Some big changes have come to the world of WordPress. WordPress is an open source platform, which means that no-one owns it and that it’s maintained by thousands of people working together all around the world. The latest update of WordPress is known under the pet name Gutenberg, after Johannes Gutenberg who invented the printing press more than 500 years ago. And it’s a big update that the WordPress community has been working on for quite a while. Basically, WordPress is moving more towards a page builder experience to help make creating a website with WordPress easier and more intuitive for all. So thank you WordPress team!
Change for the better still means some new things to get used to. And also things that are built on the foundation of WordPress have to change along with it, for things to keep working smoothly.
Divi Theme is one of these things built on WordPress, and the Divi team have been working on integrating the changes and improving their own product alongside the Gutenberg crowd.
In this post you can find out what’s new and what has changed. And you’ll also find steps here to guide you in setting yourself up in the new way that will work for you, by updating your website safely.
This post is about WordPress in combination with Divi Theme.
If you don’t use Divi and you just want to hear about what has changed for WordPress and the WordPress editor, head over to our post on the new WordPress 5 Gutenberg Editor.
With the new WordPress editor (known as Gutenberg), WordPress is moving to an (at the moment quite minimal) block based page builder. The WordPress editor is the editor in which you create your pages and posts in a WordPress website. This was a fairly straightforward text editor and below you can see how it used to look:
No fancy things were possible within a basic WordPress post or page using the basic editor. So to create more interesting layouts and use drag and drop functionality, you needed page builder functionality, for example through a page builder theme like Divi.
Now with a move to a block based structure it’s possible to move things around and create more interesting layouts than you used to be able to do. Things are fairly basic still at the moment, so for the foreseeable future, dedicated page-builders such as Divi will remain much more powerful than WordPress’ built in block editor, but the new editor gives us some great new options to do things that were not really possible before. With the new WordPress editor, things become “Blocks”, individual elements that you can move around.
In the screenshot below you can see an impression of the new editor and what you can create with it:
At the same time, Divi are working to integrate their theme and page builder fully with Gutenberg. They mention that in the future, it will be possible to use blocks created in WordPress in the Divi Builder, and Divi Builder blocks in the Gutenberg editor. But we’re not there yet : )
What do these changes mean for me?
A slightly different Divi experience
The new block based WordPress editor is basically a simple page builder. It’s not possible to use both the WordPress Block builder technology and the Divi page builder technology at the same time in the same page or post, although in the future, as things develop more, it will likely be possible to use Gutenberg blocks in Divi, and Divi elements within Gutenberg blocks.
For now it means that Divi have moved their page builder completely out of the back-end of your website, and moved their page builder technology to a front-end builder, the visual builder as you already know it. This way of working allows the two new technologies to exist next to each other, and you can choose for each page or post, if you’d like to create with the new WordPress editor, or with the Divi Builder.
If you’ve started using Divi in the past couple of years, we think all this will not be a very big change for you. Because since the development of the Divi Visual Builder into the powerful front-end editor that it already was, many of us didn’t really build our pages with the Divi Builder from the back-end. What we mainly did in the back-end was to make WordPress settings, like setting a featured image, page title, or making Yoast SEO settings. This quick video shows you how it was before, and how it is now after the WordPress 5 update:
The new WordPress 5 Gutenberg Editor experience
If you update to WordPress 5 and also update Divi, you’ll also get the new WordPress Gutenberg editor. With the new editor technology, it’s possible to do things that weren’t so easy before if you didn’t use a page-builder, like Divi, for your site. You can now move elements like text blocks and images around, insert buttons, and create more interesting layouts with several columns.
In the video below you can get a quick impression of the new possibilities of WordPress’ bock editor:
To read a bit more about the new editor, you can also see our post about The New WordPress 5 Gutenberg editor.
To find out how you can update to WordPress 5 and start using the new WordPress Editor and Divi Experience, read our post on updating to WordPress 5 with Divi, under option 1 – I’m happy to use the new Divi experience with front-end builder & the Gutenberg editor.
Please be reassured that you can safely update and try out the new editor, but switch back to the old editor if you like. We explain in the post on updating how.
So after WordPress 5, the Divi Back-end Editor is no longer available – what if I really loved working with the Back-end Divi Editor?
If you use the Divi Back-end Editor a lot, there is good news for you too; it is possible to still use the Divi Back-end Editor for your posts and pages! There are new settings in the latest version of Divi Theme that allow you to still use the back-end editor if you really need it and prefer it.
Switching on the Divi Back-end Builder functionality does mean switching off the new WordPress Editor functionality for the back-end of your website, since the two can’t exists alongside each other. You will then have the classic WordPress editor and the Divi Back-end Builder functionality available as you used to have. In fact there are two versions of the back-end Divi builder now – a new improved version that has just been released in the Divi theme update, let’s call it the new Divi Back-end Builder, and the one you are used to, let’s call it the classic Divi Back-end Builder.
In this video you can see the difference and what’s new:
If you’d like to keep using the Divi Back-end Builder, either the old or new way, please go to our post on updating to WordPress 5 with Divi, under option 2 – I want to still use the Divi Back-end Editor.
I’m really busy – What if I don’t want anything to change at all for now?
Of course, until you update WordPress or Divi, things will be the same they were for your website anyway. And it’s fine to simply not update for a short while. But we do recommend updating your site regularly, because updates can address important bug fixes and security issues.
The good news is, that if you don’t want anything to change, but still update, you can. Because WordPress and Divi have created ways in which it will continue to be possible to work the way you are used to until at least 2021.
With a few settings, you can keep things the way they were; so have both Divi back-end and visual builder available, and keep the WordPress editor to the simple version that you have known for years. For guidance on how to do that, please go to our post on updating to WordPress 5 with Divi, under option 3 – I don’t want anything to change for now.
If working the old way is best for you, you definitely can. But we would encourage you to also consider planning in a bit of time to look at the new features and new ways of working. Divi and WordPress will continue to improve and evolve, and they’ll likely focus their efforts on the new ways of doing things, adding new features and possibilities, and keep the old ways the way they are. The new features will also be available to you when you decide to switch over : )