The Gutenberg editor will be part of the official WordPress 5.0 release and you are going to want to get familiar with it. Gutenberg is a block-based editor that can be used to build pages and posts. We have been working with it for a few months now. The goal is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable.
What Exactly is Gutenberg?
Gutenberg is a new block-based editor for WordPress. It is named after Johannes Gutenberg, the man who invented a printing press with movable type more than 500 years ago. The current visual editor requires a lot of us to utilize shortcodes and HTML to make things work. The goal is to make this easier, especially for those just starting with WordPress. They are embracing “little blocks” and hope to add more advanced layout options.
More Writing Space
If you take a look at both the Gutenberg editor and the current visual editor side by side you can see just how much more writing space Gutenberg has, especially on smaller screens. For people writing on laptops, Gutenberg is going to be a nice change of pace! It really is focused on “writing first” and is trying to provide a less distracting environment.
Table Block and Text Column Block
Simple tables are much easier now, as you can insert them as blocks within the editor. Previously you had to either use a 3rd party plugin or HTML code.
They have also added the ability to add responsive text column blocks, which is great! Currently, you can choose between a 2, 3, and 4 column layout. Responsive columns in WordPress have always been a pain in the past and usually require a third-party plugin to get working properly.
Live HTML Block
They have added what we are calling an live HTML block. You can insert your code and then see a preview from right within the block. This is actually a pretty cool idea and might actually prevent some of us from having to switch back and forth between the visual editor and text editor modes.
Drag and Drop Images
You can now drag and drop images directly into an image block, just like you are used to with the visual editor.
Word and Block Counts
Most of us are used to seeing the total word count at the bottom of the WYSIWYG editor. In Gutenberg they have added this as a little informational popup you can quickly view. You can see the total word count, number of blocks, and number of headings.
Gutenberg will not be optional. We suggest getting to know it now. There are pros and cons to this editor.
- Less distraction and more writing space
- Blocks are easy to use
- Easier for beginners to use
- Backwards compatibility with themes and plugins will initially be an issue
- It is mandatory and will require a plug-in to access the classic editor
Overall, we have enjoyed working with Gutenberg.