Gutenberg. Is it worth the hype?

mmBy Sarah S 2 years ago
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Gutenberg editor for wordpress

Lots of people in the WordPress community have been discussing Gutenberg. We decided to have a good look before we added our opinion to the rest of the voices out there.

If you’ve not heard of it, it’s a new editor which should make creating beautiful websites that little bit easier; or at least that is the theory. Now don’t get us wrong, Gutenberg isn’t a bad thing. You just need think about if this will be right for you and your website. If you fancy a quick look, then checkout frontenberg, it gives you a chance to have a play without the commitment of adding it to your site.

 https://frontenberg.tomjn.com/

Gutenberg screen shot

Let us start with the good

It’s really simple to install. As this is delivered as a plugin, it’s just a case of finding it and installing. Once you’ve done that and activated it then you are good to go. You should be able to pick between the ‘old’ editor and Gutenberg when you start to create your posts etc.

In theory you should be able to add Gutenberg to any theme. This means that it’s open to all to use; which is pretty good if you ask us! Also it’s worth noting that once version 5.0 of WordPress is released, this is going to be the default editor but you will be able to swap back to the current editor if there are compatibility issues.

You build your content by using blocks; the standard WordPress editor does not really work in that way. It’s the one thing which we hear from a lot of clients; they hate the way that the basic editor works, and how it can sometimes ‘move’ their content around.

It has a simple interface, it feels a lot like Medium in terms of the basic editing. This is a clever move from the developers to bring the WordPress editor in line with the other more visual website building tools out there; like Wix for example.

The layout of the editing space is much less cluttered, so you get the feeling of a lighter and cleaner editing experience.  This will mean if you are not blessed with an iMac and an extra monitor, like we are, then you’ll have much more writing space and it will be easier on your eyes. It also means that this would be super simple to use on a mobile device. There is no reason now why you can’t edit a post whilst out of the office!

It’s really easy to use, and there are a lot of tutorials and blog posts out there to help you on your way. This is one of the things which we love about WordPress in general. There is a strong community of developers out there, which means there is usually an answer to every question somewhere out there!

You can embed your social media feeds much easier. This should mean there is no need to be adding extra plugins to manage, which means less plugin updates over time and less to go wrong when you do decide to do all your updates.

What’s also really good, is that if you can’t get on with it, you can remove it without causing any issues to your site!

The not so good

We like to make sure that all our new builds have a visual builder or composer on there because they make it so easy to manage the content and layout on your site. It is just an editor at the moment. It does not have the functionality of some of the visual composers which are out there. If you’re expecting lots more, then this may not be for you.

That being said, we understand from the community that there are plans to vastly increase the capabilities, so watch this space.

This is another point which is worth raising. If you’re already using something like WPBakery, Visual Composer or Elementor; then Gutenberg is going to seem like a big step backwards. It could also potentially confuse matters if you have both on the go at once. In this case, we’d say there is little point in installing Gutenberg whilst it is still a plugin. You’re better off using what you already have.

If you really wanted to test it out, then our advice would be to put it on a development environment if you have it, or somewhere where it will not impact on developing your live site.  

Some people may struggle with it. To be honest we were a bit unsure when we first installed it. We are used to visual editors, and being able to work in that way suits us. We love being able to literally drag and drop content wherever it’s needed.

Our final thoughts

The community does seem to be divided around Gutenberg already.

When you go to install the plugin, there are a mixed bag of reviews there. It seems to be a bit like marmite. You either love it or hate it. But, take this with a pinch of salt. We have no idea what sort of experience the reviewers have in terms of WordPress, or what they were using as their editor before.

We also need to remember that this is not it’s final form. There is more than likely a tonne of extra functionality which will need to be in place before this is THE editor for WordPress.

It does feel that this is aimed for someone who is not a professional web developer, and is more suited to an enthusiastic beginner. This could be seen as both a plus and a minus.

Overall we think you’d be better off adding this to an old site with no visual composer. But don’t just take our word for it! We asked Rebekah at COS Bookkeeping to take a look, and let us know her thoughts.

This page was built with Gutenberg after just a few minutes of use, and this is what she had to say about it.

“Gutenberg is easy to use and is far from intimidating. It gets you excited creatively because there are things you can easily include in your pages without having to be proficient in coding.”

Why not take a look at the Gutenberg info out on WordPress.org and let us know what you think?

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  Blog, Small Business, Wordpress
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