Obligatory Gutenberg Post

If you haven’t heard, Gutenberg dropped last week. What is Gutenberg? Gutenberg is the new editor experience that debuted in WordPress 5.0, which officially launched into core on December 6th.

Drawing of Johannes Gutenberg
Johannes Gutenberg

There’s been a lot of talk about Gutenberg in the last year, with good reason. This is one of the most substantial changes made to WordPress core in a long time, and they’ve been working hard on it. There’s a lot of controversy over it too, which I am mostly going to steer clear of for this post and focus on how it works and what this means going forward.

Gutenberg, also called the block editor, is an upgrade to the basic visual editor in WordPress which allows you to edit your posts and pages using blocks. So instead or just adding in your text and uploading images, you can add all sorts of things and make all kinds of changes to your posts or page. It’s an entirely different editing experience. A few months ago, I had Elise give it a test run and write a blog post about her experience using it as a non-developer. You can read that here

Essentially, you can drag and drop “blocks” into your editing window that do different things. You can add text blocks and image blocks, video blocks, list blocks, gallery blocks, widget blocks, social media embed blocks, and many more, including loads of blocks available that are being developed for use by third parties. This give the everyday user a lot more options for content and styles.

I’ve been a long-time user of Beaver Builder, which is one of many page builders that have been around for a while. So the question for me is, what does Gutenberg’s block editor give me that Beaver Builder doesn’t? I’m not sure I have an answer for that. I’m going to have to spend more time to weigh the pros and cons. But because of my use of Beaver Builder, I haven’t been too excited to try out Gutenberg. 

If you’re one of my support clients, then currently, nothing is going to change for you. I installed the Classic Editor, a plugin that will override Gutenberg and keep your site running as it is. For those who do edit their site, this will keep it familiar and easy to manage. 

For my own site, I had a choice. I knew that if I added the Classic Editor plugin, I would never use Gutenberg. And as someone who is likely going to be building websites for clients in the future, when potentially that Classic Editor is no longer available (I believe a promised period of maintenance was until 2021, so there’s time) but eventually, it’s going to go away. So in an effort to force myself to use and learn it, I did not install the classic editor on this site.

I am currently writing this post using the new block editor. Here’s what I can say so far. I like the text editing layout. It’s nice. But honestly, I haven’t used anything else because my blog posts are primarily made up of text and images. For fun, I’m going to try out a few blocks below.

The block editor has column layouts, so I can layout text in multiple columns if I want,

This is a nice feature for blog posts, which I don’t use the Beaver Builder editor on.

It also has a nice button block, so I can make a button that allows the user to easily request a quote. I would like a few more options for these buttons, but for the new user this would be quite easy.

There are a lot of ramifications of this new way of editing, and I haven’t worked them all out today. But my dedication to WordPress means that Gutenberg will be a part of my future, which means my head is officially out of the sand.

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Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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