WordPress 5.0: Release date Dec. 6th confirmed – Release Candidate is now available – the Divi Page Builder only seems to work by suppressing Gutenberg

Screen with PHP code, get the header

Update: WordPress 5.0 will be officially released on Dec. 6th, 2018, as Matt Mullenweg confirmed on Dec. 4th.

  • The WordPress 5 Release Candidate is available for testing
  • In our test installation, the Divi theme backend page builder was not accessible when activating WordPress 5.0 with the Gutenberg block-based editor
  • After suppressing Gutenberg with the Classic Editor Plugin, the Divi page builder was available again.

“Give me five” usually has a positive connotation, but many WordPress site owners are not really enthusiastic concerning the upcoming version 5.0 of the world’s most popular content management system. This is due to the huge changes and uncertainties the new release has due to a radical change concerning the most important interface of a CMS, the editor.

Anybody needing to check the consequences which the big upcoming WordPress 5.0 release will have? Now it is the best time to go and try yourself. An official WordPress 5.0 release candidate is available for download and testing.

Screenshot: WordPress 5.0 RC1 and the new standard theme Twenty Nineteen

Screenshot: WordPress 5.0 RC1 and the new standard theme Twenty Nineteen

Included in the new WordPress version 5.0 is the block-based Gutenberg editor which has caused an intense debate. Critics stated that it has many usability also compatibility issues. The official developer team is optimistic and states:

The block editor is used on over a million sites, we think it’s ready to be used on all WordPress sites. We do understand that some sites might need some extra time, though.

WordPress site owners who want to refrain from using Gutenberg

by now are encouraged to install the Classic Editor plugin. Sites using this plugin will continue to use the classic post editor even after upgrading WordPress 5.0.

The public WordPress 5.0 release was previously due on November 27th, 2018.

This date has now shifted “to give more time for the RC to be fully tested” according to the developer team. A final release date, they say in their posting, would be announced “soon, based on feedback on the RC”.

Update on Dec 5th, 2018: WordPress 5.0 will be officially released on Dec. 6th, 2018, as Matt Mullenweg confirmed on Dec. 4th.

The WordPress 5.0 RC can be tested with a special WordPress Beta Tester plugin or by downloading the release candidate as a zip file.

News about the WordPress 5.0 release candidate compatibility with the Divi Theme by Elegantthemes:

Of course, for me as a power user of the Divi multi purpose premium theme by Elegantthenes, it was especially relevant how an install of WordPress 5.0 RC behaves when there is an active Divi theme with a Divi child theme. The reason is that ElegantTheme’s communication about the compatibility was somewhat unclear in the last months. There had been a post in August announcing proudly that there was now “Initial Gutenberg Support” given. But if you read this blog posting carefully and especially the comments, you get the impression that this compatibility was very limited.

In particular, the compability which had been announced by ElegantThemes was only related to the front end editor, not to the Divi page builder in the backend. This was stated by Nick Roach from ET in a short comment:

The Classic Divi Builder is part of the Classic WordPress Editor. If you want to keep using it with WordPress 5.0, you can installed the Classic Editor plugin.

And indeed, this is the only choice anybody working with more complex setups has. The reason is that in a visual editor / front end editor you will always encounter problems and limitations. To use a picture: working on somewhat complex websites only in a front end editor is comparable with repairing a car while driving.

Since August, it has been very quiet from ElegantTheme’s side as far as Divi and Gutenberg are concerned. It will be interesting which updates on this topic they will have in the next weeks.

Meanwhile: What happens if you have an active Divi child theme and upgrade to the current WordPress 5.0 RC? I jumped right into it, and this is what happened:

My initial check of WordPress 5.0 with Divi and a child theme

led to the following conclusion:

  1. When upgrading to WordPress 5.0, the “visual editor” of Divi – which is the front-end editor – seems to be loading. We will yet have to see if it really works reliably.
  2. After the upgrade to WordPress 5.0 RC, the Divi Page Builder editor in test site’s backend was no longer accessible.
  3. After installing and activating the official “Classic Editor Plugin” by Automattic, the well-known classic editor was there again – and the Divi page builder was able to load.
Surpressing Gutenberg for Divi's sake

Suppressing Gutenberg for Divi’s sake

It is not really a big surprise because this was exactly the situation I had expected. I think in the next months I will be using the Classic Editor Plugin in order to remove Gutenberg on the WordPress sites I am taking care of. And I will have a close eye on the discussion in the Divi / ElegantThemes community, because I see a certain tendency in the public statements of ET that the visual editor (front end editor) should be considered as the main working tool in future – not really an option in my point of view because it is far less reliable than the backend page builder.

Written by
Bernhard has been working as a tech editor for 10 years, then became a communications specialist. In 2011, he founded his own agency Lots of Ways. He is blogging and working with WordPress since 2006.

Have your say!

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  1. I agree with your comments, however I would add that Divi clearly wants to transition more to the Visual Builder and sooner than later leave the back-end builder behind. That’s why you have to use the Visual Builder to add certain options now, and those options (such as adding the GDPR option to a contact form) are not being offered in the back-end builder. The back-end builder is more stable and more reliable, but Divi wants use all to use the Visual Builder more and more. Sounds alot like WP/Gutenberg doesn’t it?

    As for WordPress, clearly there are bugs and will continue to be unpredictable bugs as they continue “full speed ahead” at all costs to try to compete more with Wix – despite the fact that Wix is more user-friendly and has huge lead ahead in terms of profitability. Obviously, the plan is for WordPress.org users to have to use something more like WordPress.com whether they want that or not and of course it goes without saying that with such a massive change not being done incrementally as is typically done with big software roll-outs, there will be poor backward compatibility, security issues, and broken formatting issues to work through. One of the most glaring problems with Gutenberg/almost-wix is that it knocks design standards back a decade, with it being virtually impossible to create an agency-level site using just Gutenberg and it would probably take weeks to create a basic blogging site like Medium.

    • Thank you for this comment, Lamont. Sorry that it is published with a delay. I had not seen it due to the many spam comments in our comment moderation queue.


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