Testing the New Collaborative Editing in the WordPress Block Editor

Most publishers we’ve worked with do not use WordPress to write their content. They prefer platforms such as Google Drive because they can collaborate in real-time.

They do this because currently it’s not possible to collaborate on content inside WordPress. If you try to edit a post at the same time as another user, you’ll see the message, “This post is already being edited.” You can either leave the post, or force the other person to stop editing.

That may change with the arrival of collaborative editing in WordPress.

The Gutenberg team released version 17.0 last week, and it has the first version of collaborative editing.

This is a very early draft of this feature and worked intermittently in my testing. However, collaborative editing is a very difficult challenge, and to solve this for WordPress users it’s important that people start testing. This is the central feature of Phase 3 of the Gutenberg project.

After installing the Gutenberg plugin, you can enable this new feature by going to the “Experiments” area in the Gutenberg plugin and checking the box for “Live Collaboration and offline persistence”.

This feature does live up to the “experimental” title. In this early version, I was still getting the locked sign on Posts.

However, I was able to get the collaborative editing working at various points. The best results seem to be inside the Site Editor, but it sometimes also worked inside Posts and Pages. This video from a member of the Gutenberg team is a good example of how it should work:

If you’re interested in the technical side, this project is built with the YJS framework. We interviewed Fabian and his team about YJS. I’d recommend following this issue on the Gutenberg Github repository.

Collaborative editing is a major feature for WordPress publishers

I’m excited about the future of this project. WordPress probably can’t continue to be a major publishing platform if writers spend most of their time working on content outside of WordPress.

There are a lot of kinks to iron out before this feature becomes part of the WordPress core. I wouldn’t be shocked if we have to wait until 2025 for this to arrive in an official WordPress release.

However, if you’re technically minded, and you’re interested in the future of WordPress as a publishing platform, I’d highly recommend that you download and test this experimental new feature.

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