You have likely seen the notice on your VIUBlogs Dashboard announcing “ A new, modern publishing experience is coming soon.” If you have not yet seen that message, or if you have yet to click the blue Try Gutenberg button to see the new editing interface in action, we strongly suggest doing so now.

The next major update for VIUBlogs may release as early as November 27, 2018 and will include a significant change to how you create and edit posts and pages. A new block editor will take the place of the classic (TinyMCE) editor as the default option for content creation.

What is a block editor?

At its core, the block editor (or Gutenberg editor) is a visual editing interface that allows you to design as you create. Where the current editor works well for text entry, adding media and controlling how text and media are placed on the page can be quite difficult. With a block editor, each piece of content (this could be an image, a heading, or text) is its own block which can be arranged, styled, and edited to give your blog post or page the layout and appearance you want. Adding media and controlling the layout of your pages and posts should be much simpler with this new interface.

In addition to improving your ability to control the look and feel of your posts, the new block editor introduces new options such as “cover images” which allow you to add a text overlay to an image right within WordPress!  You can also add widget and plugin blocks to individual pages, increasing the flexibility of designing on your VIUBlog.

If you would like to see the new editor in action, you can try a preview here. This preview is a fully functional page where you can try out editing and rearranging blocks in real time without touching your own site. The page includes prompts to help you explore the new editing options as well as some links to additional resources.

To get started using the new block editor on your VIUBlog before WordPress 5.0 is officially rolled out, you can enable the Gutenberg editor plugin. For help enabling a plugin on your VIUBlogs site please click here.

Do I have to use the block editor?

For the time being, there is an option available for those who may not want to change to a new content creation experience. Once VIUBlogs is updated to WordPress 5.0 we will make a plugin available that lets users opt in to using the “classic” editor for their site. However, we highly recommend at least checking out the block editing experience as we cannot guarantee that the classic editor plugin will continue to be updated and available long term.

Summary

As early as November 27, 2018 the classic WordPress editor for creating and editing posts and pages in VIUBlogs will be replaced with a block editor. You can try out the new editor or add it to your VIUBlog.

If you have any questions, or need any help, please let us know. You can contact the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning by email (learnsupport@viu.ca) or phone 250.740.6179. We are open 9:00am to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday except on days of university closure.