘group’ to branch off and start their own content management system is a statement in itself.

      We know that there are people who don’t like Gutenberg which was expressed in the article and you’ve just reinforced in your comment. If you don’t believe Gutenberg has a place in the CMS as a whole and don’t think it is the right move for the post/page editor for what you classify as ‘business’ or ‘professional’ websites, then you’re clearly not a fan – which is what we expressed in the article. Hope you enjoyed the rest!

      Good news: Our plugin, the Modula gallery plugin can still be used by people using the ClassicPress fork so there are no hard feelings from our end and I’d like to think that you can say the same.

      • Thanks, Alex. Appreciate that your plugin supports ClassicPress and we hope it will continue to do so.

        It’s important to understand that ClassicPress exists because there is a business case for ClassicPress, not because there are a bunch of ‘angry, afraid-of-change’ ex-WP developers and users.

  2. “I honestly believe the fact that Gutenberg was met with so much backlash just goes to show how resistant people are to change which is a very dangerous attitude.”


    It shows that people want democracy, not autocratian decisions. And exactly this is the tipping point for WordPress. Democracy will win in the form of elimitating WordPress dictator or by creating a fork. ClassicPress is the start of the second case. Will the first case going happen? Only time will show.

    • As you said – only time will tell, I agree. As of right now, I think it is quite clear that the hype or anti-hype that was present at the time of the Gutenberg launch has died down and adoption is through the roof. It would be interesting to see some statistics for how many active installations there are of ClassicPress.

  3. My problem with WP is not Gutenberg but how its evolving over the years. From being barebone CMS to an all-in-one tool where everyone can develop their own site by slapping a few blocks in some editor. This is awesome for some people but most of them don’t have an idea what they are doing and they don’t need to have that much control over their content.

    From a developer standpoint, there are a lot of things that had to be addressed before adding an editor like this, but oh well the Javascript wave was becoming too big so I guess they had to ride it. So nowadays it doesn’t have any standard, still 13 years later no templating engine, its somewhat backbone, a bit of React, jQuery, OOP PHP, procedural PHP its a really big mess that’s going nowhere. Its like an ugly-fat-old lady trying to add a ton of makeup to look good.

    Therefore I stopped accepting clients that strickly-required WP websites. For those who are willing to change, I go with CraftCMS,, and few others preferably headless CMSes who are thoughtfully built and much better from a developer standpoint.

    • That’s an interesting perspective, WordPress has definitely had a long roadmap with lots of twists and turns. It’s sad to see that you no longer endorse and make use of WordPress as a content management system for your future clients. I’ve only heard CraftCMS mentioned a few times, but it may turn out to be promising.

      Thanks for reading the post and taking the time to share your thoughts with us! 🙂

      • Well said MD.

        I check in periodically to see what the WP and other CMS communities are up to as well and while I like the idea of Gutenberg a lot, WordPress itself is still a huge mess.

        Our agency left WP for Craft in 2013. We love it and so do our clients. WP was something we used because it was the only sane choice at the time but there’s many other, more focused, options available especially if you’re delivering websites to clients.

        From an agency standpoint, who is WP targeting exactly? Out of the box it’s basically a blogging engine. Then you have this huge swath of themes and plug-ins for DIYers. Anyone can call themselves a “developer” by copy/pasting some basic PHP they found on a website somewhere. Then these “developers” moonlight as agencies for clients who don’t know any better. And that makes legit WP/PHP devs even harder to find because the barrier to entry for WordPress is low.

        WP constantly trots out the 80% feature rule but who is that exactly? For those who’ve ever done a website with multiple languages, getting the translation stuff right really needs to be handled by Core, not some plugin. We just did this on a client website in Craft and it was as simple as turning the additional languages on and adding some hooks for the templates. The rest was handled by the CMS. Of course any time you start adding plugins that aren’t Core, that’s where most of the problems begin.

        It’s funny to see forks like ClassicPress. The ghost blogging platform was intended as a fork of WP as well but turned out that WP itself was in such rough shape from a developer standpoint, they scrapped the idea and just built something new. Open sourced or closed source, what really matters is the people backing the project. Starting a serious project because of knee-jerk reaction to Mullenweg is not something I can sell to a client wanting a $30K website project. Why would any sane developer pick that over WP?

  4. I absolutely find Classicpress’s “Democracy” extremely humorous. They have the Committee members, who ONLY they and the people above them can vote for committee members, above them they have the founding committee members, which I’m guessing they will be there for life, and Company Directors, which is one person, which I’m again guessing, he is there for life too.

    This whole system sounds to me like a “democracy” found in Communist China. In order to really have a voice, you must be an insider, and an insider has to nominate you to begin with, just like in China, you have to be a member of the Communist party… another analogy would be a “made” man in a mafia family… and they call this “Democracy”. Here is an answer, can the general public remove and replace Committee members, or the founder’s or even the director? Nice democracy…

    And let’s cut the crap… Classicpress was created as an anti-Gutenberg WordPress, nothing more, nothing else…, it offers NOTHING to businesses that WordPress does not. I challenge anyone to point to me why Classicpress is better to businesses than WordPress !

    After all that, competition is good, I want Classicpress to flourish and to shake Automattic and the people in charge of WordPress in general, as they are very arrogant sometimes, but Classicpress is not that much better in terms of arrogance, lies and propaganda.

    Saying otherwise, they are lying to themselves and the entire world !

    • Thanks for taking the time to read the article, Nick. You definitely make some good points and this is partially how I feel about the ClassicPress fork myself. I don’t mind them trying to compete with Gutenberg, after all as you said, it is a good thing. I think it is wrong that they are using every opportunity that they get to publicly defame Gutenberg purely for their own best interests (not because it is what they really believe).

  5. The Gutenberg rollout is also proof that if accessibility support isn’t a core architectural feature, it’s never getting added. Disappointing and probably opening the door to a legal quagmire in a lot of places.

  6. Wow. I thought this would be an unbiased discussion about the state of the WordPress community. But it quickly devolved into a trashing of everyone who wants to continue using the classic editor and anyone who disagreed with the shove-it-down-your-throat approach to leading an open source community.

    We build a lot of custom websites for clients using WordPress as a platform. When used in this environment, you don’t want or need “block” code inserted into content. The shift to Gutenberg optimizes WordPress as blogging platform and sacrifices CMS functionality. As a result, you’ll see WordPress used less as a CMS going forward.

    We are already evaluating several replacement CMS platforms for future development.

    • I’m sorry if it came across as if I was completely against ClassicPress. I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea – I just similarly dislike their attitude towards Gutenberg. There are a lot of people that love Gutenberg and there are also a lot of people that hate it – which, suffice to say, was more than expected.

      The transition to the Gutenberg editor is exactly that – their honing down and focusing in on being a content management system and I don’t see your argument about WordPress being used less as a CMS. A content management system is defined as a piece of software which facilitates the creation, editing, organizing and publishing of content.

      And there’s no doubt that Gutenberg is making exactly that way easier.

  7. Great article Alex , If you look for great open source projects there is a tough leader and people have just to follow. This talk about democracy won’t lead to anywhere because never there will be an unanimity, as Brazilian writer said once : all unanimity is dumb ! , people are still complaining , mimimi , instead of just accept, it’s done, like it or not it’s done and it’s here , let’s go forward and make it better now. If you want to stay in the past, ok, do it. Create your own project and do it, but please stop blaming the others. I quite sure that classic press will be vaporware in some years. This kind of people just delay the change and depending how much more you delay the change, worst is for you. WP is a solid rock CMS, period. Didn’t like ? There are plenty of options available, be happy and let the rest do their jobs.

  8. Wow. Reading this page almost felt like watching the nightly news). I can see how “Goot” can help someone who writes – not codes, or someone just starting out.

    But for those of us who have been designers/developers for many years and who are comfortable with code, the new editor really is a pain in the @ss, with things harder to find and too many clicks required to find those things. I’ve also had to disable Gutenberg due to weird issues on some sites, such as text blocks magically transform into shortcode blocks upon publishing a post/page, which is not cool. Get rid of Goot and the page displays as intended.

    It causes only minimal trouble for me because for the majority of sites, I use the Divi theme which has a very versatile visual builder as well as a built-in toggle to use classic editor option for pages I don’t use the Divi Builder on. No extra plugin needed.

    It’s good to have choice because one size NEVER fits everyone. We all work differently, our clients have different needs, we all work with different server environments, etc. So hopefully we will always have flexibility to use or not use Gutenberg.

    • Colleen, you’ve made some very valid points none of which I disagree with but there are also many successful developers that welcomed Gutenberg with open arms, like Rich Tabor, for example. Either way, such a massive change obviously affects everyone in different ways which is why I tried to incorporate many perspectives apart besides my own and I think that’s clear to see with the people that have contributed to this article.

  9. Nice article. And I do mean that. But, have you been to the main website of WordPress lately? Every 20 seconds , a pop up, call us. Everything you where trying to read is blocked out so ” you can call us”. I praise the fork , will pay whatever, just don’t make customers go through a gauntlet on the research. This is what drives users away….. . And THIS should be considered for a developer to use daily?

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