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wordpress gutenberg editor update

Meet Gutenberg: The New Editor from WordPress

New and experienced WordPress users alike have impatiently awaited the 2018 release of Gutenberg. What is it and what does it do?

As you may already know, WordPress is an open-source content management system that is used by 24% of all websites. It is the most popular platform on which developers build, design, and maintain their sites. It supports countless types of online content, including blogs, forums, galleries, and online stores. Even if you’re not sure about what WordPress is and how it works, you’ve almost definitely visited many sites that run on it.

Recently, WordPress has announced that it is releasing a very exciting new editing feature. They have aptly named it Gutenberg, after Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press with moveable type.

johannes gutenberg inventor

Although it was released very recently and is still in its early stages, it is already available as a plugin, and will eventually become the default editor when WordPress 5.0 comes out. Let’s talk about what kinds of things it lets you do with your site, and the pros and cons of the editor compared to the older version.

What’s new?

So what exactly is the Gutenberg editor, and what can it do?

You can already create and customise posts and pages in countless ways using the traditional editor in WordPress. However, a lot of more complex, rich layouts require HTML and CSS coding expertise. Now, after about a decade of very little change to the layout of the editor, exciting times are upon us.

WordPress says that the Gutenberg editor will let you do more with less when it comes to designing content on your site. Namely, you need fewer plugins to create modern multimedia layouts, and you can ensure they will look good from all devices. Furthermore, you can actually see what the results will look like while you are editing.

So how does it work? The new editor allows you to work with so-called blocks. Blocks are tools that allow you to add, arrange, and design various types of content. The default blocks allow you to insert text, images, video, audio, quotes, columns, buttons, and so on. (If you’re familiar with Microsoft Powerpoint, it’s sort of like that, but for building web pages.) See how it looks compared to the classic editor for yourself:

wordpress editor comparison

Image by Kinsta

The best thing about the launch of Gutenberg is that you don’t need to be a professional web designer or IT specialist to use it. Blocks mean that you don’t need any elaborate technical knowledge or custom coding skills to design a page that looks exactly how you want it. Even if you didn’t build your own WordPress site, you can now do a lot more by yourself to maintain, alter, and update it.

Pros and Cons

It all sounds very exciting, but as they say, there’s no rose without a thorn. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the brand new Gutenberg editor on WordPress?

Pros:

  • No advanced coding required for complex designs
  • Easily customisable using Blocks
  • Optimised for use on mobile devices
  • Highly visual layout allows immediate preview
  • More screen space while editing
  • You can still restore the Classic Editor as a plugin when Gutenberg becomes the default

Cons:

  • Development stage means many improvements and fixes still required
  • Limited compatibility with highly tailored existing sites (ie shortcodes and metaboxes)
  • Potential problematic backwards compatibility in future

Conclusion

Overall, the negatives associated with Gutenberg have to do with its newness. The biggest concerns among WordPress users include bugs, glitches, and compatibility, all of which are inevitable when an update like this is introduced. We expect these issues to be resolved once more people begin using Gutenberg and communicating about what works and what doesn’t, as well as what is missing and what is extra.

Since Gutenberg is going to become the default editor for WordPress and practically mandatory save for the “classic editor” plugin, thousands of web developers are already using it. This represents a collaborative effort to iron out the wrinkles of the new editing feature. Simultaneously, these WordPress users and developers are getting a head start in the game.

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