1. Clarence Johnson

    Is this confirmed that the Classic Editor plugin will stop being officially maintained on December 31st, 2021?


    • Pieter Daalder
    • Stanko Metodiev

      In the plugin description https://wordpress.org/plugins/classic-editor/, you can see the following:
      Classic Editor is an official WordPress plugin, and will be fully supported and maintained until at least 2022, or as long as is necessary.


    • Bianca

      Yes. See the quote in large font in the linked article:

      The Classic Editor plugin will be officially supported until December 31, 2021.


    • Justin Tadlock

      The answer is much more nuanced than what some replies to your question might lead you to believe.

      This is not a hard cutoff date. In the post that folks have linked to, Gary makes it clear that the WordPress leads will reevaluate official support of the Classic Editor plugin at that time and will make a decision based on usage. If there are 5+ million active installs, I seriously doubt they will drop official support until much later.

      Even dropping “official” support does not necessarily mean the end of the Classic Editor altogether or some form of it. There are other, existing plugins that handle the job. And, as long as there is a large enough market for alternative editors, plugin developers will take advantage of that market. Can you imagine not a single plugin development business trying to capture a market of millions?


  2. Giorgos Sarigiannidis

    “More generally, we think this push to expand Gutenberg is an indication of WordPress focusing on the requirements of their non-technical user base as opposed to their audience of web developers building custom solutions for their clients.”

    I don’t know exactly how they mean that, but for me, it was the exact opposite: Gutenberg opened-up a brand new level when it comes to building custom solutions for clients which were simply not possible before.


  3. Rick

    Studio 24 seems uninformed at best. There are good reasons to avoid WordPress for certain projects, but the reasons cited are misguided.


  4. Tom

    Thanks for the heads up about the Classic Editor going away. This would be the last straw. So misguided. Gutenberg provides nothing useful to me and adds undesirable complexity (and bugs). So I have 1 year to make WordPress go away. Sad to find myself kicked out. Wish it weren’t so.


  5. Viktor

    Should have chosen ClassicPress, if they wanted Gutenberg-free WordPress experience that won’t end in 2021.


    • Bianca

      I was thinking that. There is always the possibility of exploring the fork ClassicPress. Not sure if they did though. Maybe they did and found it not meeting the requirements enough.

      Alternatively they could have made their own fork. All perks of the GPL ;)


  6. Anh Tran

    It’s sad to see WordPress is not on the recommended list. I think the concern about Gutenberg is only half of the truth. Gutenberg is being improved, in a speed that we’ve never seen before in the WordPress ecosystem. And I’m sure it will satisfy W3C requirements for long term. Besides, WordPress is a truly OSS, which W3C should reconsider.


    • Alvaro

      Not everyone will agree with the way Gutenberg is being improved. Truth is Gutenberg is not ready.

      I can relate to the difficulties someone has to adopt WordPress for a big project, when the main editor changes so much in such a short time. And, in several aspects, for the worse. It has too many flaws and that’s an obstacle to more stable work.


    • Ciprian Popescu

      It’s not sad. It’s expected.

      I can see more business looking for alternatives since the block editor has been implemented.


  7. Alex Kuznetsof

    Bad news but I’m pretty sure somethings are hidden from the public. If only we could ‘follow the money’ here. I won’t cry in the middle of the night about this decision but the international WP community deserves better treatment.


  8. Rod Olman

    The W3C are thinking about actual users using the CMS, not people that are afraid to say what they really think about Gutenberg lest they be fired and all their activity “archived”.


  9. Jasee

    Weird. Statamic is first in the list but they did a less than favorable accessibility audit https://w3c.studio24.net/docs/w3c-cms-selection-process-update/#statamic-notes-on-accessibility


  10. Kendall Schleiff

    I’m shocked to see this recommendation doesn’t include WordPress, since we are talking about real value here. This doesn’t sit quite well with me, and I think Studio 24 should be forthcoming with more information instead of this shrift.


  11. David Anderson

    “I don’t see using a proprietary CMS as an extension of W3C values, and it’s not clear how much more benefit to accessibility the proprietary options offer in comparison. W3C may be neutral on licensing debates, but in the spirit of openness, I think the organization should adopt an open source CMS, even if it is not WordPress.”

    This an interesting critique, in the context of Automattic and wordpress.org taking a pragmatic view, and using proprietary software quite freely when it does the job best. I don’t criticise it for doing that, by the way. But, to take an example, wordpress.org uses Slack heavily for communication, rather than Mattermost. My personal view is that life has too many other things to think about for me to care much about that one way or the other. But it’s at least a little curious to read an article on the Tavern criticising external bodies for apparently having the same policy as the main bodies in the WP world have. It seems unlikely that external bodies are going to take such critiques seriously in that context?


    • Otto

      But, to take an example, wordpress.org uses Slack heavily for communication, rather than Mattermost.

      WordPress started using Slack about 18 months before Mattermost existed. Switching services, especially when so much time has been spent for integration, isn’t quite that simple.


  12. Matías

    It’s unfortunate that the state of open source CMS accessibility has forced the organization to narrow its selections to proprietary software options for its first redesign in more than a decade.

    I share this sentiment. Also deeply curious since the cursory notes on accessibility for both of the reviewed CMSes seem to highlight a ton of issues like “Buttons and Checkboxes are built using div elements” or most inputs lacking clear focus styles. An element like the Calendar for choosing a post date seems entirely inoperable with keyboard on Craft, for example, while WordPress’ has had significant effort and rounds of feedback poured into that element alone to make it fully operable.

    We always have a long way to go to continue to make WordPress usable and accessible to the vast majority of people, and there will always be disagreements on whether we are hitting the mark or not on specific parts of the experience, even within the contributors working to make WordPress better day to day, but overall I think the effort exhibited from those contributing to the software is steps ahead. In my opinion, building a components API that can lead to better accessibility baselines for developers extending WordPress is on its own very impactful and equally challenging.

    Then there’s also the recommendations to the person authoring content, from heading outlines to color contrast in different places, on top of ensuring the semantics of blocks in the front-end are the best they can be. We ought to continue being our harsher critics, but in these wider comparisons I think we also need to retain perspective.


  13. Regarding Gutenberg

    The bad implementation of the otherwise good idea like Gutenberg is the main cause. Gutenberg has so much issues that my clients are not threatening to change companies if we don’t install the Classic Editor instead of the block editor. We maintain one mid sized European news website CMS and it has many customizations on top of WP, but it looks like the editors were extremely unhappy with Gutenberg. Performance was one of the reasons. Something bugs when you have multiple media files on the page and/or when you work with combination with custom plugins.

    I think it’s time for Gutenberg team to have some changes in the way they pursue this editor and in fact to involve more professionals and prosumers, not just devs and the everyday life of how the CMS is used in order for them to have a more objective picture.

    It’s one thing to build a page builder for devs, it’s something completely different to build the page builder to work for professional journalists and creators, which are not coders or devs.

    To me Gutenberg is bad because it lacks the appropriate survey data from real world usage. Just because something looks installed, does’t mean people are happy with it.

    Gutenberg opens a huge marketing hole for someone to take in.


  14. Dave

    Good for them. I’ve been a WordPress fan and user for years, but only a reluctant Gutenberg fan. To call something Gutenberg in the first place is pretty grandiloquent. If something were pure genius and groundbreaking, that term might fit.

    After many hours using it, it still feels odd, buggy, and tricky. I don’t know if it’s too many cooks, too complex to simplify, too much work put in to back out, too little testing before publishing, or simply too goofy. It can make one want to go shopping elsewhere.

    I’m sure they mean well.


  15. Shaun

    Out of all of the Studio 24 statements, I would say that this one is the most indicative of where they and a lot of other agencies stand on WP right now:

    “More generally, we think this push to expand Gutenberg is an indication of WordPress focusing on the requirements of their non-technical user base as opposed to their audience of web developers building custom solutions for their clients.”

    For context – I work at a design focused agency that places a lot of value on providing a great admin experience for content authors that provides both a flexible authorship experience that is also limited. We want to prevent content authors (who – no shade – are not designers and typically do not have “design awareness”) from messing up a great design that they paid quite a bit of money for. From this perspective, Gutenberg feels very iffy:

    Yes – I can create custom blocks. Yes – I can remove default blocks or restyle them based on a projects needs (though, with a slew of ‘breaking changes’, this feels like less of a solid option). But in doing all of this – you spend more time removing things, and you are more vulnerable to future additions/markup changes/who knows what else. And to top it off, training content authors to create rich, resource related content with Gutenberg blocks takes longer and is more vulnerable to improper content entry, compared to using ACF fields and TinyMCE.

    As such, it feels more and more like WP is becoming less and less of a product is BOTH a consumer friendly product and a CMS that can be customized to the needs and desired limitations of a project by a developer. This is something that is really is starting to shake my confidence in the CMS, something this WP fanboi didn’t really think was possible.

    Wanted to say this just to echo Studio 24’s reluctance and insecurity with the future of the project. It’s something that I think WP should really take into perspective and ideally address. Even if their plan is “yeah, from here on out, we are now primarily aiming at non-technical users and not custom CMS developers”, it would be great to know so I can peacefully move on to another CMS, rather than riding on a wave of uncertainty.


    • Tom

      I do not believe that Gutenberg serves the non-technical user base either. I observe that most non-technical users just want to get their information online with as little fuss as possible. I see Gutenberg working against this purpose. I have found that some non-technical user’s think even the Classic Editor is too complicated! Gutenberg will make their heads explode.

      I see Gutenberg chasing after a mythical user that is neither technical nor non-technical. Reminds me of some now defunct retailers that decided to go after a different kind of customer, only to discover too late that it was a very slim slice of the market.


      • Shaun

        I do agree with this. It’s great in abstract, it’s great on paper. But in my experience the IRL usage doesn’t really align with the idea of it.

        My partner is a graphic designer who recently made a site with Squarespace. She hated it, because it seemed like she could do anything, but ultimately it just placed her in an invisible box. The ability to easily do anything custom out of the box in a repeatable, easy to use way within that system was an illusion. IMO the same is true for Gutenberg.

        I also recently helped a non-profit set up a site. I opted to just use Astra and Gutenberg, thinking it might be faster. I thought by importing block patterns, setting up Customizer settings, etc. I would save time and it would be easy to use. In the end I spent too many hours trying to figure out how to get the nested block layouts I wanted, which felt like an exercise in “How to make a dev with 12 years experience feel like an idiot” When I went to train the client, they were perplexed and unenthused to edit. Explaining how to make some of the layouts, change the fonts and colors, etc, completely overwhelmed them, not to mention the concept of “reusable blocks”. They made one content update (which did not match any of the other layouts on the site) and now I get emails asking for help entering content (which in this case I don’t mind, but thats not the point 🙂

        I share these two stories because they speak to the downstream effects of giving too many options to users. They either end up dumbfounded and confused and making a mess, or they think they have more power than they do and get frustrated by the tools (or lack thereof) available to them.


      • Nyssa The Hobbit

        My WordPress.com blogger friends, who are non-techie, have been complaining about Gutenberg a lot. They’re sharing tips on how to get the Classic Editor to work, and talking about where else they want to go instead (such as Medium).


        • Constructive Criticism

          Let’s point the elephant in the room, although I am sure this comment won’t be published.

          By trying to make things easier for the ecosystem with replacing tons of plugins made by devs with blocks that can be customized by the end user, WP actually the new editor “harder” for the average user.

          Currently you have two type of people working with the CMS, usually that is the company that builds the site – devs, coders, WordPress technical experts, marketers, designers, and there is another group – the people that would actually use the site for publishing – bloggers, creators, writers, journalists, artists, news editors, commentators, reviewers etc.

          By creating Gutenberg, they tried to blend these together and they cannot be one thing most of the time.

          If the first group is the people that build your house and put the furniture inside, the second group is the people that live in that house. These, in most cases, are two different groups!

          That’s why it would make total sense to have two distinguished modes, one is to [build] the site and the other mode should represent the [writer’s mode]. One is almost a one-time thing, a more static approach that happens one more several times in large periods, the second is something that happens frequently.

          You can’t force a journalist to use a non-standard text editor with block building to write their content. Look at this comment field – it is a known from the 80s word processing experience, email client experience, office doc writing experience, text writing experience that everyone is familiar with.

          If you force a news editor, a journalist to write his content in blocks instead of the familiar experience from 40 years, then you are alienating him.

          Just ask any journalist out there, any professional writer, if they find an experience of “building” their content better than “writing” their content.

          Gutenberg should split in two modes! And no, Iceberg is too glitchy and slow to do the trick!


      • Exactly this!

        I’ve been saying this from the beginning, it is a tool build by devs and geeks aimed at devs and geeks. TinyMCE editor + shortcodes was much easier than the current stage of Gutenberg. I am not against Gutenberg’s idea, I am against its implementations. It’s basically Linux throwed at the average Joe. Even if you gave them Ubuntu or one of these trying to be friendly distributions, their market share would still be less than 1% for the average desktop user. Coders, devs, geeks, they should understand they are not representing the average Joe.


  16. Simon Jones

    Thanks for this article on the CMS platform work for W3C. I’m the founder of the agency who is working on the W3C redesign project.

    You make a lot of good points. I’ve written a post explaining the background of how we chose the CMS which I hope makes this clearer and addresses some of your concerns. https://w3c.studio24.net/updates/on-not-choosing-wordpress/

    I was not aware of ClassicPress so thanks for that. However, I’m not sure using a fork is such a good idea for W3C who are keen for some stability in their tools. Having said that I see Backdrop (Drupal 7 fork) is still being actively maintained so this approach can be successful. https://backdropcms.org/

    We are trying our best to work in the open on this project and will continue to post updates to https://w3c.studio24.net/ as we go along. W3C is committed to taking community feedback on the project.


    • Ian

      Great write up and I echo your sentiments.

      The list of considered CMS’s does seem short though. Did you guys look at others like Grav?

      Am also in the same boat and will most likely be changing CMS in 2021. Will be following your progress with Craft!


    • Jon Brown

      I’d certainly love to see objective data showing how/where Craft or Statmatic are actually better in terms of accessibility than WP. The arguments I’ve seen seem based more on subjective feelings and drama than reality.

      Personally I think the complexity argument is strongest. Too much custom gutenberg work ends up feeling like it’s built on sand, and while it “works today” it’ll come crashing down tomorrow.

      Gutenberg blocks just don’t have a solid foundation that allows 3rd parties to easily build out custom solutions that promise long term stability. This was the killer feature of WP and WP widgets a decade ago. Heck, core blocks don’t even address the basic need these days for mobile responsiveness, let alone UIs that embrace content creation on touch based devices.


  17. Adam Patterson

    Are they taking about accessibility of the backend?

    I personally am not a huge fan of how the html is basically unchangeable from gutenberg blocks.

    I wanted to change the html of the mailchimp block and gave up.


  18. Lewis Cowles

    Craft and statamic are awful niche money Pits, and their licenses preclude taking work done elsewhere.

    I’d also question anyone suggesting any multi-lingual CMS solution is ideal, but have shaken some wonderful properties out of WordPress and multisite.

    Gutenberg is getting much better. I recently as a few months ago upgraded a plugin I maintain to use storybook for a block it carries, and was delighted to not need a database, we server etc to test an editor plugin.

    This really does seem like selection of vendors wasn’t ideal


  19. Simon

    Wait a second, W3C – an organisation that employs people and generates revenue that can pay them a salary of sorts, that has money enough to pay an external agency to build a new platform for their website – is essentially coming under fire here for choosing a proprietary solution.

    Open Source is great and contributions by a wide range of developers is an incredible asset, but you’re missing how many of those developers do it for nothing, no financial reward, not even some recognition.

    Automattic haven’t really stepped up on that front, despite making millions out of WordPress.

    The W3C are free to use whatever tool is fit for purpose. If their financial commitment to a particular platform improves its longevity and betterment, then so be it.

    WordPress is not geared up for that kind of investment and would need to change how it rewards contributors massively in order to shift this discussion.

    Yes the tool can change and the license may go some way to enabling that, but to see the proprietary tools that have been around for much less time being so well polished by much smaller teams really destroys the argument in my opinion.

    WordPress desperately needs some new blood in terms of its technical oversight so that it can continue to be a serious contender as many companies are starting to see that ‘free’ is actually turning out to be quite expensive.


  20. Giorgos Sarigiannidis

    It would be interesting if we could learn more in-depth details about why they prefer Classic Editor to Gutenberg, especially given the Classic Editor’s limited potential.

    I can understand complaints from those who are used to their Premium Theme’s Page Builders and Gutenberg gets in the way. On such a large scale project, though, I assume that there will be a custom implementation, where Gutenberg shines, allowing you to build really cool stuff.

    On top of that, Gutenberg content can be easily migrated on a future redesign compared to shortcodes (which can easily cause a huge mess), allows you to write the cleanest HTML possible, and the frontend output is much faster, as most of the time there is no need for storing data in meta fields, with everything remaining on the post’s table.

    I assume that it’s about accessibility issues, but it would be interesting to learn which in particular, and how the Classic Editor is better at dealing with them.


  21. Joe Dolson

    While it’s true that I reported that 2/3s of the issues raised in the spring 2018 audit are resolved, that’s only a partial representation of the overall state of Gutenberg’s accessibility. There are still a lot of issues that need continuing work, as well as new accessibility problems that are continuously introduced as features are redesigned or introduced. That 2/3s resolution only encompasses the issues raised within the first few months after Gutenberg was released, and addresses nothing at all in the features developed since then.

    While Gutenberg has decent accessibility in comparison to many similar editing environments, I would be hard-pressed to consider it something that can be recommended for any organization that needs people with disabilities able to work on content creation. The complexity and rapid pace of change has a profound impact on the ability to learn and use the system, even if one were to assume that the technical implementations were perfect. (Which they aren’t.)

    I can’t make any statements that would be meaningful about the other content management systems under consideration; but if WordPress wants to be taken seriously in environments where accessibility is a legal, ethical, and mission imperative, there’s still a lot of work to be done.


  22. Per Søderlind

    Don’t forget the other major reason why WordPress was removed from consideration; “no elegant solution to content localization and translation.”

    I’ve been complaining about this for year, localization and translation should be in the core. WordPress is about communication and not having multi-language support in core is a huge failure.


  23. Rodney Brazil

    Lots of sites have figured out ways of dealing with all these concerns. I feel like WordPress gets attacked for all sorts of things when in reality, every CMS has pros and cons.


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