What is Gutenberg Phase 3?

Matt Mullenweg introduced the Gutenberg project at WordCamp US in late 2016.

If you want a big picture overview of why Gutenberg was built, I recommend Matt's post, “We Called it Gutenberg for a Reason“.

We are nearly 4 years into the project now, and are not yet half-way through. The Gutenberg project is split into 4 phases and we're currently in Phase 2.

In this post, I'll introduce the different phases of Gutenberg, with a particular focus on Phase 3 because that's most important for PublishPress users.

This image from Matt is an overview of the four phases:

  1. Easier editing: Completed, December 2018.
  2. Customization: In progress and possibly complete by the end of 2020.
  3. Collaboration: Due to start after Phase 2 finishes.
  4. Multilingual: Due in 2023, perhaps.
Phase 3 of the Gutenberg project

Gutenberg Phase 1: Easier editing

Phase 1 was about building the Gutenberg editor. The editor was first released as a plugin, and it was then integrated with WordPress 5.0.

Gutenberg Phase 2: Customization

Phase 2 is currently underway and the focus is on expanding Gutenberg from posts to the whole site. Instead of simply being able to use Gutenberg for writing, you'll soon be able to use Gutenberg for logos, sidebars, headers, footers and more.

Your logo? That will be an image block. Your homepage? That may be a grid block. Your menus? Those could be navigation blocks.

In October 2019, Matt outlined the current progress with Gutenberg. I've embedded Matt's presentation below. Fast forward to the 1 hour mark to see the Gutenberg portion.

This image below shows the specific plan for Gutenberg Phase 2. As I write in mid-2020, the WordPress team have made progress on the underlying code, but several key features are not released yet.

The current state of Gutenberg in November 2019

Gutenberg Phase 3: Collaboration

Here's Matt's description of Phase 3:

[This] is where we take everything that you see in Gutenberg and make it so that you can real-time co-edit with anyone else who is editing the same things you are.

Matt has talked often about wanting Google Docs-style collaborative editing in WordPress.

Phase 3 is due to start in 2021 and may bring collaborative editing, dynamic comments on posts, and more. We may also see Media Manager improvements in Phase 3.

Here at PublishPress, we're particularly interested in Phase 3, because it fits in with our vision of making WordPress the best choice for publishers.

We're building the future of PublishPress around Gutenberg.

  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of PublishPress. He's been working with open source software for over 20 years. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. This profile is generated by the PublishPress Authors plugin.


  1. The future of Gutenberg is looking quite exciting, especially phase 3. As a wiki enthusiast this will be an amazing addition to allowing people to work together to craft detailed pages and ease the work load. Annotations (collaboration comment) for Revisions Pro on specific parts of a post would be a dream come true. This way if someone writes a collaboration comment for a specific paragraph, the post owner could see exactly where the suggestion is, hover the comment for a compare button which shows between the suggested text and how it looks currently. Let’s say 4 out of 6 of the suggested comments from someone were good and the other 2 were not fitting, the 4 could be approved. Of course this would also make the process specific and easy to manage.

    1. Thanks Josh. We’re definitely looking at adding comments to Revisions.

      We’re going to support and use all the goodies in Phase 3. So if these collaborative comments are built, we’ll support them too.

  2. Ok Thanks. We are looking for features like: Track changes and collaborative editing. Is there a rough outlook when this will be available?

    1. Hi Florian. “Track changes” sounds like Revisions which is part of WordPress now. “Collaborative editing” may be the key piece of Stage 3, so perhaps late 2021 or in 2022.

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