So What’s the Deal With Gutenberg?

Whether you are in charge of maintaining your business’s website, an aspiring WordPress developer, or just like to keep up with what’s happening in the WordPress space, you likely have heard the term “Gutenberg” in the past year or so.

As a major part of the WordPress 5.0 Bebo update that rolled out on December 6, 2018, Gutenberg has become known to the web development community. Not just that, but its reach now extends beyond the world of WordPress development. People associated with any part of the technological world are now aware of its existence, even if they don’t know what exactly it is that Gutenberg does.

It has been a few months since WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg was released, which means that the dust has settled enough for you to start to understand what this new update means for you.

The following information will help answer any important questions that you may have about Gutenberg and assist you in understanding its functionalities better.

What’s the Deal with Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a major component of the most recent WordPress update, WordPress 5.0. Named after Johannes Gutenberg, the historic inventor of the first printing press with movable type, the component is a new text editing interface with “movable blocks” of its own.

Instead of compiling all of the content of your page into one big pile of HTML code or rich text, the Gutenberg editor allows you to lay out your content with various content blocks. This makes it easier to edit chunks of a large web page with different types of content.

The visual editor makes this as easy as playing with Lego blocks, where you can drag and drop sections onto a page after creating them within the editor. This means that you no longer have to go through intricate processes to add new content to a page or remove existing content from it. Select the block that your respective content corresponds to and edit, move, or delete that block according to your needs.

How Does it Benefit Me?

The main benefit is in a stronger WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) experience. You can now use blocks to insert, move, edit, or delete any kind of content.

For instance, if you want to move a certain section of content, such as an image, then you do not have to go through the tedious effort of maneuvering it through the page in a careful manner so as not to interfere with other elements on the page. Instead, you are now able to “pick the section up” from the visual editor as a block, and move that block anywhere on the page. You can then change the position of its block and keep testing different properties and settings of the block until you are satisfied with the results. Once again, it is similar to how you can add or remove components onto a Lego structure without breaking the other pieces apart. This functionality makes Gutenberg a powerhouse of an editor.

After updating to WordPress 5.0, you’ll use Gutenberg as your visual editor. Gutenberg is set to be the default editor from the latest version of WordPress onward. Not ready for the switch? Don’t worry, there is also a way to use the Classic Editor by installing the Classic Editor plugin on the repository.

How Does it Affect My Existing Pages?

Existing pages should be compatible with the new editor. You can edit them just like you always did and you can migrate your older content to the new block structure.

This means that your existing pages can get the power of block editing without creating them in Gutenberg from scratch. Gutenberg also supports legacy features such as meta-boxes.

What is the Twenty Nineteen Theme?

As is the case with each year, WordPress released a default theme with 5.0. But the new theme is the first to be released that was purpose-built for use with Gutenberg. Twenty Nineteen is the default theme that comes with WordPress 5.0, and by association, Gutenberg. This replaces WordPress’ previous default theme and consists of features that set Gutenberg apart from its predecessors. The theme is sleek, uses blocks, and has basic components that even novice users should find simple to work with.

What Other Features Should I Know About?

Apart from blocks, here are a few features of Gutenberg that you may find to be helpful.

  • The Gutenberg editor does away with the clutter that was available on the previous versions and leaves you with plenty of clean space to edit and map out your pages the way you want.
  • The fonts and buttons are more crisp and clearly available, so you can more easily make your way through the interface.
  • Editing pages with features is now easier. Users no longer have to find tiny buttons to embed an image or upload a button. Click on a space on your page and find options to install the chosen component. The larger interface makes for easy visual editing.

Are There Some Disadvantages to Using Gutenberg?

The biggest disadvantage we’ve come across when it comes to using Gutenberg is that it might not yet support certain plugins. Users on the Gutenberg editor can experience strange issues, mostly due to the plugins that they already have installed not being updated properly just yet.

For example, on this Yoast page a user named Galit G. mentioned one such problem:

“I have updated to WordPress 5.0 and nothing seems to work. Whenever I type the text goes backwards, i.e., when I try to type the word “help” I get “pleh” I also cannot edit anything within the paragraph blocks as the mouse keeps jumping to the beginning of the paragraph. I’m beyond frustrated right now. Not sure how to go back to the classic version of WordPress…”

The solution provided to them was to try working with the Classic Editor plugin mentioned earlier in this post until they could figure out whether an existing plugin or if their theme was causing this issue.

Our view is that many of these issues will be sorted out over time, particularly if you’re using well-supported plugins. Those plugin publishers are no doubt working to make sure 5.0 compatibility ships as soon as possible (if it hasn’t already).

Can I See a Demo of Gutenberg?

You can see a demo right on WordPress’s Gutenberg page. You can even edit the page right while you are browsing it to get a better idea of how Gutenberg works. The demo is a fantastic way to get an interactive understanding of the tool without using it on your WordPress site.

What if I Have Questions or If I Simply Need More Help?

Everyone needs a little help with different aspects of their website. Thankfully there is a substantial amount of documentation and tutorials for Gutenberg already available online. However, for many businesses and organizations, the stakes are higher when it comes to their web presence. If you need extra support or an expert set of eyes on things, we’d be happy to help. By understanding your needs and wants, our team at Pixel Jar can help you stay on track with Gutenberg and most any other challenge you face when it comes to development and design.

With proficiency in Gutenberg and the several nuances that come with it, our team is ready to take on the challenges that the update brings for users. As such, if you have any questions or need any help, reach out to us today.

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