WordPress is working on a block editor called Gutenberg!

Categories: WordPress

I have a long and tumultuous relationship with WordPress. All the way back to version 0.7. Then, updates were not nearly as reliable. But WordPress has grown a lot since then. Well, at least everything except the content editor.

Sure, we have a better media manager, Post Meta, Post Formats, Revisions, and all kinds of other superfluous stuff. But by staying the same, WordPress has allowed plugin developers to step in and add a lot of the missing functionality.

This has resulted in a few excellent plugins like Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, and Advanced custom fields. These are great examples of go-to plugins for everyday use.

But where WordPress has lacked the most is the writing experience. They have OK support for Markdown if you want to craft it your self without preview. They have had the default TinyMCE editor for what seems like a decade. Plugin developers have stepped in and created Block Editors or Visual Editors that allow theme developers to create beautiful layouts that content writers can populate and customize without the need to even look at template code.

I can see the value for designers, and organizations who want to create content fast that looks good and protects their branding guidelines.

I personally do not use block editors like Visual Composer, honestly because I never took the time to step into their code and see how they really work. The type of sites I build are heavier on custom content blocks than I would care to ever attempt at building with a block Editor.

That, however, is all about to change.

Introducing Gutenberg

The WordPress team has been working on a new project called
Gutenburg. Johannes Gutenberg is credited with the creation of Movable Type. A fitting name for the new editor as it focuses on adding and reformatting content blocks in the WordPress content area.

The goal of the block editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable.

Getting Started

You can view the project on GitHub here and see the demo here.

Keeping in mind that Gutenburg is still in Beta and after I installed it, It does seem very early. The overall experience is not too bad. Its performance seemed very slow and sluggish. It also had some compatibility issues with ACF so I was not possible for me to use it past a simple post.

It also appears to be built using React, which is nice to see. But the media manager is still built using Backbone. So I would love to see if the media manager will be readdressed down the road because it seems really heavy to sue both React and Backbone on the same page.

Final thoughts

Early signs are looking promising, but I would like to see how you build your own custom blocks. Whether or not you like it. The blocks are also built using React. Seeing how that development process plays into theme development will be interesting as there is already a confusing and murky process now around PHP Packages coming from Composer.

The ability to choose Gutenberg for say certain pages, or blog posts but disable it for others would be ideal.

I would also like to see the ability to disable some of the Embeds like Kickstarter, Animoto, CollegeHumor, and DailyMotion.

It would also be nice to have the ability to set custom styles in WordPress without editing code. Choosing repeatable background styles or header colours independent of the theme.

What excites you the most about Gutenburg?

Do you think it’s a step in the right direction?

Adam Patterson

Adam Patterson

User Interface Designer & Developer with a background in UX. I have spent 5 years as a professionally certified bicycle mechanic and ride year-round.

I am a husband and father of two, I enjoy photography, music, movies, coffee, and good food.

You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!