Gutenberg – blocks aren’t going away so don’t avoid…

First Thought: I like the collapsing right hand menu in Gutenberg.

Gutenberg is a new “plugin” for WordPress that drastically rebuilds the interface for posts and pages. It’s a plugin now, but it’s more of a way for the powers that be to test the interface and see if the community is accepting. Also, to test the waters for compatibility I would guess. It’s a clever way of trying something new, that is for certain, and you have to appreciate that.

What follows is a very random stream of consciousness as I explore Gutenburg.

Wait! What’s this? Each paragraph automatically becomes a section block? Ok, that’s pretty cool. Sections have their own options (basically text CSS options if a text section). And each block has colour settings which will make callouts easier and a drop cap option. I won’t be using that feature often.

And like I said earlier, I appreciate the collapsing post menu items. Currently, you have the option to turn off the sideboard items completely (select that big gear icon) but if you’re like me, you turn them all on and scroll down to them. The new interface functions much like the widgets menu items, where they collapse and you can choose to have specific ones “unfolded” to see the options that come with it. Clever.

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The image block pretty much gives you all the options that you’d have in the media gallery for an image. Handy, if you want to edit the alt tags, and if you don’t want to engage a popup into the media library (simply said, it’s faster).

Visual and text editing are still there via a toggle at the top left.

Inline images. I haven’t figured out text wrapping yet.

Manual excerpts are a great option – taking that functionality away from the SEO plugins that normally give it to you. From what I’ve read, Gutenberg is about taking some of the most commonly desired and implemented plugin functionalities found in themes and puts them into a plugin so the themes don’t have to do that anymore. Makes sense to me as it seems themes are stretching way too far into functionality for my liking.

Right now Gutenberg is a plugin but will be built into core WordPress in version 5.0 which is coming out soon (then it’ll flip, Classic editing will be a plugin and Gutenberg editing will be standard). This is a blogger’s update. It’s streamlined editing. but I could see coders AND writers both screaming that there’s no need for every paragraph to be a section unto itself as it makes editing of multi-blocks troublesome. 

And what about backwards compatibility? What happens to an old style post when that change happens? Time, and lots of testing will tell.

For myself, the old interface was easy to teach clients who were Microsoft Word users – there were many similarities. With this one, I’ll actually have to TEACH them how to use this interface. That’s a big deal for my business, I can’t just leave them to their own devices anymore, not a mere orientation to get someone going, now it’s onto actual training which means I’ll have to plan work accordingly.

So maybe it’s just growing pains as WordPress develops and we have to be more willing to let go of our current work habits as the web itself develops. We’ll see. Watch for this to be battled out in the comments of many sites in the months to come.

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Easy to do parallax images…

Oooo, reusable blocks. You can both duplicate a block AND make it reusable, presumably so you can use it on other pages and posts? I’ll have to try it with this block and let you know what it means.

Oooo, reusable blocks. You can both duplicate a block AND make it reusable, presumably so you can use it on other pages and posts? I’ll have to try it with this block and let you know what it means.

Moving a block is odd. IF you put your cursor in your text and drag into several blocks, up down arrows appear on the left. But this doesn’t work for single blocks. I’m still working on how you’d make those arrows appear for a single block. Like I said, odd, and definitively NOT intuitive.

Ok,  it’s just odd for me at this moment – I don’t have block moving arrows for individual blocks in this plugin install (which is the latest version as I write this). I’ve watched some videos and they are SUPPOSED to appear on the right-hand side in the editor when you hover over a block. That’s not happening for me right now.

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