By now you may have heard the phrase ‘Gutenberg Project’ within the WordPress community. It’s been floating about for some time but the first prototype aimed at improving WordPress editor was unveiled only recently. Many contributors and volunteers have been working on the new Gutenberg WordPress editor behind the scenes for the past 6+ months. Their goal? To make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. Today we will dive into the new editor and discuss some of its features.
What is Gutenberg?
The editor part of WordPress is one of the most fundamental parts of the CMS. This is the place where you create interesting content that keeps users coming back to your site. The continual improvement of this part of WordPress would only make sense. Thankfully, a dedicated team are currently working on a new form of editor which is solely tasked with improving the user interface and experience.
The new design involves a block-like layout which brings, even more, functionality for the novice WordPress user. Although it’s still in the early stages of development, the current set up works using blocks which handle each and every post element. These can be arranged very easily and you’ll enjoy a huge selection of formatting options for each block. You’ll also be able to easily move both the images and text while inserting headings, lists and quotes as you would do in the current editor.
If you compare Gutenberg side by side to the current editor WordPress uses you can see just how much more writing space Gutenberg offers, particularly on smaller screens. To switch between the visual editor mode and text editor (code), there is now a dropdown in the top left. When you highlight over a block, there are options to easily move it up or down with the arrows, delete it, or go into the settings of the block.
Some pros and cons to Gutenberg at the moment
Here are a few pros we found with using the current Gutenberg editor:
- Gutenberg provides a less distracting experience with more screen space.
- Already works great on mobile, and going forward we can actually see people utilising this a lot more. Need to make a quick edit on your phone while on the go? No problem.
- The ability for theme and plugin developers to create their own custom blocks.
- Easy to use for beginners.
And now some cons we found using the current editor:
- Doesn’t support custom plugin meta boxes such as Yoast SEO yet. This alone makes it unusable in production right now. But it is understandable as plugin developers will now have to start testing integrations with the Gutenberg editor.
- With so many themes and plugins out there, backwards compatibility is going to be a huge issue going forward.
- Doesn’t support responsive columns yet. A lot of times this is a reason people install visual builder plugins or shortcode plugins, is to get the column feature alone.
Overall we were impressed with the Gutenberg editor in its current state. Although still in beta form it shows an incredible amount of hope for the future. It would be our recommendation to download it from the WordPress repository (link below) and install it on a dev site and give it a go. The designers are looking for as much feedback and assistance as possible so don’t be afraid to download it and share your thoughts!
Download Link: https://wordpress.org/plugins/gutenberg/