WPML team is preparing an update with many new features, complete compatibility with WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg. This update will be ready before WordPress 5.0 is out, but probably very close to the WP 5 release date.

WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg

Gutenberg, the new editor for WordPress, is coming to WP 5.0. There have already been a lot of suggestions, opinions and feedback about Gutenberg, but I prefer to focus on what we’re preparing for Gutenberg.

Gutenberg is starting as an “editor”, but is morphing into a page builder and soon a complete “site builder”. This means that people will start writing content AND designing using Gutenberg.

In order to translate conveniently, we created a mechanism that extracts the texts from Gutenberg designs. When you create content with Gutenberg and translate it with WPML, you’ll only need to translate the texts – not recreate the entire design for every language.

See Dario’s video for how it will work:

Other Major Features in WPML 4.1

Besides compatibility with Gutenberg, WPML 4.1 will include a list of other major improvements:

  • A new translation editor (a major upgrade to our Advanced Translation Editor)
  • Much improved Translation Management with simpler UI and faster response
  • A streamlined process for setting up WPML’s Translation Management
  • And more…

We’ll describe each of these when we’re ready with a public version of WPML 4.1.

WPML 4.1 Schedule

This release of WPML is bound to WordPress 5.0’s schedule. We had hoped to have it out already, but WordPress 5.0 is still undergoing significant development. Every week we make our “develop” version of WPML work with the current WordPress “beta”. However, new breaking changes in WP 5.0 (and mainly in Gutenberg) require additional changes from our side.

If we release WPML 4.1 now, it will be compatible with the current development snapshot of WordPress, but will have compatibility problems with the next betas, release candidates and the final WP 5.0 release.

We hope that by the time WordPress 5.0 goes into RC, these changes will slow down and we can offer a version of WPML that you can try.

Our current aim is for a nice beta of WPML 4.1 by the end of next week. If WP 5.0 continues to change, this date will move out as well.

How to Deal with WordPress 5.0 on Production Sites

If you’re creating new sites, you should install the “latest and greatest” version of WordPress, which will be 5.0. However, if you are updating existing sites, we warmly recommend that you do this update with caution. WordPress 5.0 comes with very significant changes. Even if you’re not planning to use Gutenberg right away, the amount of new PHP and Javascript in WP 5.0 means that something can break somewhere.

We recommend that you get a solid confirmation from your theme and all the plugins that you’re using that they’re fully tested with WP 5.0, including when editing with Gutenberg. The fact that every plugin works with the new WordPress is not enough. Changes in plugins may mean compatibility issues between plugins.

Before you update WordPress on your production sites, you should create a staging/development copy of the site and try WP 5.0 on it. Give it a good shake on the WordPress admin and on all front-end pages. Then, update your production sites.

It’s a Hassle, But It’s Time

I have to add my personal 2 cents here. Gutenberg has been a very controversial subject, inviting criticism from all directions. As a company, we’d be happier if the roadmap to including Gutenberg into WordPress would be different. I hope and believe that the WordPress project and ecosystem will easily stand this little tremor. In the long run, I think that many understand the importance of moving WordPress into modern technologies and uniting the editing experience.

No matter what effort it takes from us, WPML will always be ready ahead of time for any WordPress release. It’s more challenging for WordPress 5.0, but this is not a problem.

Feedback? Questions?

Ask in the comments and we’ll get back to you.

12 Responses to “WPML’s Plan for WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg”

  1. For people who are going to stay on WP 4.9.8 for a while and/or keep using the Classic Editor plugin until EOL (Dec 31, 2021), will WPML stay backward compatible?

      • Thanks for this, I came only here to know about this.

        We will stay at 4.x at least for a year or so. Gutenberg is a nice idea and concept, but unfortunately few days before release still a pile of cr*p codewise, full of most basic bugs and a REST API which will – as a side effect – DDoS many shared hosting pretty soon, so no, but thanks.

  2. What about translation to RTL versions (Hebrew) from LTR version (English)?

    Would that also be automatically supported on WP 5? Will it create the translated pages according to a virtual vertical mirror line in the middle of the screen?

    Can the menus be left in place in such LTR to RTL translation (not requiring creating opposite arrow SVG files for example)?

    • I still see some tickets in Gutenberg about RTL editing, like:
      https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/issues/8685

      If you create an English page (LTR) in Gutenberg and translate it with WPML, the page will work fine in Hebrew. However, if you attempt to edit the Hebrew translation with Gutenberg, the editor will probably have some display glitches.

      I hope that the WordPress project will pay enough attention to RTL issues in Gutenberg and handle them before WordPress 5.

      • Website development is close to be finished in LTR English.
        We may use WPML to create the RTL Hebrew version.

        Would we then be able to edit these new RTL Hebrew pages using WP Bakery visual composer?

        Or once we create such RTL Hebrew pages with WPML. we would not have any “guaranteed” way to edit them in the future?

        If needed, any other suggestion how to edit such newly created by WPML RTL Hebrew pages?

        • You can always continue editing translations in WPML’s Translation Editor. This allows you to modify the Hebrew content without the risk of any problems in the visual editor. If Visual Composer has problems with RTL, we can’t fix it for them. Same for Gutenberg. However, to avoid this trouble, we offer you to create and edit the translations in the editor in WPML.

  3. I tried out Gutenberg, did not like it (to say the least) and empathize its critics, but I get why Automaticc is pressured to build & release it (market needs and competition).
    Fully confident though that WPML will be ready for the release of WP 5.0. However like all of us – I’m a bit concerned about the volume of the work we’ll have to put into our websites to make them WP-5.0-compliant. We’re hosting on WordPress.com, so I guess the upgrade to the latest-and-greatest version of WP is inevitable.
    btw, WPML is a fantastic piece of software. Thanks for making a genuinely great product.

    • Thanks for your support. I hope that after all this amount of work to be WP 5 ready is not going to be too bad. We’re still delaying these tests because WP 5 keeps changing. We’ll do it when it moves to Release Candidate and hope that this also means more stability.

  4. For me, Gutenberg looks very similar to Medium.
    Obviously, it will make WordPress more simple for beginners, and that will be more attractive for an even larger spectrum of users.
    And it looks like the WordPress themes might be under the competitive pressure after the release.

  5. I really hope you guys will always give us the ability to edit the design in each language. The idea of editing the strings only is great, but in many cases, the text sizes are different in each language. This is true especially for Headers for example, where we would need to resize it to fit the design.

    • Hello Paul,
      if a theme is well designed the font size doesn’t matter. It should adjust. You are right, there are some languages that have longer headings and strings (for example in German there are lots of long words) but still, a good theme should handle it. Also, if you plan to use your site with one of the RTL languages (Arabic, Hebrew, …) please make sure that your theme supports it. It’s also worth to use a theme that was tested by our Compatibility Team. You will find the full list here: https://wpml.org/documentation/theme-compatibility/

      So to answer your question, designing your theme elements is out of the scope of WPML.

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