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As the new version of WordPress is preparing to launch, it’s time to take a look at its newest addition. For those who create content in the popular management system, prepare for what the Gutenberg Editor is going to bring to the platform. Is it worth your time?
From my perspective, it’ll be one of the first things I disable once the new version of WordPress is released.
What is the Gutenberg Editor?
The Gutenberg Editor drastically alters the editing platform of WordPress. Instead of using a visual or text field to input content, you’ll have to adapt to a block-style layout.
Titles, headers, paragraphs and even images are contained within separate blocks to “help” bring WordPress into today’s world.
But is it something that users really want, or is it something developers are trying to push onto creators by force?
Why You Would Want the Gutenberg Editor
Before WordPress 5.0, the Gutenberg Editor was available as a separate plugin. Those who wanted to use the block-style system could easily add it to their websites through the plugin manager in WordPress.
Now it’s going to be a required addition.
In reality, I don’t see how the editor will be of great benefit especially to seasoned WordPress users. While it may be easier to use from a mobile device, a lot of its “features” seem more like hindrances in the long run.
While I can see the value of the tool from the perspective of a new user, it’s definitely something that should stay as an optional plugin.
It just seems more of a mess of options and customization settings than it is efficient.
Visual Control of Elements
I can understand how some people may like the visual control for customizing content. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can do anything from change the font color to adding your own CSS coding.
Unfortunately, I don’t know if the value of visual control is enough for developers to really get into the Gutenberg Editor.
Editing Separate Elements of the Content
Users of Gutenberg can edit each segment of content separate from the others. For example, you can easily make the font of one paragraph something completely different from another. You can make fine-tuning adjustments to text without interacting with the rest of the post.
Technically, you can do that now with the use of TinyMCE Advanced or through HTML in the Text editor. However, the Gutenberg editor makes this aspect a bit easier – especially for new website developers.
Not everyone has a strong handle of HTML or CSS.
Notable Features of the Plugin
What fuels my concern about this project is the overwhelmingly negative reviews that are coming about the platform.
I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible. But I’ve had nothing but bad experiences using this new editor. And believe me when I say I tried to like it.
One thing I can say that’s positive about the Gutenberg Editor is the ability to easily move blocks of content. For instance, you can grab a specific paragraph, image or even affiliate banner block and move it to a new location relatively quick.
This is somewhat ideal for those who experiment with things like ad placements or further engaging visitors while using heatmaps. This way, you don’t have to worry about copy and paste while making profound changes to the content.
When trying to create a post in the Gutenberg Editor, I found a lot of settings are scattered around the system. Instead of everything I need located in a top tool bar, I now have settings in each block as well as the side window.
This greatly reduces efficiency and adds more time to create content, especially from someone who spends a great deal of time in the Text editor of WordPress as it is.
Editing Platform is Thinner
One of the things that stands out to many is how the editing platform is much thinner while using Gutenberg. There is a lot of empty white space when creating your posts or pages.
It’s almost like the developers were purposely trying to slim down the editing field to fit mobile devices. I don’t know if this is the case, but it doesn’t make much sense for me to reduce the width of the editing system.
Problems with Various Plugins
The Gutenberg Editor is going to cause a myriad of problems with certain plugins. One that springs to mind is Yoast SEO.
Originally, Yoast will show a rating system while you create content to determine if it’s prime for SEO. However, Gutenberg hides this feature as a separate tool. Instead of knowing at a glance whether content is structured well, it now requires an extra step to see results.
Disabling the Editor
Because of the negative reaction the Gutenberg Editor has among WordPress users, it’s not surprising someone created both a disabling plugin as well as a “classic editor” plugin to offset Gutenberg.
I’m not exactly sure how well the disabling plugin will work once WordPress 5.0 goes live, but I’ll be using it on the first day.
Many Blocks to Choose From
One of the saving graces of Gutenberg is probably the support it has for many different kinds of blocks. It has a wide range of embeds, formats and common tools which may improve how others input content.
But in reality, a lot of these really don’t do much. For example, the Facebook URL embed only lets you place the URL of the Facebook page. It does nothing fancy from what I can see, which makes it quite useless other than a text input field.
However, some of the other tools might have greater use to creators…just not myself.
Would I Use it On My Sites?
In reality, the Gutenberg Editor seems more like the advancement no one asked for. It’s trying too hard to be a visual block-style editor as you would see in things like Wix or even SiteOrigin’s Page Builder.
With the sheer amount of hatred being thrown its way, I am shocked that WordPress developers are pushing forward to force users into it.
For myself, I only fix something if it’s broken. The current, or “classic,” method for editing content works perfectly for me. Why would I need to change it? The small bonuses behind this plugin are simply not worth the aggravation in my opinion.
With that being said, it’s safe to assume that I will do everything possible to disable Gutenberg Editor from my own installation of WordPress.
It’s just not that good of a tool to warrant forcing people to use it. Keep the Gutenberg Editor a plugin, where users can choose the tool if they want.
Ease of Use8.0/10
- Easy-ish to understand interface.
- Easy to move content blocks around.
- Easy to disable through plugins.
- Will negatively affect a lot of plugins for creating content.
- Takes longer to create content.
- Settings are scattered among various tabs and tools.