Gutenberg is coming to WordPress. What is it?

Project Gutenberg is the new editor that will come to WordPress in the coming months. So let’s explore what it adds and what might be giving you problems once it’s live.

What does it do?

In short, it cleans up the editor and adds blocks.

Blocks can be anything:

  • Images
  • Video files
  • Audio files
  • Embeds
  • etc

This also means that you won’t need shortcodes or plugins for a lot of features and be able to do this directly with blocks. It allows you to style your page at the same time as you write it, directly in the text editor.

And can now be arranged into columns easily from the editor itself.
You can also move blocks around much easier. The ability to share blocks and easily reuse them in other post or pages will also change how people work with their website. It will be possible to have a custom block that once set up you can reuse il all your posts, changing only the information you want to change and keeping the whole layout.

new gutenberg editor in wordpress
A screenshot of the new text editor

Changing text size, colour and more is also much easier on a block by block basis.

So is it perfect and ready to use?

I would say no, but almost:

  • Unless your website relies on plugins that add custom blocks which will then probably mess your website up.
  • Also, backwards compatibility is going to be an issue for a while until plugins and themes support the new features completely.
  • Another thing I would like to see is the ability to either add multiple styles in a block (like a title and then a list) or move multiple blocks at the same time or group them.
  • Navigation in the editor with arrows is also a bit buggy at the moment.
  • If you are used to editing the HTML of your posts you will see much more code than before. Gutenberg adds comments to easily identify blocks but that also adds a lot of “stuff”.

So what now?

If you are in a case where you are using a plugin that allows custom post types, are using a lot of widgets or shortcodes in your post then I would take some time to evaluate if you are still happy with how those work and with the result. If you are happy then don’t go rushing to download the Gutenberg project and stick with the classic editor for a while longer. On the other hand, if you aren’t completely happy, maybe it’s time to rebuild some of those features with the new blocks in Gutenberg.

Further reading on Gutenberg project

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