In WordPress 4.9.5, Users Will Be Two Clicks Away From Installing and Activating Gutenberg From the Dashboard

At the end of last month, Matt Cromwell, Head of Support and Community Outreach for GiveWP and an administrator for the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, hosted a question and answer session about Gutenberg with Matt Mullenweg.

Mullenweg was asked a few times if he could provide a concrete date on when Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0 would be ready. While a date was not given, Mullenweg said, "For those who want a concrete date, we will have one or two orders of magnitude more users of Gutenberg in April."

It's now clear what he meant by that. WordPress 4.9.5, scheduled for release in April, will feature a call-out prompt that has links to information about Gutenberg and a button to quickly install the plugin if user permissions allow.

Gutenberg Call-out in WordPress 4.9.5

The core team added a Try Gutenberg prompt in October of last year but it was removed in WordPress 4.9 Beta 4. After discussing the subject with Mullenweg, it was determined that Gutenberg was not ready for large-scale testing.

The prompt in WordPress 4.9.5 changes the button text based on the following scenarios.

  • If Gutenberg is not installed, and the user can install plugins, the Install Today button is displayed.
  • If Gutenberg is installed but not activated, and the user can install plugins, the Activate Today button is displayed.
  • If Gutenberg is installed and activated, and the user can edit posts, the Try Today button is displayed.

If Gutenberg is not installed and the user can not install plugins, the button is hidden from view. If you'd like to hide the prompt from users, David Decker has created a plugin that's available on GitHub that simply hides it from view.

One of the concerns about the prompt is the lack of warning of the risks involved using beta software on a live site. Gutenberg is beta software that's still in development that could adversely affect sites. There is no warning on the call-out box and in two clicks, users can install and activate Gutenberg.

Whether it's Gutenberg or some other beta software, this general advice applies. Create a full backup of your site before installing and if possible, install it on a staging site first.

I predict that the volunteers who manage the WordPress.org support forums will have their hands full once WordPress 4.9.5 is released. The support team is preparing by brainstorming user outcomes, common questions that may be asked, and potential pitfalls users experience after installing Gutenberg.

If you'd like to give them a helping hand, check out the Support Handbook and if you have any questions, stop by the #forums channel in Slack.

The Gutenberg call-out has the potential to pave the way for large audiences to test major features in core without needing to use or install a beta branch of WordPress. However, this convenience comes with risks and while they can be reduced, WordPress needs to be up front and center to users about those risks.

15 Comments


  1. At version 2.4 of Gutenberg it is soooooo much better than 1.0, BUTTT still not ready for prime time.

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  2. Change of plans, this won’t be happening in the 4.9.5 release: there are still a few issues we’d like to fix up the callout happens, they won’t be done in time for the 4.9.5 release.

    I expect there’ll be a smaller 4.9.6 release that contains this callout, and any bugfixes that happen to be ready. 🙂

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  3. That’s a very Microsoft way of doing it – put an enticing button advertising a new feature which may cause problems or be undesirable to the user, but not really indicating as such.

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    1. Not sure I like this approach. It’s getting a bit ahead of plugin and theme authors. We were told 5.0, now it’s going to be pressed on users ahead of 5.0. Many will have a bad experience because their theme or plugin author isn’t ready and they’ll be hesitant going forward with 5.0.

      I’m for Gutenberg but not for jumping the gun like this.

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  4. Wow… just wow again…
    My only question is: what if the user can install plugins or edit posts BUT they do not want ever activate Gutenberg? Will they always get slammed by those buttons in the face? Did anyone think about this scenario at all?!

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    1. As with every widget on the Dashboard, clicking the “Dismiss” button on the top right closes it permanently, you won’t see it again.

      If you need to bring it back for any reason, you can re-enable it in the Screen Options dropdown on your Dashboard. 🙂

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  5. I’ve gone live with Gutenberg 2.4 on my personal site and have created a couple of Posts with no issues. That’s not say its ready nor others won’t have problems with it. Just a comment is all.

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  6. Here’s how you can disable Gutenberg (including this nag panel), before the release of 4.9.5, to keep your clients safe from accidentally changing their workflow or breaking editor integrations or complex custom field interfaces. The best part? you can bulk install the plugins involved for all your clients, via MainWP, ManageWP or even Jetpack.

    https://gschoppe.com/wordpress/disable-gutenberg-now/

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  7. I’ve got to say that this is a great method to leverage your audience to become beta testers for Gutenberg.

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  8. Sounds like I’m gonna have to tell every admin on every site I have ever built, to not click that damn button. As if I didn’t have enough work.

    Thanks, Matt.

    And yes, end users are usually admins. No other role would be sufficient when handing off a site to the client.

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  9. I’ve stopped using WP for my new clients and am slowly moving the old ones away. Just too much autocratic nonsense to deal with.

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  10. I had an experience with Gutenberg a few weeks ago. It was sweet n sour but I think that’s because I am not very prone to changes. :)

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