Computers, Gadgets, Technology

WordPress Gutenberg First Impressions

The lovely piece of writing you are now enjoying is being penned using the new Gutenberg editor from WordPress. Gutenberg was invented to revamp and simplify WordPress editing for more contemporary website design. It uses a block system wherein your content is broken up into movable blocks. Basically, it creates visual <div> tags, each with its own editor.

How Gutenberg Feels

If you don’t see an image above, that’s because Gutenberg is still buggy.

The old WordPress editor was little more than a Microsoft Word editor with an HTML component. This is more intuitive and modern. It feels smooth, though runs slow and clunky right now. That’s far from ideal, but it’s still being rolled out. Beyond the slowness, it’s glorious for users like myself. It might not be for everyone.

The blocks I mentioned before allow for easy HTML editing, and switching back and forth between display and code. I adore this, because I come from a website design background. It puts more tools at my disposal without awkward browsing. If it weren’t so gacky – that is, weren’t herky and jerky trying to keep up with my words – it would be a lot more streamlined. I’ll try cutting and pasting to see how it goes with the block system.

Problems Gutenberg Solves

The major stated focus of the Gutenberg editor is to make image adding/editing simpler. It’s also aimed at making the content management more accessible to those with no coding experience.

The block system does make it easier to work with photos. It’s a little dumbed down, but image editing was so stilted previously that it’s better than it was. Resizing and shaping images is simplified so that you’re not required to know pixel dimensions.

Changing or editing captions is a ton simpler. If the fine minds at WordPress would see fit to make editing the alt tags and labels of images, it would help those of us who work in SEO.

These last three paragraphs have been cut and pasted, so let’s see how that goes down.

Cutting and Pasting Into Gutenberg

Cutting and pasting content directly from Google Docs worked exactly the way I had hoped it would. Instead of putting all three of those paragraphs into a single block, it split each into a separate block, capable of being manipulated on its own. It feels good, and given how much pausing and restarting this editor does, cutting and pasting will be a necessity.

Navigation with Gutenberg’s Inserter Tool

Besides the name, the Inserter tool, the new navigation is quite clean. When you want a new block of text, you click a little plus sign and decide what you want to be adding into your article.   

For Instance, you can add a quote. It adds in the citation for you, or you can leave it blank.

TheUltramodernist – 21:17

Again, it’s HTML for those who don’t know HTML. As someone who only knows a bit, the Inserter does make the whole thing easier. And more than a little sexy. Rowr, Inserter.

Simple Stuff Where You Want It

I already feel like I’m more at home with this than the other editor. It puts everything within reach, but not cluttering up the page. When I add italics – Inserter – Gutenberg gives me a little gray highlight to let me know they are on or off. When I throw in a new block, it has the most common types where I can get at them with a snap, and yet allows me to browse through some website attributes I haven’t thought of in ages.

Moving blocks around is fine. It seems to managed through a side clicker that fades out when not being used. It’s okay for editing a short document, but tapping a little button to move a paragraph from the end to the beginning of a document can get tedious, fast. Probably easier to cut and paste, since that system seems to be more intuitive.

Making new paragraph blocks is as easy has hitting Enter, allowing for independent editing and movement. Image galleries an layout formats are dead easy. You can throw in all kinds of nonsense separators and pullquotes and whatnot. Expect to see a lot of this:

Marxism was the only answer to our love…

Ninny sandbox – art of the shower scene

And…

While newbies experiment.

Issues with Gutenberg

Waiting on the software to produce the words I typed gets really annoying. Navigation up and down the page – say to access the Yoast SEO plugin – is more annoying than it was previously. Point of fact, that’s more a Yoast problem than a WordPress issue. Since plugins will be able to use the Inserter the same as WordPress, I’m sure there will be ways to navigate around that.

The main issue now is with how Gutenberg translates to the page when published. Images aren’t showing up for me, which is a problem, and the blocks are sometimes awkward. Still, it permits a lot of quick and dirty code to be done quickly, and allows Luddites like myself to enjoy writing in WordPress a little more.

By the by, don’t expect any plugins to work with Gutenberg right now. Because they do not.

Truth, brother

I’ll need to do a deeper dive, but the initial screening of the new Gutenberg editor for WordPress passes it with lots of colors, even if they ain’t all flying.


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