You Are Not Alone: Two Words, Classic Editor

Since the release of WordPress 5.0 in December 2018, we have had a fair number of conversations that involved us at Pantheon being asked: “what is everyone else doing about Gutenberg?” In particular, agencies have asked us repeatedly what we are seeing in the landscape regarding Advanced Custom Fields.  

WordPress Gutenberg Editor ACF Logo

While we certainly have our individual opinions here, we decided to ask our favorite people in the world, the community, and are happy to share those results with you. TL;DR, if you have not yet fully embraced the Gutenberg editing experience with open arms, fret not, you are in good company. You are not alone.  

What we asked

In February, we asked the world to share their thoughts and asked three questions:

  • How has the WP 5.0 release impacted your work, particularly with ACF?

  • How have these changes affected how you quote work?

  • How have these changes impacted work with your existing clients for new work or maintenance?

What we heard

Our favorite reply of all the answers was the very succinct "Two words: Classic Editor."  What became immediately apparent from the survey was:

  • How has the WP 5.0 release impacted your work, particularly with ACF?

    • 55% are not using the Gutenberg editor, leveraging Classic Editor instead.

    • 27% of respondents are evaluating on a case by case basis

    • 18% are using Gutenberg on all their projects moving forward.  

  • How have these changes affected how you quote work?

    • 45% reported no change whatsoever (mostly due to reliance on Classic Editor).

    • 37% said it would be on a case by case basis depending on requirements.

    • 18% said they were in-house and this did not apply to them.

  • How have these changes impacted work with your existing clients for new work or maintenance?

    • 64% see no impact on these fees, mostly due to continuing with the Classic Editor.

    • 18% reposted that they have raised prices in response to Gutenberg for their maintenance or for scoping new work for existing clients.

    • 17% have raised prices for maintenance on a case by case basis.  

    • 1% have decided they no longer want to do ongoing maintenance due to increasing complexity.

What this tells us

We were honestly surprised. We had anticipated that a much larger percentage of the respondents would be embracing Gutenberg blocks for their work. We were a little shocked that Classic Editor was listed as the near term plan for as many developers.  

We have seen this before, with the embrace of Drupal 8 and things like the Features module from Drupal. It is a completely normal and natural process to at first work around the changes in your CMS of choice.  

A good representation of the sentiment a number of people have was this comment: “We're ignoring Gutenberg for now. We rely a lot on ACF custom fields to display our current page content and manage our WooCommerce integration with an ERP system. ACF will stay for integration purposes, but we're looking at changing to blocks for our future theme.”

If you have not yet embraced the Gutenberg editor experience for your work and are not seeing how to move away from a world of WordPress 5.0 and Advanced Custom Fields, you are not alone.  It is completely normal to feel the way you do, so do not let that beset you.

Getting to the future

Pantheon believes that the future is necessarily different from the past. That it is true what Marshall Goldsmith said, “What Got You Here Won't Get You There.”  

Pantheon is here to help you embrace a brave new world where Widgets and Menus are not limitations. A world where nested columns are not a herculean feat. A world where the only single unit of functionality any of us ever need to worry about writing again is a cleanly defined block.

If you are frozen by the sheer effort you believe is in front of you, fear not. There are a lot of paths forward from here and we at Pantheon are more than happy to help guide that future.

If you want a direct path to get from Short Codes to Gutenberg blocks, check out Daniel Bachhuber’s guide on the subject.

If you would like to embrace building your own blocks from scratch, this is an easier path than you might imagine. Check out Andrew Taylor’s blog on how he built the Google Maps WordPress Block.

If you have not yet experimented with Gutenberg and are just curious how you can try it out risk-free, we have you covered as well. Check out Joe Casabona’s crash course on the subject.

We believe in you  

No matter where you are in your journey on the road to WordPress 5.x and the Gutenberg editing experience, we know you got this. We are here for you and would love to help you on your path. In this spirit, we offer Pantheon Office Hours, a chance every week to ask the Developer Relations team any and all questions related to your work on the platform, including those WordPress 5.0 and ACF questions you might not know where else to ask.  

The future does not look like the past. We think it is much brighter and we would love to help you get to our vantage point as well.

If you would love to see a world where Advanced Custom Fields and Gutenberg not only ‘play nice’ but give you even more control and flexibility than you have now, check out Tessa Kriesel, Pantheon’s Developer Outreach Manager, latest post Building Gutenberg Blocks with Advanced Custom Fields.  

Topics Content, Development, Website Technology, WordPress

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