January 26, 2022
The latest version of WordPress (5.9) adds the Block Editor to site themes that support it. This is a huge change and we recommend you do NOT update yet.
Many WordPress users and developers including myself have mixed feelings about the Block Editor. It was introduced in 2018 in a rather basic and unrefined form. In fact, one of the most popular plugins became Disable Gutenberg, which is the official name for the Block Editor. This allowed a WordPress site to use the "Classic" Editor that everyone is familiar and comfortable with.
Since then, the Block Editor has improved but it's taken a long time for it to be even somewhat useable. This has left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, so they are understandably hesitant to switch to using the Block Editor everywhere. This is especially true because most WordPress themes offer their own block editing system which are often very powerful and easy to use.
In fact, in nearly every case, the WordPress Block Editor is not as good as what themes offer. I believe Gutenberg will eventually get there. It is improved in 5.9 and I believe finally ready for primary use, however it still takes getting used to and results in slower content management.
While we generally always keep WordPress up-to-date, we are making an exception with this 5.9 release. Because it is such a significant update, we recommend waiting for the next minor update (ie, 5.9.1) so that any serious bugs or issues can be addressed. This also gives theme and plugin developers time to release compatibility updates for 5.9.
We plan to start updating sites over the next few weeks and have already updated our test websites with 5.9 to get a better feel for it. For clients on our Security & Maintenance plans, we will handle all of this for you as per usual!
If you are maintaining your own site and would like to update, give it a few weeks before updating AND being sure to update all themes and plugins BEFORE you update WordPress. That ensures the greatest chance for compatibility with this newest version of WordPress.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to Contact Us.
UPDATE: As of March 2, 2022, we've updated all the sites we maintain to WordPress 5.9.1. We encountered no issues or conflicts, but did notice that in between the 5.9 initial release and the 5.9.1 patch, MANY plugins and themes were released with compatibility updates. We credit the smooth update process to waiting approximately 6 weeks for developers to update their plugins and themes and WordPress to release their updated version with bug fixes.
We do now recommend updating to the latest version of the 5.9 branch, just be sure to make a complete site backup before you do so. Or let us handle the update for you so you can focus on your business!