# Frequently Asked Questions
# What is Gutenberg?
"Gutenberg" is the codename for the 2017 WordPress editor focus. The goal of this focus is to create a new post and page editing experience that makes it easy for anyone to create rich post layouts. This was the kickoff goal:
The editor will endeavour to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.
Key take-aways from parsing that paragraph:
- Authoring richly laid out posts is a key strength of WordPress.
- By embracing blocks as an interaction paradigm we can potentially unify multiple different interfaces into one. Instead of learning how to write shortcodes, custom HTML, or paste URLs to embed, there's a common flow for inserting any kind of content that is reliable and expected.
- "Mystery meat" refers to hidden features in software, features that you have to discover. WordPress already supports a large amount of blocks and 30+ embeds, so let's surface them.
Gutenberg is being developed on Github, and you can try an early beta version today from the plugin repository. Though keep in mind it's not fully functional, feature complete, or production ready.
# When will Gutenberg be merged into WordPress?
We are hoping that Gutenberg will be sufficiently polished, tested, iterated and proven, that it can be merged into WordPress 5.0.
The editor focus so far has taken 6 months. The first 3 months were spent designing, planning, prototyping and testing prototypes, to help us inform how to approach this. The actual plugin you can test in the repository right now has come together in the other 3 months (at the time of writing).
We are far from done yet, but we are moving fast. Please help us by giving feedback, surfacing issues, testing, or even contributing, so hopefully we can be ready in time for WordPress 5.0.
# Is Gutenberg built on top of TinyMCE?
TinyMCE is one of the best tools for enabling rich text on the web. In Gutenberg, TinyMCE does exactly that. Nearly every textfield you'll find is augmented with TinyMCE for rich text. Whether it be text, lists, or even just a single caption, TinyMCE can be invoked on blocks for rich text enhancements.
# What browsers will Gutenberg support?
Gutenberg will work in modern browsers, and Internet Explorer 11.
# How do I make my own block?
The API for creating blocks is a crucial aspect of the project. We are working on improved documentation and tutorials. Current documentation lives here: https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/tree/master/blocks
# Does Gutenberg involve editing posts/pages in the frontend?
No, Gutenberg is a replacement for the post and page editing screens.
We expect to have a dedicated "advanced" area at the bottom of the editor. It’s not yet implemented, we are tracking it here: https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/issues/952
# How can plugins extend the Gutenberg UI?
The main extension point we want to emphasize is creating new blocks. We are still working on how to extend the rest of the UI that is build in JS. We are tracking it here: https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/issues/1352
# Will Custom Post Types be supported?
Yes, for the most part. If a post type disables the content field the idea is the "advanced" section at the bottom would fill the page.
# Will there be columns?
Columns are not meant to be part of the initial version since we want to focus on a solid block foundation first. As Gutenberg ties into the following customization focus, things like columns are going to be explored.
# Will there be nested blocks?
Block authors can nest components and any HTML they want inside of a block during construction. But, for the initial editor focus, we won't provide a UI for the user to include or remove blocks within blocks. This is likely to be visited as the customization focus looks at page building.
# Will drag and drop be used for rearranging blocks?
A key value for Gutenberg has been to see drag and drop as an additive enhancement. Only when explicit actions (click or tab & space) exist, can we add drag and drop as an enhancement on top of it.
So yes, we expect drag and drop to be part of Gutenberg, even if it isn't today.
# Can themes style blocks?
Blocks can provide their own styles, which themes can add to or override, or they can provide no styles at all, and rely fully on what the theme provides.
# How will block styles work in the frontend and backend both?
Blocks will be able to provide base structural CSS styles, and the theme can add styles on top of this. Some blocks, like a Separator (
<hr/>), likely won't need any frontend styles, while others like Gallery need a few.
Other features, like the new wide and full-wide alignment options will simply be CSS classes applied to blocks that offer this alignment. We are looking at how a theme can opt in to this feature, for example using
# How will editor styles work?
We are still exploring how to apply theme styles on the editor, but the overall goal is that by virtue of styling individual blocks we can compose a full stylesheet that gives the look of the theme to the editor.
# Should I be concerned that Gutenberg will make my plugin obsolete?
The goal of Gutenberg is not to put anyone out of business. It is to evolve WordPress so there's more business to be had in the future.
Aside from enabling a rich post and page building experience, a meta goal is to move WordPress forward as a platform. Not only by modernizing the UI, but by modernizing the foundation also.
We realize it's a big change. We also think there will be many new opportunities for plugins. WordPress is likely to ship with a range of basic blocks, but there will be plenty of room for highly tailored premium plugins that augment existing blocks, or add new blocks to the mix.
# Will I be able to opt out of Gutenberg for my site?
We are looking at ways to make Gutenberg configurable for many use cases, including disabling different aspects (like blocks, panels etc.).
There will also be a "Classic Text" block, which is virtually the same as the current editor, except in block-form. There’s also likely to be a very popular plugin in the repository to replace Gutenberg with the classic editor.
# How will custom TinyMCE buttons work in Gutenberg?
Custom TinyMCE buttons will still work in the "Classic Text" block, which is a block version of the classic editor you know today.
(Gutenberg comes with a new universal inserter tool, which gives you access to every block available, searchable, sorted by recency and categories. This inserter tool levels the playing field for every plugin that adds content to the editor, and provides a single interface to learn how to use.)
# How will shortcodes work in Gutenberg?
Shortcodes will continue to work as they do now.
However we see the block as an evolution of the shortcode. Instead of having to type out code, you can use the universal inserter tray to pick a block and get a richer interface for both configuring the block, and previewing it. We would recommend people eventually upgrade their shortcodes to be blocks.
# Should I move shortcodes to content blocks?
We think so. Blocks are designed to be visually representative of the final look, and they will likely become the expected way in which users will discover and insert content in WordPress.
# Will Gutenberg be made properly accessible?
Accessibility is not an afterthought. Although not every aspect of Gutenberg is accessible at the moment, we are tracking issues in https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/labels/Accessibility, and we are fixing them. We understand that WordPress is for everyone, and that accessibility is about inclusion. This is a key value for us.
If you would like to contribute to the accessibility of Gutenberg, we could always use people to test, and contribute.
# Are there any design resources for Gutenberg?
We are still adding more documentation.
# How is data stored? I've seen HTML comments, what is their purpose?
Our approach — as outlined in the technical overview introduction — was to augment the existing data format with the notion and intention of blocks in a way that didn't break the decade and a half fabric of content that WordPress has provided. In other terms, this optimizes for a format that prioritizes human readability (the html document of the web) and easy-to-render-anywhere over a machine convenient file (JSON in post-meta) that benefits the editing context primarily.
This also gives us the flexibility to store those blocks that are inherently separate from the content stream (reusable pieces like widgets or small post type elements) elsewhere, and just keep token references for their placement.
# How can I parse the post content back out into blocks in PHP or JS?
var blocks = wp.blocks.parse( postContent );
$blocks = gutenberg_parse_blocks( $post_content );
# Why should I start using this once released?
Blocks are likely to become the main way users interact with content. Users are going to be discovering functionality in the new universal inserter tool, with a richer block interface that provides more layout opportunities.
# What features will be available at launch? What does the post-launch roadmap look like?
As part of the focus on the editor in 2017, a focus on customization and sitebuilding is next. From the kickoff post:
The customizer will help out the editor at first, then shift to bring those fundamental building blocks into something that could allow customization “outside of the box” of post_content, including sidebars and possibly even an entire theme.
So essentially with the editor we are laying the foundation for bigger things when it comes to page building and customization.
A lot of features are planned, too many to list. But a rough roadmap is: v1) post and page editor v2) page template editor, v3) site builder.