If you haven't heard, WordPress have announced that their 5.0 update "Gutenberg" will come prepackaged with a builder tool in its core - similar to the likes of Divi, Beaver Builder and Elementor.
Although it may come packaged with a lot less functionality than these popular builders, should us WordPress developers be scared that we may become obsolete? Why would someone that needs a website still come to us when they can easily just build it through Gutenberg? It is a question we've been rattling our brains with the past week but I think we've came to the conclusion: we'll be just fine... If not better off.
Before we get started, I highly recommend B.J. Keeton's blog for Elegant Themes which helped us come to our conclusion and helped shine some light on what life may be like after Gutenberg.
Just like B.J. says in his post, our clients don't NEED us. They can easily go onto Wix or use a WordPress builder to build their site but just like B.J.'s students; they'll come back when they realise how difficult it can be. I have no doubt when Gutenberg is released, many website owners will brave the great world of web design and attempt to build their own site using the builder; realise it's too time consuming and then call a developer. The builder becoming core makes me think straight away that WordPress want to go more down the route of Wix and Squarespace - and considering a lot of our customers are business owners who have tried using Wix but then wanted a more professionally built site, it gives us a lot more confidence moving into this 'Gutenberg era'.
Most of our clients are small business owners who need a website as fast as possible and as little effort to them as possible. Gutenberg isn't the solution to them. Sure, some may go down the route of hiring an in house developer as creating a basic WordPress site may become easier - but in our experience, they rarely go well and website owners end up seeking a development company.
Is Gutenberg actually good? I'll be honest, I haven't had time to have a proper go at the plugin but with the incredibly low score it has in the plugin directory with a lot of unhappy reviews, it has certainly divided the WordPress user base. Are a lot of the negative comments just angry developers who's development cycle has been turned upside down and are unhappy at their need to adapt? Or are they genuine gripes about the plugin and it just isn't very great? I think it may be a little too soon to tell just how effective the plugin will be, it is clear however that many developers are unhappy with WordPress going down the casual-friendly route as opposed to the developer-friendly route which is understandable. I have heard that even meta boxes may not continue on in 5.0.
Gutenberg won't change our business. I feel something inside me say, I really don't think it'll be strong enough. As our company grows we are dealing with larger and larger businesses that need a professionally designed and well crafted site which is where our specialties lie; I imagine a lot of web development companies will feel the same way. If your specialty, however, is basic templated sites with no focus on user experience or creativity... You may have to up your game.