What Will 2019 Bring For Gutenberg in WordPress

GutenbergBack towards the end of last year, I did a few posts on Gutenberg for WordPress. Since then there’s been a bit more clarity around what 2019 will bring for Gutenberg in WordPress.

A post on the Make WordPress blog explains how phase 2 will be about introducing Gutenberg to the Customizer:

Gutenberg phase 1 and 2

This means that the sidebar, widgets, and menus will all be moved to Gutenberg.

Assurances that the Classic Editor will be supported until 31st December 2021 are largely worthless, as Gutenberg will be rolling out into Customizer in 2019 and this will fundamentally change WordPress.

Themes already need to be updated for Gutenberg as a post editor; entire new themes, or huge rewrites, will be required when the Customizer changes.

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Allow WordPress to Perform Minor Updates

WordPressBack in December I posted about stopping WordPress from updating to WordPress 5 (which includes the terrible Gutenberg.

However, I realised soon afterwards that was the wrong thing to do; instead I should have allowed WordPress to perform minor updates within the WordPress 4 branch, which can be done using the below line:

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', 'minor' );

Once this line has been added to your wp.config file, WordPress 4 will be able to update to later WordPress 4 versions, but not to WordPress m5.

How To Downgrade WordPress 5.0.3 to 4.9.9

WordPressI’ve discussed before the problems WordpRess 5 and Gutenberg present me; I’ve avoided upgrading to WordPress 5 and remained on WordPress 4.9.x as I plan my migration to ClassicPress.

Despite remaining on the WordPress 4.9.x branch and telling WordPress, via the config file, to only allow minor upgrades within that branch, the admin dashboard has a large Update Now button which will upgrade you to WordPress 5. Today I had an accident and clicked this button when I intended to click the Update Plugins button.

WordPress dashboard showing Update Now and Update Plugins buttons

Continue reading “How To Downgrade WordPress 5.0.3 to 4.9.9”

Migrating to ClassicPress: Using Migration Plugin With Unsupported WordPress Version

ClassicPressThis post is part of a series on migrating to ClassicPress from WordPress.

ClassicPress provide a migration plugin which you can use to migrate from WordPress to ClassicPress. The developers working on ClassicPress are also keeping the plugin updated for new releases of WordPress, but will lag a little behind as they need to wait for WordPress to release the new version before they can update the migration plugin.

I’ve been doing testing on ClassicPress and this has also included testing the plugin. Sometimes I’ve wanted to upgrade from an version not supported by the plugin.

The easiest way, in my experience, to use the plugin on a new version of WordPress before it is officially supported, is to amend the plugin to change the value to which the $wp_version_max parameter is being set:

admin-page.php showing line 318

Changing the value from 5.0.2 to 5.0.3 will allow the migration plugin to be run against the latest version of WordPress.

Instead of updating the plugin, you can also add the following line to your theme’s functions.php:

add_filter( 'classicpress_ignore_wp_version', '__return_true' );

I’ve tended to go with updating the plugin code, rather than adding the code to my functions file as I prefer to only have code in my theme that is for the benefit of the theme itself.

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Migrating to ClassicPress: What About The Plugins and Themes I Use?

ClassicPressThis post is part of a series on migrating to ClassicPress from WordPress.

As ClassicPress is based off WordPress 4.9.8, all current, non-Gutenberg, WordPress plugins and themes will be compatible with ClassicPress.

A growing number of plugins are stating that they are and will continue to be compatible with ClassicPress. There is a < forum post listing plugins confirmed as working with ClassicPress v1 on the ClassicPress forums; this is not to say that other plugins won’t work, but they haven’t been confirmed yet. This thread will be maintained for v2 of ClassicPress as well, which is when potentially breaking changes could be introduced.

If you think you might migrate to ClassicPress and want to confirm if the plugins you use will be supported with it, reach out to the authors of your favourite plugins and ask them to support ClassicPress. There is even a sample email message you can adapt and use.

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ClassicPress: An Alternative to WordPress is Ready for Live Sites

ClassicPressClassicPress is a modified and enhanced version of WordPress (without Gutenberg) that aims to serve the business website market; the concept of this fork was launched by Scott Bowler. I’m not going to try to speak for Scott, so I’ll link to the original post he did on why ClassicPress was created .

The Mission statement from ClassicPress is:

1. If it isn’t broken, we won’t fix it

The original idea behind ClassicPress was to provide a version of WordPress without Gutenberg, a drag and drop page builder, which was slated to become part of the core WordPress code from version 5.

It is our firm belief that the original publishing experience was (and still is) a tried and tested solution complimented by a wide array of plugins to extend its functionality. In other words, it wasn’t broken, so it didn’t need to be fixed.

This philosophy is central to ClassicPress. We won’t change things for change sake – just because something has been around for a while, it doesn’t mean it’s broken (in fact, it’s probably the optimal solution).

2. Business-focused CMS

The main target market of ClassicPress are businesses and as such we will move to being a full CMS. Blogs can be a part of an CMS, the other way around is often much more difficult.

The features that we will implement are all focused around offering one of our 3 key takeaways:
Powerful. Versatile. Predictable.

3. We will facilitate democratic discussion and decision making

In order for decisions to made by the community it is essential that we provide a platform that makes it easy for every member of the community to share ideas, debate, vote and give feedback without censorship.

We will ensure the platforms and systems are in place and maintained to make this a reality.

4. We will make people’s lives better

There are many people involved in an open source project such as ClassicPress. Programmers, designers, marketers, businesses and website visitors to name a few.

It is our mission to ensure that we make the lives of the people who use ClassicPress better. For example, for programmers we will campaign for ideas that make programming more efficient, less prone to bugs and faster to do. For end users we might suggest a project to make websites load faster.

5. We will invest in the future of ClassicPress

ClassicPress will be registered as a not-for-profit company (a Limited by Guarantee company based in the United Kingdom).

We will be transparent about any money raised (or spent) and encourage the community to vote on how this money will be best used. It is our mission to ensure that we re-invest into the ClassicPress platform and any supporting systems.

In the long-term this might, for example, include hiring of a core team of developers to work on ideas voted for by the community.

I’ve joined the forums and slack channel for ClassicPress and have been both keeping a general eye on things as well as doing some beta testing for various aspects of the project. I’ve liked what I have seen so far and am seriously interested in moving my sites over to it when the first version is released (currently it is in beta).

For me the key item is that it does not contain Gutenberg (they’re open to a Gutenberg plugin that people can choose to use) and it works fine with all of my plugins (both the ones I have created as well as the ones from other developers (such as Contact Form 7).

While ClassicPress is still in beta, James Nylen, the development team lead, has given the green light for the announcement that it is safe to use in a live environment as there are no open bugs on our GitHub repository.

If they’re saying it is ready, but still in beta you might be wondering why?

The answer is quite simple; there are a few items which still need to be completed before the official version 1 launch (none of which will have a negative impact on sites using it):

  • There are a few dashboard areas which still need converting to being ClassicPress focused rather than WordPress focused (for example, they’re adding a Petitions dashboard widget)
  • There is still the occasional mention of WordPress instead of ClassicPress, such as in the README file
  • Localisation is incomplete

Full details of the announcement are here.

I’m in the process of building a new plugin demo site on ClassicPress and will be looking to migrate all of my sites over as soon as I can; in the mean time I will be sticking with WordPress 4.9.8 (plus any 4.9 security updates) as I don;t find Gutenberg to be useful (and would go so far as to say it is would have a major detriment on my blogging if i did upgrade and try to use Gutenberg.

For me, ClassicPress is the future and I am participating in the new community where I can (mainly in beta testing of the various aspects).

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Before Upgrading to WordPress 5 And Gutenberg

GutenbergWordPress 5 with Gutenberg is due for release tomorrow on 6th December 2018. While many people, on WordPress.com and other hosted WordPress providers, will not have a say about upgrading, they can mitigate the effects somewhat by installing the Classic Editor:

Classic Editor Plugin

For those with control over their sites, you can choose to upgrade to WordPress 5 or not (some postings by Matt Mullenweg had suggested that upgrading would happen automatically, but a few posts have been made clarifying that this would not happen).

Much of the community is recommending holding off upgrading until 5.0.1 at the earliest and I strongly agree with this sentiment.

Any upgrade you do, should be on a staging environment first so that you can test to verify that your theme and plugins will all work correctly after the upgrade to WordPress 5.

Whenever you do upgrade your live website, I would recommend having a complete website upgrade (database and files), so that you can roll back if necessary, and test immediately after the upgrade has completed.

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What If Gutenberg for WordPress Doesn’t Work For Me?

GutenbergGutenberg is coming. Gutenberg is included in WordPress 5 which is slated for release on 6th December 2018. This is avoidable in the short term, by preventing WordPress upgrading or by upgrading and then installing the Classic Editor plugin, but this plugin has been announced as only supported until 31stDecember 2021. After this the Classic Editor will no longer be supported.

At this point you either need to switch to Gutenberg or find an alternative to WordPress.

That alternative might be another CMS, another blogging platform, or a WordPress fork.

I mention that last as a new WordPress fork called ClassicPress has been announced which I’ve been looking into and I think it has possibilities. I’ll have more posts soon on ClassicPress as I continue my investigation.

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Stop WordPress Updating to Version 5

WordPressGutenberg is included in WordPress 5 which is slated for release on 6th Decmeber 2018. Hopefully you know what Gutenberg is and if it will work for you.

If Gutenberg won;t work for you, or you haven’t finished testing, then you have two options.

Unless you’re on a hosted WordPress, in which case you may only have one option.

The first, or possibly only option, is to revert to the Classic Editor by installing the plugin. This will allow you to keep the current editing experience (until the end of December 2021).

However, if you’re using self-hosted WordPress, or otherwise have access to your wp.config file, you can add a line which prevents all core updates:

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );

One that line is added, WordPress will not update; this will allow you to remain on WordPress 4.9.x until such time as you have made a decision as to the route you’re going down.

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WordPress 5 With Gutenberg Releases Thursday 6th December 2018

WordPressAfter pushing back the release date of WordPress 5 from 27th November to an unannounced date, the new release date has, early hours of today, been announced as Thursday 6th December 2018.

This is a very soon date which gives people little time to plan.

From feedback on the announcement page, it appears the majority think the date is driven by the WordCamp US conference. An event should never be the driver for software release; the driver should be that the software is ready and Gutenberg appears not to be ready.

You can edit your wp-config file to prevent an upgrade (if you host your own site) or can install the Classic Editor to get the old functionality back.

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