This all started when I was searching for inspiration on what to write about this month. I was sure to write some nice tutorial, I know people do like them and they are really useful. But when I contacted Luis, he asked me.. Did you hear about the Gutenberg controversy? Why don’t you write about that?
Curious enough I went to the Gutenberg plugin page on WordPress and found out very quickly it was the next step in the WordPress editor. Gutenberg is in beta as a plugin but will gonna be added to WordPress Core later as the default editor. After watching the plugin page I found out why there was such a controversy…
A huge amount of bad reviews, bad comments and more than 73 reviews with a 1 star rating. Surely something must had gone terribly wrong for so many people to just hate this new editor so much. The challenge was accepted. I started the installation of the new Gutenberg plugin on my own blog… Now, let’s find out together what this is all about.
The Gutenberg Editor is super easy to install, only a click away and once active it will show up as an alternative to the standard editor. This is something that is “alternative” as long as the editor is in beta because, from what I read about it, it’s going to get implemented as the default editor once Gutenberg comes out of beta…
The first look is somewhat weird and probably shocking to someone like me, who is used to the standard WordPress editor, and the first thing we notice is the block structure.
The Editor now works as block modules. Remember when you type a text in WordPress and then press enter and immediately afterwards you add a Heading?. That will involve 2 blocks in the new Gutenberg Editor… a Paragraph Block and a Heading Block.
And what about adding a picture, or a gallery? Those are blocks two. Gutenberg now behaves as a block editor and each piece of content, be it HTML, text, titles, videos, images or galleries… are blocks. Immediately after working with Gutenberg you start to realize the potential this new editor has, because each block of text is a separate block that works as a block, you’re free to move it up or down the line. The same with pictures, galleries, titles and any block you add.
Gutenberg provides the basic blocks you’re used to handle on the standard WordPress Editor, with added blocks such as the Featured Blog, which will show a picture with a center text.
Extra blocks are added for more easy handling of content, such as Social Network blocks, Youtube, Vimeo and a vast array of video blocks for easy video insert, or the new Gallery block that will easily create a justified gallery like the one we now have on Jetpack.
Adding a standard block like the one in the default WordPress Editor is still possible, but, somewhat hidden in the Classic Text block. The beauty of the new Gutenberg Editor is that all the main blocks you use are piled up in the Recent Blocks for easy access, making a blog entry so much easier to make.
One of the most vile and rudimentary bugs of the actual WordPress Editor is the inhability to separate blocks properly. Whenever you add a picture or gallery you have to have extreme caution not to erase it by mistake when adding text, also text can get mixed up with gallery links, it’s basically a disaster.
Users who, like me, work with the actual WordPress editor, spend 50% of the time adjusting text, trying not to mess with titles, removing parts without breaking galleries… And since there is no indication whatsoever when a paragraph ends and when a video or gallery block starts, having a new editor that does blocks separation is almost like godsend. Believe me when I say this, I work from 4 to 6 hours straight, from Monday to Friday, inside the WordPress Editor… Gutenberg is almost revolutionary in the way it handles content, it makes the life of editors, magazine and blog writers so much easier.
The standard editor is still there, and Gutenberg even provides an HTML block. The beauty of Gutenberg is that you can actually ignore it and write your whole article inside a standard Classic Text, but I’m sure you won’t want to do that once you discover how easy is to separate all your sections and move blocks up and down for easy customization.
Gutenberg does not end here, you have easy access to basic controls like font size, colors, block alignment and background color. This can work alongside tables for example, for easy building of comparison tables, you can now do 2 columns text blocks and buttons, you can put emphasis on the first letter to improve aesthetics and format blocks with ease. Gutenberg works very similar in how current frameworks for building websites work. People that use Elementor or Divi will find the new Gutenberg Editor very straightforward.
In the above example you can see how buttons and tables are created, with a new block type and without messing up the rest of the blocks.
The actual code…
Gutenberg works exactly like Divi, when you edit the actual code, you’ll see that Gutenberg add tags for each block you specify in the HTML code.
This is a good thing because Gutenberg will allow website builders to quickly customize each block of the blog posts to their hearts content without having to mess with the actual theme code. And if this editor goes into Core, your customizations will work across all your WordPress installations without depending on a specific theme.
Some potential problems
Of course, Gutenberg is not just nice and shinny, there are some potential problems that may arise. The prime problem could be the usability of old and current plugins that depend on the current editor to insert new buttons, as well as the ones that depend on the use of shortcodes. Those may or may not work with the new Gutenberg editor, and WordPress will need to evaluate how to properly implement this new editor so as to not break compatibility with such a vast array of plugins. This is something that will forever exist in technology, all change demand adjustments.
I find the fact that so many people hate Gutenberg a little disturbing. Gutenberg is just great, and there is no other way around it. Block separation is just a brilliant idea, and people who are used to deal with the horrible outdated WordPress Editor will absolutely love the new Gutenberg Editor. The only probably answer to why so many people hate it is the same reason people hate stuff these days.. They hate change.
Market is built on change, you cannot evolve without changing stuff, and the WordPress Editor was in need of a change for some time now. Gutenberg Editor is a step in the right direction for WordPress. I even heard people say they were going to go back to Joomla once Gutenberg was out. For those I say.. please by all means, go back to Joomla. If going back is your thing… do it… without hesitation. For those who love change and are tired of the same old WordPress Editor, Gutenberg promises a bright future for WordPress. If you feel the need to try it yourself, you can do so, hassle free, downloading the plugin and creating a fresh post with Gutenberg.
What do you think of the new Gutenberg Editor? Let’s hear your opinions in the comments below.