It’s 2020 and WordPress’s Gutenberg editor is here to stay. If you’re like me, you may have been avoiding it using WordPress’s handy “Classic Editor” plugin, which gives you the old editor back… but let’s be real… that’s not going to work forever and we should probably start using Gutenberg.
So first, what is the Gutenberg Editor?
As of WordPress 5.0, which was released back in December of 2018, Gutenberg is the default editor for all new WordPress posts. Taken straight from the WordPress Developer Handbook:
“Gutenberg” is the name of the project to create a new editor experience for WordPress. The goal is to create a new post and page editing experience that makes it easy for anyone to create rich post layouts. This was the kickoff goal:
The editor will endeavour to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.
Key takeaways include the following points:
- Authoring richly laid-out posts is a key strength of WordPress.
- By embracing blocks as an interaction paradigm, we can unify multiple different interfaces into one. Instead of learning how to write shortcodes and custom HTML, or pasting URLs to embed media, there’s a common, reliable flow for inserting any kind of content.
- “Mystery meat” refers to hidden features in software, features that you have to discover. WordPress already supports a large number of blocks and 30+ embeds, so let’s surface them.
Gutenberg is being developed on GitHub under the WordPress organization, and you can use it today — available in the plugin repository.
Make sense? Yeah, it didn’t to me either. Basically, it’s a block editor that you can use without installing a block editor theme like Divi or Elementor on your WordPress site. At face level it’s super powerful and a full year later, we’re just starting to scratch the surface of just how powerful it is.
When would I use the Gutenberg Editor instead of, say, Divi?
Well… rarely, to be honest. Divi gives you a lot more freedom in it’s blocks and columns, so if that’s your goal there you have it. However, there are situations where you could use the Divi to build the theme elements of the page in its new Theme Builder, and then import the content of the blog posts in using the Gutenberg editor.
You could use that scenario in a lot of different way, but the way I find it most often used is blogs. When writing a blog post, you don’t always want it to be the most unique thing a user has ever seen… Honestly, you probably just want the content to be in the same spot on each blog post and for there to be a fairly straightforward way to get from post to post. That’s a perfect use-case for the Gutenberg Editor + Divi combo! And that’s actually how this blog is managed today. :)
But I hate it…
Well, look.. You have options. You don’t have to use the Gutenberg Editor if you have a website built using Divi or any other page-editor plugin. The Divi editor, for example, completely replaces the Gutenberg editor with its own, much more powerful, page builder experience. But coming from someone that hated it day launch day, it’s not so bad. It honestly grew on me while working on a project a few months back and I think now that I understand it a bit more, I can definitely start to see where it will really change the game.
In my opinion, page builder themes and plugins really were created to solve a single problem: columns. Columns were notoriously difficult to create inside of the context of a blog post or web page. We used to do some nonsense to make them work, like putting each part of a page in a Widget… A WIDGET! Or custom fields inside of a page.. Man. Things were tough back then… But now with the Gutenberg editor you can make those columns without needing to jump through all those hoops.
So yeah, hands down this Gutenberg Editor is a huge improvement from what we had in the past and I’m excited to see where it grows from here.