What is WordPress Block Editor (Gutenberg)

If you are using WordPress 5.0 or up then you must have seen and used WordPress’s new Block Editor also known as Gutenberg. Since its official release website creators had a love and hate relationship with this new change and to be honest most people hate it. But things are changing and it has become very useful, in this article we are going to know about this new editor and how far this has come and what’s the future of it and most importantly why you should know and learn about it.

Gutenberg Block Editor

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a code name of a new WordPress editor which is now the default editor for WordPress and it was released back in December 2018 as a default editor for WordPress and it has replaced TinyMCE Editor of WordPress. Further, in this article, I will be referring to TinyMCE editor as a classic editor or old editor. Gutenberg editor was launched in WordPress on version 5.0 and after that, it is a default editor for WordPress. You can still use the old editor we will talk about it later in this article but Gutenberg is the default now.

This brand new editor was introduced for a better, clean, reach, and more enjoyable WordPress experience. It is completely different from classic editor not just visually but also technically. It has adopted block-style content creation which I have explained below.

After its official release, most of the website creators didn’t like it at all and switched back to the old editor and they have good reason to do so. When it was released for the first time it has a lot of bugs and it was breaking previously built pages and blogs. But developers are constantly updating this editor and added a lot of new features and fixed so many bugs and now the dev community and website creators are accepting this editor.

WordPress is planning to make this editor a full-blown website builder, and they are gradually reaching that goal. The Gutenberg editor now has the capability to be your complete website building companion.

What are WordPress Blocks?

Now you may be wondering what exactly is a block in WordPress so blocks are like a separate part of the content and you can edit each block individually and style them as you want. Every image, text, heading, video, and almost anything on a webpage is a separate block.

Blocks give you more flexibility over the content and you can add a lot of different designs on a single page. One of the biggest benefits of having a block is reusability you can save any block you want and reuse them across the site without having to do almost anything extra.

WordPress itself provides a lot of different types of blocks to easily build and design the site like previously you need a separate plugin to add a table or need to use HTML code but now you can use WordPress block to easily add a table with a lot of styling options.

Currently, WordPress has over 70 different blocks in different-different categories for pages and blogs, and below you can see the list of block types.

  • Regular text
  • Images
  • Video embeds
  • Buttons
  • Widgets (yes, those same widgets you use in your sidebar)
  • Tables
  • Etc.

What is the difference between the new and classic editor?

Now let’s understand, what are differences between the Gutenberg Editor and the old TinyMCE Editor. The block editor is different from the previous editor both visually and technically so we will take a look at both aspects.

1. Visual Difference

The visual difference between both of these editors is pretty significant as you can see in the images given below they are completely different from each other.

classic editor

The old classic editor is like a normal text editor and has very similar characteristics like Microsft Word or similar tools.

Gutenberg editor

On the other hand, the new block editor is very clean and modern looking, and unique in its own way.

Not just the main editor sidebar is also very different in the new editor there are a lot more options and they are in a single block, in the old editor options are separated into different sections.

2. Technical Difference

The Gutenberg editor is also very different in terms of technicality it is very different from the TinyMCE editor. The classic editor will style your content as a single entity but in the new blocks editor, every content is a separate block and can be styled individually.

Pros & Cons of Gutenberg

Just like anything Gutenberg editor has, its pros and cons, so let’s know what you are missing and what new opportunities you have.

Pros:

No doubt Gutenberg is the future of WordPress and it has a lot of potentials, it is constantly evolving, and here are some best pros as of now about this new editor.

  • Blocks: New blocks are in itself a big pro for new WordPress editors, it makes website building a lot more easier and diverse and the best part is it has a ton of blogs added by WordPress itself which are super useful. And these blogs are not just useful for writing blogs but also for designing a page.
  • Reusable Blocks: My personal favorite and one of the best features of this new block editor is block reusability. You can save any block you want and reuse them across your website.
  • Less Reliability on Third-party: Gutenberg makes devs less reliable on third-party plugins which is a huge benefit for better performance and stability.
  • Less Distraction: New editor provides you more screen space and less distraction so you can write your content very easily.
  • Great for Mobile Devices: New editor also works very well in small devices like smartphones and tablets so you don’t need your PC to write your content.
  • Custom Blocks: The ability for developers and themes to create their own custom blocks are also very useful.
  • Beginner Friendly: Some people might disagree but this new editor is more beginner-friendly because you can edit complete pages and blogs by just learning Gutenberg but learning classic editor only helps you learn to write a blog post.
  • Exact Appearance: New block editor shows the content in the same way as it will be after publishing. This will give you an exact idea of how your content looks and how you can make it stand out with classic editor you constantly need to switch between preview and editing to check the content.
  • Fine Tuning: Another great thing the new editor offers is an option to fine-tune the design like if you wanna move any image above a certain paragraph you can use the toggle to move it up and down.

Developers are constantly adding more new and amazing features in the new editor and when you use it you probably find some new pros of your own so keep exploring.

Cons:

Just everything in the world Gutenberg also has its cons and before using it you should know about them.

  • Learning: The big issue for most website creators is that they need to learn it, they are already comfortable with the old classic editor and this new editor is completely different from the previous one, and since it’s default now they have to learn it.
  • Hard to Learn: Even though I said earlier it is beginner-friendly but it is still hard to learn for some people.
  • Too Complex: For some people, it is too complex for simply writing blogs, the classic editor is pretty straightforward and the new blocks option of the new editor can make things a little extra complex at the start.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts: Most of the keyboard shortcuts of classic editors are not supported in the new editor.
  • Some Previous Features Removed: In this new update, some features of classic editors are removed such as changing the color of the selected text and so on. But these features are not very widely being used.

These are some drawbacks of using the new Gutenberg editor but the WordPress team is working toward this issue and trying their best to make it more useful and easy to use. One thing I also recommend is to read this great post on Gutenberg myth-busting for getting a more clear picture. However, this post is old and some parts of it are not so relevant now but you can still take a look.

How to Disable Block Editor?

If you still think you don’t wanna use this new Gutenberg editor you can’t disable it since it’s default now and comes with WordPress. If you want to switch back to the old editor then you can install the Classic Editor plugin to get the previous editor.

classic editor plugin

Installation of this plugin is the same as any other plugin just head over the plugin store search for Classic Editor install and activate it.

After activation, the Gutenberg editor will get replaced automatically and you can use your classic editor as before.

Is Gutenberg the Future?

If you are thinking Gutenberg is the future of WordPress then you are completely right. WordPress team has already confirmed that Gutenberg is now default and in the future, it will stay the same. All the upcoming updates will be wrapped up around Gutenberg.

Gutenberg is planned to be executed in three-phase, first, it will replace your classic editor and became your new post editor, in the second phase it is going to replace WordPress widgets so you can customize and design your pages without any third-party plugin and in the final stage, it will be full-blown website builder right out of the box. You should be able to make your website from start to finish with just WordPress only.

Currently, Gutenberg is in its second phase and WordPress is releasing new blocks with every update and these new blogs are designed to be used in pages directly. Undotebily it has a lot of potentials and it will be a major update in the WordPress era.

What is the Future of Classic Editor?

No matter how much you like it and love using it, it is going to leave WordPress, even after some time Classic Editor plugin will no longer get support from WordPress Developers. According to WordPress developers, the official classic editor plugin planned to get support from the team till 2022 and later if necessary.

However, I believe even if WordPress officially removes support from classic editor some third-party devs will surely keep it going for a while so no worries if you are a die-hard fan of the classic editor.

Gutenberg negative reviews

One thing most articles on Gutenberg don’t talk about is its negative reviews, it is not hidden from anyone the new block editor plugin on WordPress has a lot of negative reviews and it has a 2.1-star rating on the plugin store. And by the reviews, you can clearly see the bad reaction of people.

gutenberg ratings

Even in most recent reviews people are not liking this but it’s changing a lot of people are now enjoying this editor, many devs are also started to adapting this editor. One of the main issue people are mentioning in the reviews are its complexity and that’s obvious because they have to switch from there comfort zone and switch to something completely different thing.

Why should you learn Gutenberg?

Since Gutenberg is now the default editor for WordPress and you want yourself to be future proof you have to learn and understand Gutenberg it is not going to roll back and it is going to stay. Also, this editor unlocks a lot of potential for writing better content and making an even better site with minimal effort.

It can decrease your reliance on third-party plugins and all the above articles are enough to know why you should learn it.

How can you learn it?

Now the main question is how you can learn it, well trust me it is very easy. It may look a bit tough and complex at first but it is straightforward. Another good news is we are planning to write more about Gutenberg and in the upcoming post, we are going to share how you can write a complete post, design pages, and everything using Gutenberg so bookmark our website and keep visiting to stay updated on our posts.

You can also try a demo of this editor on the official WordPress website if you want.

Conclusion

I believe now you know why Gutenberg is the next big thing in WordPress and why you should know and learn about it. I personally believe it has a lot of potentials and everyone should use it and let the devs know what you think, how it can be better, and what more can be added.

It’s an opportunity for all of us for making it as better as we can so do try this if not on the main site then use it on your stage site, let developers know how it can be better and if you are a developer head over to Github and share some of your knowledge and time with WordPress team for making it even better.

If you have tried Gutenberg before then do share your experience bad or good in the comment below with us and with the rest of our readers. Your thoughts and suggestions about our post are always welcome below in the comments.

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