Gutenberg is a take on a new editor for WordPress.  The WordPress visual editor hasn’t had many changes over the years.  The current visual editor requires a lot of people to use short codes and HTML to make things work.  The goal with Gutenberg is to make things easier, especially for those who are just starting using WordPress.  No more of the interface you’re used to.

Gutenberg is named after Johannes Gutenberg, who over 500 years ago, invented the printing press with movable type.

Right now, Gutenberg is just a plug-in you can download from the plug-in directory.  It will soon be the default editor, either the end of 2018 or early 2019.

Gutenberg enables WordPress to build content layouts, not just write articles.  It will add content blocks and page builder-like functionality to all up-to-date WordPress websites.  Content is added in blocks of various types from WordPress backend.  Every block you make gets Its own layout and settings.  The blocks are also reusable.  Gutenberg stores information about blocks in HTML comments, which are only seen on the back end and not the live pages.  Developers can create their own blocks for customized content.  Blocks can determine what every part of your context is and define specifications per block.  For example, you can change a single text line into a quote, just by changing its block type.

Disabling Gutenberg won’t break your website.  The special HTML comments are retained in the content.

Since Gutenberg is still in beta, you may come across some issues.  Right now, it is only offered as a plug-in.  Due to the extensive changes that Gutenberg brings to WordPress, it doesn’t always get along with some other plug-ins.  Plug-ins that add custom styles to your pages could cause issues.  Also, if the plug-in hasn’t had an update during the last 6 months, you should consider avoiding that particular plug in.

Gutenberg will be released with WordPress 5.0.  Like I said, right now, Gutenberg can be installed as a plug-in.  It requires WordPress 4.8 to use it.  You can download it from the WordPress repository or by searching within the WordPress dashboard under “add new plugin”.  So, go install the plugin and play around with it.  Test, break and fix it.  It’s also recommended to set up a test site or a stage site while you’re playing around with it.  Get to know it now while it’s still in beta.  Then, when it’s released you’ll be all set and ready to hit the ground running.