Gutenberg 0.5.0 Adds New Verse Block for Poetry and a New Display for Recent Blocks

Another round of Gutenberg updates was released today. Last weekend brought version 0.4.0, which didn’t have too many noteworthy visible changes on the frontend but introduced an API for handling pasted content. Gutenberg developers are aiming to have specific handling for converting pasted content from applications like Word, Markdown, and Google Docs to native WordPress blocks. Version 0.4.0 also added navigation between blocks using arrow keys and included a new approach for rendering embed frames.

Gutenberg 0.5.0 hit dashboards today. One major improvement to the writing flow is that the editor will now avoid showing block UI while the user is typing and/or starting a new paragraph in a text block. You can test this by typing and pressing enter twice to begin a new text block. No UI should be visible during this process. Small improvements like this one are gradually bringing a bit more zen to the editor, which is still full of confusing and surprising experiences.

Version 0.5.0 adds the ability to upload images via drag-and-drop onto image block placeholders. The example below shows one of my tests. While the image is uploading, it fades in and out. This experience is a bit disconcerting, especially if the upload never resolves. I’m not certain this UI provides the best communication for the status of the image upload.

This version also introduces a new Verse block, which is intended for poetry. It has a slight indent, as compared to a plain text block, but it doesn’t yet work well with copy and paste. Unless you are a poet composing in WordPress, it’s far more likely that you will be pasting in poetry content from somewhere else on the web. Other than the initial bugs, it’s a useful block for those who often post verse.

With the growing number of block types, it can be cumbersome to sort through all of them when adding a new block. Gutenberg 0.5.0 implements a new display for recent blocks. A maximum of eight are shown and the most recently used ones are displayed at the top. It does not yet persist between editor sessions, but Gutenberg contributors plan to add that in the future.

Other notable improvements in this release include the following:

Writing Long-Form Content with Gutenberg is Still a Frustrating Experience

Gutenberg in its current state is a long way away from being an editor that users would embrace for long-form writing. It still contains many unnerving bugs that steal user confidence. For example, when pasting in multiple paragraphs from a lorem ipsum generator, the editor gave me a white screen and I lost all of the content in my post. After a bit of testing I found that pasting in paragraphs one at a time worked.

This kind of frustrating and unexpected behavior has caused many testers to wonder why it isn’t being referred to as alpha software instead of beta. WordPress contributor Jon Brown summed up this common sentiment in a comment on the 0.4.0 release post.

“It’s getting better, but it honestly still feels more like a 0.0.4 alpha than a 0.4.0 beta,” Brown said. “I’ve tried writing long form content several times with each version since 0.1.0 and each time I’m quickly frustrated by the lack of flow between blocks. It’s more frustrating than TinyMCE.”

Gutenberg needs to make significant progress before it can be suitable for writing anything more than a few short paragraphs. It’s nearly impossible to get into the flow of creating long-form content with the prominence of the block UI. Right now, the editor just gets in the way. The current UI is skewed heavily towards frequent block creation. It is clutter-some and distracting for pure writing tasks. Following the evolution of the editor, with its fast-paced development cycle, is exhilarating after years of stagnation. But the project is sorely in need of a breakthrough where the Gutenberg UI finally gets out of the way of writing.

18 Comments


  1. The more I’m testing this thing, the more I really, REALLY hate it!

    Please keep it as a plugin…

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  2. 38 one star votes (most of them with details for the reasoning) vs 15 5 stars, but I guess we have passed the stage in which even just pretending that core cares about community feedback was a requirement..

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    1. Core will say that those 38 one star reviews are from developers and therefore they don’t count as valid feedback. ?

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      1. Oh. My. I’m used to be annoyed when people say non-devs do not count. The opposite makes no sense either.

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  3. Am all for poetry , but a verse block at this stage? How much use would that get? Is that really a priority to include given all the work needed in getting the basics right?

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    1. Thats what I thought, glad they are nailing the essentials :P

      I guess there is probably a reason for behind it though, like it was easy or it was somebody onboarding themselves to contribute or it needed to test a bit of functionality? Or they are just real big fans of prose! haha

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    2. This is what happens when you don’t have a product manager guiding things. You get silly crap like this (even if this was easy, it’s not necessary).

      If this really is forced on us in 5.0 I’ll be actively looking at Craft and other CMS solutions.

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  4. Sarah, thank you so much for keeping us up to date on Gutenburg. For my clients, the current content-adding and editing experience is horrible. They hate it so much they don’t use it. Various front-end editing plugins have been temporary god-sends for them . . . and then those solutions quit working as WP updates roll in.

    Gutenburg is my only hope and your objective updates are very useful for me. Again, thank you!

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  5. In my opinion, one of the reasons for the gazzilion 1 star reviews is fear of change…
    At the moment Gutenberg is barely usable, this is a fact, but that could be said of almost any software during production..

    One of my clients has a vip pr company in asia they copy and paste a ton of press releases in TinyMCE, I talked to her about Gutenberg and I told her that soon enough it will be the new editor on her website. She did some googling, out of curiosity, and saw all the crappy reviews. She asked me to try it.
    After 10 minutes of trying the thing she said something like:
    “The problem here is that you present it to me as an editor if you tell me is an editor i expect to be able to use it like Word. This is much more, is a Canvas. And I think it has great potential once they get it to work.”
    She also said that the text block should be called “paragraph” because “that’s what it actually is” and other things and I think she’s kind of right on both the points.

    I played a little with the blocks api and i managed to make a few cool looking blocks it’s really not that hard considering that I almost don’t know how to spell React… much less code in it.

    Devs will make all sorts of acrobatics with blocks once they get the grasp on the basics and the metaboxes will keep working as they are today this has been made clear on the various github issues.

    Widgets will be ported into blocks? What’s the problem? There is a widgets api now there will be a widgets api then.

    Maybe one thing i find annoying is that blocks are a little bit too atomic for my taste and that some things like social media buttons and author boxes i don’t think should be part of an editor of any sort… but hey.. one less bit of code to maintain in themes and plugins..

    Gutenberg is new and kind of clumsy at the moment but if one day we wish to have front end editing in core TinyMCE as we know it today needs to go..

    Just my 2 cents..

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    1. She said that the text block should be called “paragraph” because “that’s what it actually is” and other things and I think she’s kind of right

      No. Just no. LOL. So typical of an end user. There also seems to be a bit of the blind leading the blind here. The label she suggests is too restrictive and it gives the impression of only a single paragraph. This likely would cause even more confusion. Considering the actual block enforces no such limitation, that wouldn’t seem a smart thing to name it. The fact that you actually agree with it even partly is just sad.

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  6. Next time someone wants to spew out the 80/20 fallacy, I’ll just point them to the verse block

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  7. A verse block! How useful!

    Guess we’ll see things that the vast majority of users would actually want, like column support, some time in 2019.

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  8. IMHO, Gutenberg is still in development, and there are a lot of things need to be improved. I believe that Gutenberg developers will make it most convenient like we use TinyMCE before. Don’t try to compare the Gutenberg beta vs. current editor then vote it 1 star. Let’s send your opinion, or things need to be changed to Gutenberg developers for them to improve it.
    And I hope criticisms or 1-star ratings do not make the Gutenberg developers frustrated.

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    1. IF they don’t want ratings it shouldn’t be released even as beta yet. It’s nonsense to tell people not to give feedback because it’s beta… thats THE TIME to give feedback so they can account for it and course correct if needed. Ideally people would give actual written feedback though – ratings are not that useful (positive or negative) as they don’t tell anyone why that rater gave it that score.

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  9. WordPress get improvements every update. I like emoji, dolly, carrots and poetry, jazz and all that amazing things that exist. It would be nice if everything is powered by some cool JavaScript with API, that everything can cooperate, duck face can sing Hello Dolly, poets can eat carrots while typing in blocks from front-end obviously. What a beautiful world. No more space for SEO guru pro developers.

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