When WordPress 5.0 came out, it shook the WordPress world with a brand new editing experience by introducing the “Gutenberg Editor.” With this new editor, WordPress aims at the future, while giving a nod to the past.
Who was Johannes Gutenberg?
So why did they name it “Gutenberg”? To answer that question, we have to talk about Johannes Gutenberg. Johannes Gutenberg undoubtedly changed the course of Western Civilization (and arguably, the world) when he introduced “movable type” printing to Europe.
Movable type is a method of printing text using elements (letters and symbols) that you can move and arrange. Though Gutenberg didn’t invent the method, he revolutionized the technology for using it. In addition to importing it to Europe, he also introduced or invented:
- a process for mass producing movable type elements
- oil-based ink for printing books
- adjustable molds
- a wooden printing press
Most importantly, his combination of these into a system allowed for mass production of books that was cost-efficient for publishers and affordable for readers. This gave the average person access to information and education.
The Spirit of WordPress
From its conception, WordPress has carried the same spirit of Johannes Gutenberg and his printing innovations — to maximize the flow of information online by giving publishers (website owners / bloggers) free access to powerful publishing software.
The primary principle at the center of that spirit is the GNU Public License — the “Open Source” license. This license is incredibly powerful and controversial! In addition to giving every human permission to download, install, and use WordPress, it also allows developers and authors to:
- extend the functionality of WordPress
- customize the design and functionality of WordPress
- freely distribute the WordPress code
- copy WordPress code, modify it, and distribute your own modified version
- SELL WordPress in its original form, or your modified version for a profit!
Of course, the WordPress name, logo marks, and other branding materials are copyrighted and cannot be used as your own intellectual property.
Carrying the spirit of Gutenberg forward
The new editor, “Gutenberg” is intended to help WordPress fulfill the spirit of maximizing publishing freedom and access by making the tools for building pages and posts more intuitive and more powerful right out of the box.
The average person should be able to pick it up and start putting text and images on the page. They should be able to control certain aspects of the design, like columns and full-width images, etc. They should be able to include an array of media, such as YouTube embeds without copying & pasting code. It should be easy to find and use these elements.
Not only is this a new content-editing experience, but WordPress intends to expand this into a full-on site customizing experience. Gutenberg is the future of WordPress.