Gutenberg 5.3 Introduces Block Management, Adds Nesting to the Cover Block

Gutenberg 5.3 was released today with basic block management, a feature that will be included in WordPress 5.2. It is a new modal that can be launched from the vertical ellipses menu, inspired by Rich Tabor’s CoBlocks implementation. Users can turn individual blocks on/off or even entire sections, such as Common Blocks, Formatting, and Embeds. Block management should help users avoid the bloat that happens when installing block collections with more blocks than they need.

This version’s updates to the Cover Block make it possible to nest other blocks inside of it. Users can now add buttons, paragraphs, and headers to easily create a call to action. It’s not immediately evident that nesting blocks is possible, despite the floating inserter. It takes a little bit of time to discover that it is available. There are still some quirks with this feature, but overall it makes the Cover Block much more useful than previous versions.

A few contributors commenting on the Cover Block’s nesting PR said that it seems like the work on this iteration is essentially a light version of a section block. They questioned if it might be better to finish the work on the Section block (#4900) and build from there. Many developers and designers are eagerly awaiting the addition of a Section block to core, which will provide a standard for the plugin and theme industries to build on.

“I think the cover block has very specific functionality that the section may not have like the focal point selector,” Automattic JavaScript engineer Jorge Costa said. “It is also important to note that the adjustments we make here to the way nesting works will also benefit a future section. This also allows us to test nesting a little bit more, before going to the section block. I expect the section block to be widely used in the community and will probably serve as a basis for many things being built in the future so it is important that we get it right. Exploring in cover will contribute to that.”

Gutenberg 5.3 adds an experimental Legacy Widget Block that allows existing WordPress widgets to be added as Gutenberg blocks. It offers a dropdown of available widgets. After selecting one, the block populates that area with the widget’s settings.

This version also improves block outlines for the hover and selected states for a more accessible UI with less distraction. Performance benchmarks show a slight decrease in performance with Gutenberg 5.3. Check out the release post for a full list of enhancements and bug fixes. This is the last plugin release that will be rolled into the upcoming WordPress 5.2 release.


11 responses to “Gutenberg 5.3 Introduces Block Management, Adds Nesting to the Cover Block”

  1. Who cares?

    Until last year and WP 5.0 going live, we were getting (here, there and everywhere) loads of dithyrambic comments about how great the Gutenberg plugin was and especially the great amount of people using it already – despite getting lambasted in rating reviews.

    But, we were told, this was not so important as long as users adopt it. And the numbers were always ready to serve: XXX hundreds/thousands/millions sites already using it. Public adoption figures were available everywhere and especially on FB groups: “what a success, XXX sites are already running Gutenberg!” were we being told.

    Despite the fact that those absolute figures were totally meaningless as they weren’t related to anything. How many of how many, mind you?

    OK. WP 5.0 is now a reality since about 4 months, WP Tavern has become Gutenberg Tavern and the plugin’s reviews are worse than ever, I don’t see any of those figures published anymore.

    My question is simple:
    – How many sites are currently publishing with blocs, of how many sites running on WP 5.x?

    Those figures are available but not much talked about anymore. Please make them publicly available when promoting staff for small minorities of users. Thank you.

    • Anyone who is doubting that Gutenberg will lead a bright future of publishing hasn’t tried Gutenberg 5.3.

      I would have preferred to have WP wait to merge Gutenberg until about this stage of development, but despite the past several months of subpar performance and polish, the real deal has arrived in 5.3.

    • Who cares the numbers?

      The users won’t care the numbers, and why do you care about the numbers?

      I build my new site and write blogs with Gutenberg, it is a great tool to help me to, say, set two columns in a one-click easy way, which is greatly helpful for a person who does not know code like me.

      The product is great. That’s it.

  2. We used the new Block Editor (Gutenberg) for a new client site, and it was great! It really makes page design enjoyable and quickens our development/design.

    This new editor is exciting, and we can’t wait for WordPress 5.2 which will include the 5.3 version of the block editor.

    Nice job Gutenberg developers! Building new websites is fun again!

  3. “Gutenberg 5.3 adds an experimental Legacy Widget Block that allows existing WordPress widgets to be added as Gutenberg blocks. It offers a dropdown of available widgets. After selecting one, the block populates that area with the widget’s settings”
    This is a little bit Brexit, isn’t it? If you don’t ‘do’ Gutenberg (Brexit) you can go on using the widgets and won’t need the ‘Legacy Widget Block’ (and stay happy in the EU/Classic Editor) … just a wee remoan 😀

  4. I was a bit doubtsome to Gutenberg in the beginning, but after testing and building for a couple of month I think it´s a great step in the right direction. It´s easier to work with than some people say and you can build better-looking layouts with Gutenberg. So, all of you who are bitter and grumpy about Gutenberg. What was so much better with Tiny MCE?

    • For text content-oriented writers (such as in academia), it is much more important to enter long blog posts than how the posts appear or are formatted. Having to deal with and separate formatting and tool bars for each block is extremely cumbersome. The Unified tool bar helps, but is not as efficient to use as Tiny MCE. Such writers really need a Word proccessor-like composing experience more-so than a page builder experience.

      Inline capabilities are vital, such as for inline LaTeX content. Short codes currently support inline text quite well, but the block approach does not work well for inline content types.

      I think a compromise solution will be to have a third party continue to support the Classic Editor plug-in and short codes after 2020. Ideally it would be possible but optional to insert blocks for other content types in the text “scroll”.

  5. I’m a bit surprised by some of the comments here. I’d love to roll out Gutenberg for my clients, as I use a 12-col grid currently. But I can’t even re-order columns within a horizontal row.

    Maybe I’ve gone too deep into Foundation and now can’t live without all of the flexibility that Foundation 6.5 offers. To me, Gutenberg looks good, but is still not ready for production sites.

  6. It seems to me that Gutenberg is the exact opposite of what is required to do all the things for WordPress we were told it would do.

    The UX is inscrutable. Its not clear how to use it, its not easy to use, makes no attempt to provide a user-friendly interface, and is, for the most part, counter-intuitive, and its still missing important functions and features.

    I just tried it out again together with Rich’s CoBlocks and (sorry Rich) Gutenberg is still not fit for the average production site except, perhaps, in the hands of an experienced developer.

    No way to hide page title
    No full width section
    No system stack option
    No Ubuntu font… and the list goes on.

    The time is gone where the developers could claim “…its early days yet”. Those days are all gone and there’s still no comparison with the power and ease of use of Elementor, for example.

    I’d like to be able to use it, but there is no way I am going to compromise on site design and functionality, especially when there’s no need to.

    P.S. When the Tavern starts to publish with Gutenberg I’ll maybe look at it again.

  7. Nice to see Gutenberg coming along. I’ve already used it for two client sites, and am hoping to do so for many more. Currently, it requires one or two plugins to get decent block flexibility, but that’s no big issue.


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