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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Follow: @c2dev2, RSS, JSON, Micro.blog.

Gutenberg, the new content editor for WordPress, is very good

November 21, 2018

I’m writing this post using a new post editor that is coming in the next version of WordPress code-named, and likely named for all-time, Gutenberg.

In fact, I’ve written several of my most recent posts, including this photo post of South Iceland, using this new editor.

Gutenberg is an editor that allows a WordPress author to use an interface for writing that is much more akin to using Google Docs or Microsoft Word. You type, drag images, add headlines and quotes, and all other various things using a much more visual way of editing than previous versions of WordPress had with what is now being called the “Classic Editor”.

To get a feel for Gutenberg there is a live demo available on this page.

For those that may not know my background, I helped to create a web site content editor called Barley. Its raison d’etre was to allow the user to edit web content directly in place. Our mission was to make a true What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) web editor. Barley also had a WordPress plugin that brought some of the platform’s functionality to WordPress. While it was more WYSIWYG than Gutenberg (since the Gutenberg author still edits in a “back end” and previews in a “front end”) it was nowhere near as comprehensive and robust as even this first debut version of Gutenberg.

I believe the WordPress/Gutenberg team is taking a far better track than we did with Barley. First, Gutenberg is open source and can be used by any other platform. I wish we did this. The WordPress team is much more adept than we were at managing an open source project. Second, the WordPress ecosystem is so broad that by controlling the editing experience within and editing area I believe Gutenberg will be able to serve an enormous portion of the WordPress community. I believe Gutenberg is already approaching 1,000,000 installs. Barley had to make so many concessions to work within the countless WordPress themes out there that it was untenable to keep up-to-date and squash bugs. Gutenberg, presumably, won’t suffer from this issue. Our hard-nosed mission to be a front-end only editor turned out to be our Achilles’ heel in the WordPress ecosystem.

Anyway, this isn’t a post comparing Gutenberg to Barley. I wanted to write to say how very well done this new editor is. Change is hard and I’m sure some people will miss “the old way”. But, I doubt for very long.

When I’m using Gutenberg I cannot believe it is still just the initial release. I think just about anyone could use this editor to make very nice web pages and blog posts. And I imagine it is only going to get better from here. I hope I never see a shortcode again in my life!

I’m looking forward to seeing how WordPress markets this new editing experience because it fundamentally changes what anyone understands about WordPress. I believe the plans may be to bring this editor to more parts of WordPress. If that ends up happening than the entire WordPress brand may need such a jolt as to bring people that have used WordPress in the past to give it a brand-new try.

I look forward to Gutenberg’s future. Especially as a longtime WordPress user (since it was called b2/Cafelog). It makes me want to write more. And I plan to continue using WordPress to do my blogging.

Comments

devilgate says:

@cdevroe I tried it in its plugin form. I didn’t like it at all. It’s impressive in terms of what it can do, but it does a one-way conversion of Markdown to its rich text, and I can’t be having that.

I think the problem for me is that it gets in the way of writing, in exactly the same way that wordprocessors do. You concern yourself about layout and formatting when you should be concerned about the writing.

That said, I do use a plugin called “Aesop Story Engine” to format some more complex pieces, so I suppose I could adapt to Gutenberg. But my first reaction was definitely negative.

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