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Gutenberg: a new editor in WordPress version 5.0

The WordPress community has been working on a new project for quite a while: Gutenberg. The intention is for Gutenberg to become the new visual editor within the WordPress CMS. This way WordPress can compete with platforms such as Medium, Wix and other website builders that offer front-end editors.

Gutenberg is a new editor for WordPress. The plugin is named after Johannes Gutenberg, who is seen as the inventor of printing in Europe.

Gutenberg
Screenshot of Gutenberg in WordPress.org

Would you like to see Gutenberg in action? If you haven’t yet; the video below (from minute 3:00) gives a good impression of ​​how Gutenberg works.

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Gutenberg in WordPress 5.0?

If you follow the latest news about WordPress or have visited a WordCamp last year, chances are you’ve heard about Gutenberg. A while ago it was only possible to download Gutenberg in the form of a plugin. Now it is fully introduced as part of the new WordPress version. To some folks, Gutenberg’s introduction hasn’t brought only joy and ease of work. Fortunately, it’s still possible to switch back to the old editor, by downloading a plugin such as this one.

Reading recommendation: We Called it Gutenberg for a Reason by Matt Mullenweg.

The first development step back in 2018

According to the plugin page on WordPress.org there are three “steps” in which Gutenberg was developed. Step one adding Gutenberg to the WordPress Core. This has already happened in April-May 2018. This step focuses on editing messages and pages. Content will now, thanks to the introduction of Gutenberg, created on the basis of “blocks”. We will share more information about this later on. Steps two and three followed later on, which had less impact on the visuals. Now let’s look at the blocks.

Blocks

Gutenberg works with so-called Blocks. These blocks are elements that you can “drag” on a page or in a message. These blocks can be used for cases that now require shortcodes, widgets, theme options and other formatting functions. Fortunately, this does not mean that shortcodes will no longer work, only that their necessity will decrease over time. In addition to blocks, that are by standard included in WordPress, you can also add your own blocks to a theme or a plugin.

Gutenberg Block
Gutenberg BlockExample of a Block with its settings (via WordPress.org)

Advantages of Gutenberg

The advantages of a project like Gutenberg speak more or less for themselves. Still, we’d like to list a number of important benefits.

The visual editor of WordPress has been unchanged for years. Everything in this editor works fine, but it is not always easy – especially for beginners. With Gutenberg, WordPress becomes more intuitive for new users (slightly comparable to the drag-and-drop methods of Wix and Squarespace).

Another advantage: in my (recent) experiments with Gutenberg good and clean HTML5 always came out. The content you make with Gutenberg will therefore be ‘future proof’ and work well in all major browsers.

Good news for developers: you get the option to create you own “Blocks”. This way large websites can also make use of Blocks in a convenient way.

The cons

Of course there are also a number of risks and cons connected to a big innovation such as Gutenberg. For example, Gutenberg is much less suitable for actually writing content. Frequent bloggers will, in most cases, need time to getting the hang of it.

In addition, certain simple tasks can take slightly longer in the Gutenberg work environment. One aspect stands out: the icons that are used in Gutenberg can cause confusion. On smaller screens you may also face a downside of Gutenberg’s ease of use.

Another major disadvantage is that you can no longer add shortcodes to paragraphs. Therefore you’d need to use the so-called “Shortcode Block”. But, no need to worry too much: your existing content (with shortcodes) will continue to work.

Like the disadvantage with the shortcodes, you neither no longer be able to add images to your paragraphs. “Images” get their own Block in Gutenberg. The same applies to videos you’d like to share from YouTube, Vimeo, and others.

What are your personal experiences with Gutenberg? Feel free to share!

Roger Overdevest

Owner of WPLounge.nl, the biggest Dutch blog about WordPress.

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