If there is one major question surrounding the upcoming November 19th release of WordPress 5.0, it’s this:
Will my website break if I upgrade to WordPress 5.0?
It’s a valid, and very important question. WordPress 5.0 stands to fundamentally change many aspects of the WordPress experience and its underlying architecture. One of the biggest changes will be to the visual editor you use to create web pages and blog posts.
The new editor is called Gutenberg, and it uses a block-based interface to make creating media-rich web pages as easy as it is to write text. It uses predefined blocks to describe different types of media (like text, images, HTML, etc.), offering unique editing options for each.
For the WordPress team, enabling this kind of functionality requires some serious changes to the platform’s internal architecture. Experienced web developers know that this means certain functionalities are likely to stop working, and certain plugins may start to behave erratically.
Fortunately, the recent release of the WordPress 5.0 beta makes independent testing possible. Web developers can now start testing the plugins they rely on most and start planning for ways to accommodate the 5.0 update when it comes.
This is what our engineers at UnlimitedWP have been up to, and we have a few important insights to share with you.
Will Upgrading to WordPress 5.0 Break My Website?
According to our preliminary tests with the WordPress 5.0 beta, the answer is no. Upgrading from WordPress 4.9.x to 5.0 beta will not break your website.
Although the Gutenberg page builder is the new default, the classic editor has been bundled inside of Gutenberg as one of its many blocks. Your existing website content is automatically transferred to the Classic Editor block, giving you the ability to experiment with other blocks without affecting your content.
Users may also notice that Appearance Widgets have disappeared in Gutenberg. Like the classic editor, they have been encapsulated in a block, and retain the same functionality as before.
Originally, web developers expected that users who wish to keep content in its classic form would need to install a standalone “Classic Editor Plugin” for the purpose. It appears WordPress made sure to address our concerns appropriately from the start.
WordPress 5.0 database structure is exactly the same as 4.9.x. Post and page content stored in database tables remain almost the same – WordPress added comments along with the block content.
Plugin Compatibility in WordPress 5.0: ACF Pro
As part of our test, we want to make sure some of the web development industry’s most popular plugins work in WordPress 5.0. Our first test was with ACF Pro. Since more than 1 million websites use this plugin instead of using the classic editor or page builders, our team felt it’s important to verify ACF Pro compatibility with Gutenberg.
According to our tests, ACF Pro works the same in WordPress 5.0 as it used to in the previous version of WordPress. You will find advanced custom fields located underneath the new default content editor as always, and all core functionalities appear stable.
It looks like ACF Pro users don’t have anything to worry about so far. But what about those of you who use page builders? Our next post will find put some of the most popular page builders to the Gutenberg test – stay tuned for the results from our work with Beaver Builder, Elementor, Visual Composer, and more.
UnlimitedWP can help you manage your WordPress 5.0 transition project. Schedule a call with us and get the process started today!