WordPress 5.0.2 to Bring Major Performance Improvements, Scheduled for December 19

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WordPress 5.0.1 was released yesterday as a security release with fixes for seven vulnerabilities that were privately disclosed. It includes a few breaks in backwards compatibility that plugin developers will want to review.

WordPress 5.0.2 will be the first planned followup release to 5.0 and is now scheduled to be released December 19, 2018. Gary Pendergast posted a summary of this week’s dev chat that includes the schedule and scope for the upcoming release. It will include Gutenberg 4.7, Twenty Nineteen bug fixes, and a few PHP 7.3 compatibility fixes.

Slow performance as compared to the classic editor has been a commonly-reported issue with Gutenberg. The project has a label for it on GitHub with 26 open issues. 140 performance-related issues have already been closed so the team is making progress on speeding it up. 5.0.2 will bring major performance improvements to the editor, particularly for content that includes hundreds of blocks.

“The cumulated performance gains are around 330% faster for a post with 200 blocks,” Matias Ventura said in an update on the editor. “This might be even bigger for certain setups and plugin configurations — seeing the same test post be 540% faster with Yoast, for example.”

These changes are already in version 4.7 of the Gutenberg plugin, which users can run alongside WordPress 5.0.1 to test the latest.

RC 1 for 5.0.2 is planned for today and RC 2 (if necessary) is targeted for December 17. The official release is scheduled for December 19.

Gary Pendergast also outlined the scope and schedule for WordPress 5.1, which will be led by Matt Mullenweg. Pendergast proposed a relatively short release cycle with an official release February 21, since there are already more than 200 tickets fixed for 5.1. Focuses for the release include the REST API (particularly authentication solutions), core JS, and core themes. Beta 1 is planned for January 10, with RC 1 following February 7.

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25 Comments


  1. Never mind the exploding 1-star reviews of Gutenberg after release of WP 5.0. The average rating now down to 2.1, probably soon going under 2 stars.
    Just keep ignoring real users, that’s the way to go…

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    1. I just looked a few minutes ago and it looks like it’s already down to 2 stars. My glasses may be lying to me but it seems earlier it had 500,000 installs and now it’s showing only 300,000.

      The negative reviews are up to 1210. There are many help questions being asked on the help forum and most are going unanswered. Makes me wonder if the developers don’t have answers for them or are just ignoring them.

      I’ve been doing websites since the 90’s and WordPress for many years. This is the biggest mess I’ve seen in web development in all of those years.

      Just out of curiosity, I tried to build a small business website with it today. Not going to happen.

      Surely this will be taken out of core and made a stand alone plugin.

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      1. Installs going down is not surprising, as Gutenberg is now in core, so not a plug-in anymore for people that have upgraded to 5.x.x.

        Soon, probably it will be removed from the plug-in directory, as ‘not needed anymore as plug-in’, at the same time – conveniently – removing all negative reviews…

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      2. The upgrade to 5.0 deactivates the Gutenberg plugin if it’s installed. So the active install count is supposed to be going down.

        The Gutenberg plugin will continue to be updated with new features, it’ll become the “development” version of the block editor, so people who want to use the latest stuff can just update and activate the plugin again.

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      3. So the Gutenberg plugin will still remain, together with the soon-to-be thousands of 1-star reviews? Otto, wouldn’t it be better if all reviews for GB were disabled completely? They really are an eyesore, and seeing that nobody is replying to them makes them look ignored.

        Also, since we’re on the subject: classic editor has 1 million installs. What happens when it becomes the most popular plugin in the repo? It’s _not_ going to look good having the normal editor as the most popular plugin. Are there perhaps switches the plugin team can use to hide the install count, or hide the whole plugin from the list of most popular plugins?

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    2. Some of the 5 star reviews they are mistakes. There are 3 on the first page.

      e.g. “This is so BAD!”, 5 Stars

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  2. I’m not happy with how patch releases (the .Z in X.Y.Z) are now being used for more than critical fixes. By default, WP installs patch releases automatically. The original implicit promise was that this mechanism would be used to maintain security and fix critical bugs. But over time, that scope has progressively widened. Now it’s being used for all manner of general improvements. That means that it’s not just delivering small, easy-to-understand changes, but things of wider and harder-to-evaluate scope.

    It also means that site owners are forced to make the unpleasant choice between 1) disable automatic security updates (change the default setting) or 2) enable them, but at the risk of breakage at any moment when other updates are pushed to your site. There’s no way to opt for “security updates only, please”. Should you opt to turn off security to allow more time for testing of the other changes and their impact? Automattic shouldn’t be forcing people to make this choice.

    For similar reasons, development of the TwentyNineteen theme should be done independently after release, as a normal theme update not tied to the patch release cycle, so that site owners can evaluate changes to it independently of critical bug or security fixes.

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  3. It’s only just released and WP 5 looks like the thing many feared: too much, too soon and too unfinished. Gutenberg is not what most author-users, like me, want and still despite the prerelease protests of many, it was stuffed into a package we did not need and shoved down our sites.
    Ugh! Maybe Something else…

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    1. Just now, I tried to make a quick post on one of my oldest WP sites, and that frickin’ gutenberg editor starts chopping things up into blocks, with no intuitive way to fix the screwups that it made. This was one site I wanted to try the new editor on, but all I have gotten is complaints from my staff on how terrible an editing experience it is.

      I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a fair shake, but no. Just no. This is an experience…a poorly executed user experience that kills productivity. This is typical of software developed by developers, for developers–not end users. Yes, WP has sunk to that level now.

      This gutenberg nonsense has essentially ruined WordPress. What a trainwreck for us content authors! If they seriously do something as utterly stupid as dropping the classic editor, we will be bailing for something else. Hopefully someone will get the idea to fork WordPress from the 4.9 version and create one without gutenberg baked into it.

      WordPress has officially jumped the shark with gutenberg.

      I had trusted WP would always remain true to its roots and let us stick to authoring good content. Not screwing around with blocks that none of my staff has even a remote interest in using.

      Look, Microsoft Word has been around for decades. People still use it. It’s the gold standard for creating and editing content meant for printing. WordPress was the online equivalent of that. You could sit down in front of either one, hammer out a few paragraphs or an entire tome, if you wanted to. This gutenberg mess just sticks us in something more like Microsoft Publisher, which not surprisingly 1) is not made for long-form content and 2) has a similar “block” operating mode.

      I think gutenberg is made for amateurs who have nothing better to do but dick around all day making pretty pages. Keep the classic editor for those of us who actually create and write content. Expect a mass exodus of users from WP once the Classic Editor plugin goes away, present company included.

      I’m all ears if someone forks WP and gets back to basics. I gave gutenberg its fair shake in a production environment and it is a total sham. It needs to go away.

      To Automattic, and Matt, the WordPress developers and everyone else–stop gaslighting us. This is a productivity killer, and in one stroke you now just alienated most of your loyal user base. We won’t be sticking around to see how badly this will end. WordPress will become the Wordperfect of online publishing before long.

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  4. I never had any issue while upgrading to 5.0. Just ditch the Gutenberg editor and stick with the classic editor. WordPress 5.0.2 is a quite stable version.

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  5. Good thing, I have disabled auto updates on most of my client sites, and my own sites, but I just couldn’t resist to see what’s really new, test it out and also see gutenberg first hand coz I haven’t tested the plugin when it was introduced as a plugin before.

    Luckily, all plugins I am using on all of my sites and client sites are compatible after I updated one of my site. So, I updated all and asked my clients to test out the new editor.

    I currently have 24 clients and 21 want the Classic Editor back so installed the classic editor plugin for them. The other 3 have experienced with drag and drop plugins so they like it.

    Regarding speed, I never notice any sluggishness after updating except, for my very own small web hosting business site. Probably there are a couple of custom made plugins not compatible yet. I still havent work on it so I just uploaded my back up to restore it.

    Personally, I hate the gutenberg after I saw it, or just maybe I am still not used to it. Only time will tell, but we do need changes from time to time.

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  6. Wow, what a refreshing change. I love the blocks and drag-drop features, and how it tests my abilities again in the design process. WP is and always will be a choice. for all of us, and will continue to keep developers challenged.

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  7. Are those gains relative to classic, or relative to the slower version of Gutenberg?

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  8. My first upgrade to WordPress 5.0 killed my site. Good thing my host has backups. So I made a staging site and tested everything to make sure that it won’t happen again, then pushed the changes to the live site. Fiddled around Gutenberg. Turns out it adds a bunch of useless code to new posts. The new editor is just unnecessary IMO.

    I installed Classic Editor and will be using it until it won’t be supported anymore.

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  9. I can see how the new editor could please publishers and maybe some “advanced” users that are allergic to html.

    But for people that want some simple blog editing tool, this is just overly complex and impractical…

    Give us something closer to a Word processor, not something closer to Dreamweaver….

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    1. I’m not apologising for the state of the new block editor, but if you install the latest version of TinyMCE Advanced and configure it to Classic Paragraph you get back much of the usability of the old editor, not all, but quite a lot. There are a few glitches but Apparently these are being ironed out.

      Of course, we also have the option to fall back to the old editor by plugin and other means. You can even engineer themes to have a switch to disable the new editor like Elegant Themes did with Divi.

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  10. As a user/writer, rather than a developer/coder, I find Gutenberg a challenge. It is not intuitive and is clunky. Inserting links is very buggy and ‘no follow’ seems to have disappeared. More to the point, who releases a writing product and doesn’t include spell check? It seems WP are trying to be too visionary and not taking the users along for the ride.

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  11. Upgraded to 5.0.1 on my site (from 4.9; Classic Editor enabled) and updated other plugins on my staging site; so far no issues. Website is still fast, custom tables within the database are intact, and plugin conflicts are non-existent. Planning to activate Gutenberg on a separate sub-folder blog—fingers crossed I don’t run into problems.

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  12. Reasonably-seasoned computer-people generally know that whatever editor software you use, it’s extremely habit-forming.

    The tinyMCE brand is nothing to celebrate, but many have become used to it. That’s all it takes. In fact, professional shops & businesses are known to strip out the WordPress editor, and IT maintains & installs a library of different editors for their writers. Everything from EMACS to Microsoft Notepad.

    I am aware that some State Department staff, use Notepad … and it’s chic.

    It is often a real challenge, to change editors. Cognitive dissonance? Hey, we’re talking complete cognitive breakdown.

    And we’re also talking about a real barrier to Progress and Improvement. Seriously, Notepad? Nano? Stunted and worse editing environments are quite popular…

    It’s a competitive world out there; there are goals & aspirations worth the bother … and getting kinky with an editor is an impairment.

    There are also ‘tricks’ to introducing unpopular software changes. Several are visible, with Gutenberg … which tells we’re in experienced, capable hands – and that resitance is futile

    Besides, now everything will be semantic.

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  13. I am a food blogger, and I am extremely disappointed with 5.0.1 It has made my life very difficult. I cannot color a word / sentence within a block using the text color tool provided, as it colors the text of whole block instead of a particular selection within the block. The earlier editor was much simpler and easier to use. How can I go back to the previous editor ?

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    1. You can install the Classic Editor plugin, which has official support until the end of 2021. It can be installed, like any other plugin, here.

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  14. In fairness, the blocks approach is a great step towards enabling people to have greater control of content. On the flipside, I use Advanced Custom Fields on every site and the Gutenberg editor has made a mess of the admin pages. It looks clunky and disorganised. Will be holding out for as long as possible till the mess is cleaned up.

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  15. I noticed a performance problem with Gutenberg when I was trying to create posts with it. The typing speed is somehow delayed, so the experience is not so good. I’m happy that the core team has improved it.

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  16. That is good to have a classic editor on an old post and block editors in a new post. Reviews might be going bad but further updates make it more stable.

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