Gutenberg is on its way! I am, of course, talking about the new block editor that is due for release with WordPress 5.0 estimated to arrive later this year. At the moment it’s a plugin to try out, but at some point soon it will become THE editor you use in WordPress to create posts and pages. It replacing the classic editor that has served WordPress for many years. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been using the new Gutenberg editor on this website and others, so I thought it was about time that I posted some thoughts about what the new editor has to offer for WordPress users and my thoughts on Gutenberg so far.
At the time of writing, I’m using v3.5 of the Gutenberg plugin with the updates and improvements to the plugin coming in at a very brisk pace. The plugin installs easily enough and provides users with the ability to create or edit posts and pages. It also comes with an option for editing with the classic editor if required. Out of the box, the plugin integrates pretty well with no theme or plugin conflicts. Several posts have been created using Gutenberg (including this one) but so far only a couple of pages have been edited with Gutenberg. Gutenberg provides a clean, modern-looking user interface with the functionality to quickly put together posts or pages. Having used WordPress for nearly ten years, I have to say that changes to the editor have been long overdue. A good article explaining what to expect in Gutenberg can be found HERE.
Gutenberg is a block editor which replaces the open text window of the old classic editor in WordPress. It’s the biggest change in WordPress’ fifteen-year history and just the first stage in a series of changes coming to WordPress. Text, images, layout elements and more are contained within multiple blocks that can be dynamically moved about. Blocks can also be added by other plugins providing a simple way to add a Woocommerce store or an Instagram feed to a post or page without the need for shortcodes. Blocks are still evolving but the potential for page editing and layouts looks to be huge, once developers start implementing block functionality into their themes and plugins. The text and images on the pages of this website, for example, will probably need converting over, at some point, to blocks to get to best out of WordPress in the new Gutenberg era.
Gutenberg has not been universally welcomed with open arms. In fact, it appears to be loved and loathed in equal measure, depending on where you look on the internet. At the time of writing, the Gutenberg plugin and the Classic Editor plugin (which ‘restores the previous WordPress editor and the Edit Post screen and makes it possible to use the plugins that extend it, add old-style meta boxes, or otherwise depend on the previous editor‘) have 100,000+ active installations each. While Gutenberg may be due to replace the classic editor this year, it will probably take another year or two (maybe even longer!) for Gutenberg to become firmly established with users. Only time will tell. Compatibility will be a factor in the take-up numbers, which will likely be influenced by how quickly developers update themes and plugins to integrate with Gutenberg fully.
So with WordPress moving over to the new block editor, what does Gutenberg offer the photographer? Well, the block editor makes adding images and video a much quicker and intuitive process. WordPress galleries can be added equally as fast. Even embedding video from YouTube or Vimeo is as simple as selecting the specific embed block, adding the link and clicking the embed button. Plugins developers will also be able to add blocks i.e the Instagram gallery above was added using a new block created by the developer Elfsight in a recent update to their excellent Instagram plugin. So far only two plugins on this website, Woocommerce and Elfsight Instagram feed, have block support but more will follow in the coming weeks and months.
It’s still early days but Gutenberg is looking encouraging. How the editor will be received when it is finally added to WordPress core is still subject to question, but the fact remains that the new editor is here to stay. Blocks are the future.
If you’d like to have a look at the new Gutenberg editor without using the plugin, an interactive demo of the editor can be found at the official Gutenberg information site at https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/
If you’d like to try the Gutenberg plugin then that can be found in the plugins depository at https://wordpress.org/plugins/gutenberg/