Over the last several years, the WordPress community has focused on the “Gutenberg” project. The aim is to modernize how WordPress works.
Phase 1 introduced a new block editor for writing posts. Phase 2 allowed you to use those blocks for building a website. And Phase 3 is about to begin!
I think Phase 3 will be absolutely fascinating for publishers.
Phase 3 is the “collaboration” phase with real-time co-editing of posts as you find with Google Docs.
Here’s a quote from Matt Mullenweg explaining Phase 3:
Phase 3 is Workflow. This is basically where we’re going to take real-time co-editing into WordPress, much like Google Docs or something else. When you log in to edit a page or your sites or a template or something, if someone else is in there at the same time, you’ll be able to see them moving around. Of course, we want to make sure we have version control built in like we do for posts and pages, into as many parts of WP as possible, so if someone makes a mistake or an edit to the site, you will be able to roll it back easily, which I think is really key for giving people confidence.
So taking Matt’s introduction, we have two key focuses:
- Real-time co-editing, much like Google Docs
- Version control for many parts of WordPress as possible
It’s noticeable that Matt talked about much more than posts and pages. That focus became clear this week with the first detailed overview of the real-time co-editing feature. I’ve taken this image from the official post. The use case shown here is collaborating on the site layout, not a post. Notice the “Comment” link in the image? That’s another Google Docs-style feature that’s described in the overview:
Allow users to add comments, suggest edits, and tag other users for peer review.
Here are some more ideas from the overview that should stand out to publishers:
An author could leave empty media blocks in a story they are writing and mark them to be completed by another team member, ensuring the post cannot be published while empty placeholders are still there. This could also include other types of requirements, like word count, fields to be completed, and so on.
It is possible to do this for posts now with the PublishPress Checklists plugin, but not for individual blocks.
For publishers working with people outside their WordPress site there’s this:
Make it straightforward to share different types of content, from posts to design changes, while controlling access through permissions.
There’s a lot of ideas presented in this first overview from the WordPress team. And there’s also a second and third follow-up post! However, if even 30% of these ideas become reality, WordPress will become a substantially better platform for publishers than it is today.