Gutenberg is the new project set to be included in WordPress Core and it should be “helping people write content, build websites, and design them in a better way”. Question is: does it? Will it help to edit better, faster? Will it help in designing a better WordPress website?
What’s all the fuss about with the Gutenberg Editor from WordPress?
Many people don’t like the new editor that WordPress wants to include in the core code of as off version 5.0. There’s more to this than only a new editor. WordPress will change overall. It will become a totally different system for Content Management in time. This is a development with many possible pro’s but also a lot con’s. Fot example: the costs for businesses will be millions of dollars (training users!) if they wish to stick to WordPress. It will, in the end, be the end of WordPress as we know it and have grown to love.
But let’s start with Gutenberg.. And put it to the test.
I did three tests simulating normal WordPress use (see the Use Cases below) and made screenrecordings of them. At the end I’m giving my final thoughts (last 15 minutes). If you want to skip to that, click here, it’s around the 49th minute mark.
For this test I used basic use cases.
— posting a new article (writing an article, copy-paste from a text editor)
— editing an existing article (post, page).
— Convert an existing post to Gutenberg and edit it.
— installing and updating plugins, afterwards testing (regression test)
— creating a new media-rich post (images, video).
— editing pages created with a site builder
— Linux Mint 18.3
— FireFox 61.0.1 64-bit, Chromium 68.0.3440.106
— CPU: Intel i3/550 3.2Ghz;
— RAM: 16GB
— Website on a live Linux server (Linux Debian 8, PHP 7.x, MariaDB, 16GB RAM, 4-core and so on);
— Website hosted on a XAMPP local server (on my testcomputer).
The below are the results of the testing.
— Seems to be working with a standard template;
— Old posts can be edited. It will show the classic editor;
— converting old posts and pages to the new editor basicly works;
— Shortcodes are in a separate block and still work.
CON’S / TEST REMARKS
— alignment of images is not correct. The header image is fine (full width), other images aligned right or left do align to the borders of the post, but inline posts of images at full width/center do not align full width but are smaller.
— Editor is not a true WYSIWYG editor
— hard to decide if text is a header or not (SEO!?) when using the “text settings” buttons. Why are they here in the first place? Since if you add new blocks it defaults (so it seems) to a header (at least, it does sometimes.. but not always. This is unstable).
— [publish] button only works when you click outside first block you’re editing. Only after that you can publish..
— to publish you need to click on the publish button twice(!!). That is pretty awkward. If you ask me this indicates there’s a programming issue with this function or probably a design decision that is, if you ask me, in error. When publishing content (save content), you should not need to click twice to do so.
— pages are now also named ‘posts’.. why? Very weird. Clearly there’s a difference between pages and posts, so don’t use the same name for this.
— HTML editing: you cannot access HTML for the full page but only for one block. This should be full page HTML since that would make search/replace easier (as it was before). For example for URL’s in a post. It’s what you expect when editing HTML. This is a design decision based on some assumption on how people work with text and WordPress making it harder to use for designers and writers.
— the “button bar” above posts should stay as it was, do not move stuff to the sidebar. Very disturbing for the workflow. Many options are now very hard to find, some are (still) missing. Some options that were at the side of a post in the classic editor setup are now extremely hard to find or perhaps gone? I haven’t been able to find them or only after searching long and hard. The bar above posts is as most wordprocessors work. Keep it that way, since it’s what people are familiar with!
— When editing colors you cannot use HEX code(?). So it’s impossible to get the exact same colors in your pages/posts as used in the theme.
— some buttons make you think they have certain functions, but they don’t. Like the “undo” button. I was mistaken it for a “back” button…
— Preview sometimes totally messes up your website. It shows something in between the mobile version of the website and a website that has been messed up badly.
— the featured image all of the sudden has a line around it when posting to a news page — older posts didn’t have this. So it interferes with the theme settings (CSS?) after all.. It doesn’t add this line around previous posts featured image.
— converting an existing page (with images) to the new format destroys the layout. Images that were aligned, for example, right or left, are now centered. It also resizes the images (so previous settings have gone lost as far as size is concerned). If you have a lot of images on a page, this is a pesky task setting them back to the original size, if even possible since you don’t know what the original settings were.
— installing a new plugin. The functionality (Gallery) is totally ignored by Gutenbgerg
— No options to use the ‘gallery’ as a real gallery (as in “pop-out”);
— The gallery defaults to settings that are outdated and ugly imho. But using the plugin has been made impossible.
— When combining pictures with video (Youtube) they do not align correct. Gallery = full width, video is not. I have not found an option to resize the video size in a post. In the Gutenberg Editor, however, it looks fine. On the published post it doesn’t, it’s pretty ugly..
— The text below a video does not align centered, even when the block is clicked ‘center’ alignment. It centers on the page, but the video doesn’t. The border around the video is, however, full width.. Clearly a design programming error.
— the embed code doesn’t have any options (that I know off) to change the size of a youtube video. While Gutenberg aims to not bother people with HTML (good idea) in this case it should be more robust or allow me to do true HTML editing to fix this issue.
— hard and often very awkward to use, not user friendly;
— lot’s of extra clicking. That’s obsolete! It also shows there are programming issues that need to be fixed.
— still many issues and bugs (do not take my word for it, check the support pages and Github);
— I simply do not like how it works and ‘feels’. It disturbs my workflow;
— It is very unclear what the “editing area” is. The classic editor was giving you a “page” feel where you could edit.
— For writing a piece of text it is unstuiable. As a ‘design tool’ not there yet, not by far.
PROJECT GUTENBERG ON WORDPRESS
The project is, if you ask me, a waste of time. Smart developers as well as webdesigners and users can use there limited time and resources a lot more effective. Many have spend numerous hours on this project. Building, testing, giving feedback. So far, most feedback is, imho, ignored.
WordPress would have been better off if the developers spend their time on developing a more robust WordPress core code, fixing security isses, bugs or adding new functions. As the saying goes: “Don’t fix what ain’t broeken”. The editor isn’t broken. The classic editor is what it is and it does a good job. This overhaul of WordPress is not the right direction for wordpress if you ask me. But that’s just my two cents,.. I’m afraid I’ve wasted a lot of time running these tests. I can only repeat what I’ve said before: “Kill it, before it Kills WordPress”. It ain’t ready, the majority of WordPress users are not asking for it. I can only repeat myself: “Kill it, before it kills WordPress”.
I have been using WordPress ever since early 3.x version, developing websites, using it for my own blogs and sites and host many wordpress websites for my clients. I am an experienced user and IT professional and have worked in this field for over 30 years.
My websites can be found at
ABOUT THIS VIDEO
This video was edited with KDEnlive, recorded with RecordMyDesktop and my Motorola Smartphone.
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT AND THE FUTURE PLANS
“As soon as the Gutenberg project gets merged with the core a lot of things in the WordPress community will start changing. And in a matter of a one to two years, these changes might build the roadmap to a completely different set of WordPress themes, plugins, interaction, site building, — hence changing everything”.
State of the Word, 2017
(Matt Mullenweg, WordPress co-founder)
“We want to make the best tools in the world, and we want to do it for decades to come. I’ve been doing WordPress for 15 years, I want to do it the rest of my life.” – Matt Mullenweg
Lengthy video from Matt Mullenweg