WordPress 5.0 is right around the corner with a scheduled release date of December 6th, 2018. 5.0 will be the first major version release since WordPress 4.0 in September 2014.
The Gutenberg Editor
It has been a long time since WordPress has seen a significant update to its post and page authoring experience. Many users opt to fill this this void with page builder plugins that use blocks to build a more dynamic page. The Gutenberg Editor brings this concept to WordPress core.
“The editor will 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. — Matt Mullenweg”
You can try out a Gutenberg demo at Frontenberg, a frontend instance of Gutenberg by Tom J Nowell to get a taste of what is to come.
As well as a number of default blocks ready to go out of the box such as paragraphs, images, lists, quotes, media embeds, etc. Gutenberg is extensible with plugins to add custom functionality. We are expecting this to be a big market and take over many of the popular existing page builder plugins over time.
Your old posts and pages should remain unaffected until you go to edit them with the new editor. Even then many themes should support basic Gutenberg authored posts just fine. We will see plugins and themes updating to take advantage of all Gutenberg has to offer.
Gutenberg is set to be the first stepping stone on the platform’s shift towards a more complete site-building experience in order to keep up with rival site building platforms.
Users can install a ‘Classic Editor’ plugin to restore the old functionality. This is said to be supported until 2022.
Future Release Changes
WordPress 5.0 marks a new system of WordPress releases. Rather than sticking to a timed schedule of WordPress releases, where we would receive 2 minor versions per year with many mini fixes and updates sprinkled in, the development team are shifting away from schedules to allow for larger more contentful updates in the future.
Other Fixes & Improvements
A full list of WordPress 5.0 changes is available here.