Gutenberg: One Year Later

As we quickly head into the final weeks of 2019, we also pass the first anniversary of WordPress 5.0 and, subsequently, Gutenberg coming headlong into our lives.

Love it or hate it, Gutenberg is here to stay. If you had asked my thoughts on it last December, I would have probably sided with a large portion of other WordPress users.

What are you doing?

WordPress is fine, leave it alone!

Stop forcing me to use this!

Here we are, twelve months later, and you know what? I LOVE IT. And, I am not alone.

When it comes to writing content, I cannot imagine using the Classic Editor anymore. Sure, for a few paragraphs, the Classic Editor is fine. However, when you need to make a 4,000+ word post, Gutenberg and the new block system make things a lot easier.

Yes, the UI is a struggle for someone brand new to WordPress. We have all heard the “Wait, I thought you said this was like Word?” line. A good onboarding process would tackle that going forward. For the rest of us, if you have not adopted Gutenberg yet, you should take another look at it.

The Need for a New Editor

Let’s be honest. The Classic Editor was great for short posts, a couple of headlines and paragraphs, job done. But, how often were you going into the Text tab to remove an extra line break, fix a shortcode, or cut and paste a section to somewhere else in the post?  At best, it was a struggle. Often, it was excruciating to get your post just right before publishing.

Not only will I not miss this, but I am pleased that new users will not be exposed to it anymore either.

Screenshot of the classic WordPress text editor.
Classic Editor – Text tab in action

When I first heard of Gutenberg — before it was released in WordPress 5.0 — I installed the plugin and was immediately confused and slightly bewildered at the options. I wondered how I would edit in the future.

I, among many others, probably gave out the same noises as when Facebook and Twitter reveal a huge overhaul of their UI, agreeing with everyone that things would never be the same again. This was a mistake. Of course, I was both right and wrong at the same time. I just didn’t know it. Editing would not be the same again. Instead, it would be a lot better (with some adjustment).

I also know that many people will not agree with me and do not like the way Gutenberg looks or behaves to this day. But, if you give it some time and understand how it can make your life easier, it will do just that.

First, take the time to work out the difference between Blocks and Document. On the left you have all the blocks for your post or page, inserting them in merrily as you go. On the right, the Document panel controls everything else, handily changing when you need to fine-tune a block.

Screenshot of the block-based Gutenberg editor.
Gutenberg block editor in action

One of the most common complaints I have read is people struggling with the toolbar that appears as you hover over each block. There is a simple solution to this, and when it is enabled, the majority of people suddenly start to love it! Make sure you set the view to “Top Toolbar” in the Gutenberg options. Now you have a distraction and clutter-free editing environment to work with.

Gutenberg vs. Page Builders

Gutenberg is not a page builder, and it is a common argument thrown out by people on why they refuse to use it. They are right, it is not a replacement for the likes of Elementor or Beaver Builder. If you remove the comparison to page builders from your mind, you will find adapting to it is much easier.

My peers and I regularly chat about Gutenberg and agree it is already great for writing. The post creation process is a breath of fresh air. Others have great stories from their clients about being able to produce content and edit it with ease, and the number of editor-related support requests is down, which can only be a good thing.

However, many of us would not use it for designing pages. Instead, we still prefer to use one of the many page builders for that complete control.

Gutenberg Phase 2 will allow editing of the site to areas outside of the main content (e.g., headers, footers, sidebars) and will creep further into the page builder category, which means we will have a strange blend of Gutenberg and page builders living side by side on many sites soon.

Will it remove the complete need for themes? Who knows? I suspect we will have people further divided into opposing camps going forward, but what a great opportunity for us to collectively work on for a better overall experience in the end.

By the Numbers

Let us take a quick look at Gutenberg and its penetration to date.

Currently, 63.8% of all WordPress installs are running 5.x onward according to WordPress.org, which means Gutenberg is available natively on nearly two-thirds of all WordPress installs.

But, it is not all red roses when it comes to adoption.

The Classic Editor plugin has over 5 million active installs (and a rather biased 723 five-star reviews, such as “Keep this forever” and “Never going to give it up!”). It is also currently in the top five of the most popular plugins.

Is this the backlash against Gutenberg or incompatibility with older themes forcing users to use the Classic Editor for now? At a guess, a good majority is probably the latter combined with some diehards.

But, look at the graph below from the Classic Editor plugin page.

Screenshot of the Classic Editor plugin's decline in growth.

Growth is declining. That is not a movement of people who continue to install Classic Editor on new installs and refuse to adapt.

Classic Editor adoption will likely continue falling, and perhaps the original date of it being supported until 2022 isn’t that far-fetched after all (note: they have said they will continue to support it longer if needed).

On the flip-side, the Gutenberg plugin has 200,000 active installs and a whopping two-thirds of reviews (2,003) are a paltry one star. However, many are merely unhelpful complaints (e.g., “This is junk” and “Destroy it”). They do not tell the true story to novices.

As you can see from the graph below for the Gutenberg plugin, active install growth is up and continues to climb. It is not at the same pace as the decline with the Classic Editor, but that is probably because it is bundled with WordPress now.

Screenshot of the Gutenberg plugin's increase of active install growth.

One thing people seem to forget is Gutenberg is a plugin in and of itself. It is updated frequently, whereas the majority of users only see changes to it when there is a WordPress core update.

If you can see past the fields of one-star reviews and install the plugin, you will be rewarded with more frequent updates to the experience.

For example, version 7.0 recently added in the Navigation block as stable, allowing users to quickly create a menu of links. Don’t get me wrong; this does require theme integration for it to work, but you can get a better idea of where it is heading on a more frequent basis this way (7.0 is expected to ship with WordPress 5.4 in March/April 2020).

Block Party

Compatibility with Gutenberg continues at a quick pace. With over 21 pages of block-enabled plugins available on WordPress.org, pretty much all the popular plugins have solutions in place. A fair amount of plugin updates these days are also adding new and enhanced blocks as standard.

If those are not enough for you, we also now have a new breed of block-specific plugins. There is a growing trend of plugins devoted to purely enhancing the style and number of blocks you can add to your site.

Popular Gutenberg-focused plugins such as Stackable and EditorsKit add further styling and editing abilities, bringing you another step closer to full-page design and enhancing your content.

Screenshot of the EditorsKit plugin settings.
EditorsKit – a purely Gutenberg plugin.

Because no one knows how far Gutenberg will go and which toes it will step on, block plugins may have a fight on their hands in the future. At the pace they are being released and updated, it is a good sign of a committed global collective who not only believe in the future of blocks but is excited about it too.

What Does the Future Hold?

Gutenberg is here to stay, and I don’t think any of us have ever denied that. It is probably not an issue for anyone who started using WordPress for the first time this year.

Thankfully, for those already deeply embedded in WordPress, things are getting easier (and I would say more enjoyable) with the growth of the new Gutenberg-specific plugins.

With the advent of platforms such as Wix and Squarespace, it was obvious that WordPress needed something to make it more user-friendly and Gutenberg is a solid attempt at that. It is still a bit rough around the edges, but the days we look back nostalgically at the Classic Editor are likely numbered.

How will it look at the end of 2020? Will you still be using the Classic Editor?

98

98 responses to “Gutenberg: One Year Later”

  1. Mario Peshev says:

    I’d rather use Gutenberg for a short and shiny post/page and Classic for a long, thoughtful one, not the other way around.

    So many reasons – UX with long pages in Gutenberg is bad, browser performance degraded, whitespace is wasted from block padding, there are still counter-intuitive actions like headline formation or quotes or lists that aren’t nearly as obvious.

    Editing a shortcode in the text tab? Really? Like shortcodes were ever rendered in the wysiwyg screen :)

    Last time I checked most long content in medical, legal, book writing is not written in fancy block screens. Let’s not speak on behalf of the world and put artificial labels on the Classic editor.

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    • Piper says:

      Agreed, with all of the above

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    • It’s weird how people think differently about Gutenberg vs. Classic when it comes to long-form posts. Personally, I abhored using Classic for long-form posts. For me, it was so bad that I eventually moved to writing offline in Markdown. I still, to this day, do this often out of habit. However, Gutenberg as a long-form editor has grown on me.

      One thing that has helped me has been the slash commands for inserting things like headings and quotes. I find that more intuitive than picking up my fingers from the keyboard and using the mouse.

      It’s obviously not suited to something like a novella-length work or longer. Programs like Scrivener are ideal for that sort of project because it lets you break the overall work into separate chunks and compiles them into a single document. I’m not sure if we’ll ever get there with a CMS editor, but it’d be interesting to see a plugin that makes the attempt.

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      • Mario Peshev says:

        I still do write a variant of markdown for most things around formatting (or use whatever is already available in classic).

        Slash seems a lot more confusing to me than ## or ### for h2/h3.

        I often write down multiple list items and then I realize they are in separate blocks, and a multiple select to “mark as a list” is so much more complicated than it is in WYSIWYG.

        Bold/Italic are keyboard shortcuts in any case so no particular advantage.

        Yes, writing an entire novella won’t be a spectacular experience, though the default visible space is also at fault. Distraction-free mode is doable (until you hit browser memory constraints with an infinite DOM tree packed with blocks).

        But I see how simple pages like “Contact” can be assembled with Gutenberg easily and save a lot of hassle while long-form content makes a lot more sense (to me) in classic. I haven’t written more than 5,000 word posts in Gutenberg but anything over 3k is a tough exercise.

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      • Cynthia Freyer says:

        When as an agency, copy is written for clients, or when in a university setting doing the same for faculty/admin, the copy is written in Office or OpenOffice and then sent through several approval stages. After final approval it is entered into the CMS editor for publication.

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    • Otto says:

      Shortcodes need to die a painful fiery death, but then that’s just my view. :)

      Blocks are a replacement for shortcodes, and should be thought of as such. Shortcodes were a way to think of things 10 years ago, when we were writing text. We’re not writing text anymore, we’re going true wysiwyg and we should consider things in that light. What we write should come out exactly the same as we see it.

      Oh, and the block editor understands the basics of markdown. Type in the ### bits and it will convert on the fly. Been there since day 1.

      I mean, I don’t like markdown myself, but if you’re used to typing up documents that way, then it’s kind of a nice feature that it will simply convert things as you go.

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  2. I like the navigation aspect of Gutenberg and the more I use it, the easier it becomes. However, I don’t like the visual. I prefer to view what I have written in a typical reading format before going to preview. There are advantages and disadvantages to Gutenberg and, as you stated, it’s still a bit rough around the edges.

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  3. Li-An says:

    I have much more problems to search for a block in Gutenberg than search for an error in Classic Editor (do you know Ctrl+F ?). I use it in HTML mode.

    If Classic Editor is stopped, I will probably consider some alternative to WP for the blogs where I have to write long content. But maybe there will be a block in Gutenberg “as in old HTML Classic Editor”.

    Simple example : Gutenberg blocks cannot manage Markdown’s footnotes and who wants to work with a tool that cannot manage something simple in classic editors ? Who wants a worst experience ?

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    • karl says:

      The Classic Block has been part of Gutenberg from day one. In fact, when you convert a post written in the Classic Editor to the Block Editor ALL the content gets put into a Classic block.
      And if you want Markdown – add the Editorskit plugin mentioned above. It adds a bunch of nice tools to the block editor.

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    • ElGreco1541 says:

      You mentioned that maybe there would be an HTML Classic Editor in the future, but in addition to the Classic Editor mentioned above, there is actually a way for you to edit your pages and posts in HTML. To access this feature while editing a page or post, click the vertical ellipsis (a.k.a kebab) menu in the upper right corner. Then click Code Editor. This will turn all your blocks into HTML just like the old HTML view in the classic editor.

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    • Miguel Fonseca says:

      Gutenberg blocks cannot manage Markdown’s footnotes

      You may be interested in knowing that there are efforts under way to provide full footnotes support in Gutenberg (https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/pull/15267). Secondly, thanks to Gutenberg’s support for transformations and smart pasting — which includes Markdown recognition — once footnotes land it will be possible to add support so that pasting Markdown footnotes can be automatically picked up as native (HTML) footnotes. We can use your help if you are interested in improving block semantics and Markdown support.

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  4. I tested the block editor at first, it was terrible to use. Months later it became more usable and began to be an ally in productivity. I use it on all the sites I manage and don’t give up.

    But I consider myself an advanced user, very advanced.
    I imagine that an average user who has a text editor like Word as a reference, for example, would not be able to perform tasks properly. He would waste more time trying to edit blocks than producing content.

    My wife, for example, has a long article diet site (at least 3000 words) and she finds the block editor horrible and doesn’t use it at all. In her case, the classic editor along with some shortcode buttons and some text editor options in the editor already solve all the problems, generating posts of great visual quality.

    I believe that while many people will love the editor, others will find it terrible to use. It is a difficult situation to decide.

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  5. Glenn Martin says:

    I’ve followed Gutenberg from its first prerelease, and soon began transitioning site after site along the way. By the time 5.0 was released, it was the normal experience on almost all sites.

    I’ve used page builders for years, and though Gutenberg is not a page builder, per say, it’s replaced all page builders for me on every site I manage.

    If you’ve tried it and reverted to using the Classic Editor, give it a fresh look. It’s matured a lot since 5.0.0.

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  6. Rod Olman says:

    Gutenberg has made WordPress ready for the enterprise! GB shows the maturity and classic foundations found in most projects from proper, multinational corporations:

    It was decided behind closed doors
    For reasons unbeknowst to anyone except for Matt and his investors
    No external input has been taken
    Leadership is invisible
    Employees are not allowed to question the project
    Accessibility isn’t even an afterthought, with the team lead quitting on account of being ignore and accessibility being unrepairable at this point
    Critical reviews have been “archived” (read: censored)
    “I’re sorry you feel that way. What (except for everything you detail in your review) did you not like about the Gutenberg EXPERIENCE?” copy pasted dozens of times day.
    Lots of positive reviews were meant as 1-stars but a “bug” coincidentally assumes a 5-star rating
    The codebase is full of bugs and workarounds… which force themes and plugins to have workarounds for GB
    Glaring CSS bugs have been ignored for more than a year
    The future is GB, whether one likes it or not. No choices or alternatives allowed.

    Yeah. If the goal is to bring WordPress into the incompetently led enterprise mainstream, where money is the primary goal and user experience isn’t even on the list of things to consider, then I’d say that Gutenberg gets 10 out of 10!

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    • AJ says:

      “No choices or alternatives allowed.”

      Actually, there is a choice for anyone not wanting to continue with WordPress or planning to leave WordPress. The fork of WordPress is called “ClassicPress” which has no Gutenberg.

      I read this article, but to me, it sounds like a PR piece.

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    • The Gutenberg plugin has been open on GitHub since Day 1. Can you go into more detail about what has been decided behind closed doors? There are public meetings in Slack. There are open discussions on the Make blog. If there are specific decisions that were made behind closed doors, please back up that claim with proof.

      Input from the community absolutely happens via those channels and is taken into account. I’ve personally witnessed numerous issues addressed that were brought up from people not directly involved with Gutenberg development.

      Do you have proof that critical reviews are being censored? The plugin currently has over 2,000 one-star reviews that are public.

      Whose employees are not allowed to criticize Gutenberg? Where does this info come from?

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  7. Hycent says:

    I was really excited when news of Gutenberg first got out and after it’s release I was more than happy to update my site 8o8wave, only to discover that it slowed me down a lot, had no choice but to install the classic editor plugin. Have not ran into a colleague that uses Gutenberg up till these moment, even though I overly liked the interface.

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  8. For me, it works pretty well. There are some things I wish it could do better and hopefully, in time it will improve. At first, though, it was very confusing and some things just clanked around not working well in WordPress. For the most part, I think it speeds up my blogging process.

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  9. John says:

    Gutenberg for long posts and Classic for short ones…?
    Ha, ha… that’s a good one! Can’t stop laughing, sorry.

    723 5-star reviews of Classic Editor biased???
    And what about the 450 5-star reviews of Disable Gutenberg, also biased?
    And what about this article, not biased? Come on…

    But, OK. You are just missing the point.
    The point is not how good/bad Gutenberg is.
    It’s actually very good – for those fancying those kind of gadgets.
    I’m not in this league but I admit it’s very well done.
    The real point is what the hell is this plugin doing as part of WP core?
    Gutenberg should have remained as a plugin, optional for those who want to work that way.

    And the problem here is that you, WP and Automattic still don’t want to admit it.

    Instead of publishing graphs of plugin adoption for Classic Editor, why you guys never publish real usage stats of published sites that are really using Gutenberg vs Classic Editor? Those numbers exist, where are they?

    Whatever. Let’s talk again next year, same day…

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    • Michael says:

      Why should it remain a plug-in? It’s strictly a question of personal preference. I feel the other way. I think Gutenberg should be the default editor. I even think they should kill the classic editor plugin in a year or two.

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      • John says:

        Why should it remain a plug-in?
        Because:
        It’s strictly a question of personal preference.
        As you correctly stated.
        Wjhat else?

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  10. Will says:

    I work for a medium sized software company, and in July of 2019 we relaunched our website, using custom Gutenberg + ACF blocks almost exclusively. As a WordPress developer, I was very hesitant at first – now I can’t imagine a cleaner and more efficient way to manage our site content.

    In the past we relied on third-party page builders, which – while they did the job – oftentimes required myriad hacks and tweaks, and were occasionally abandoned by their creators. Now we have an amazing page-building tool that is constantly updated as part of core.

    I’m a believer!

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    • Rod Olman says:

      I’m a believer!

      This is exactly what those that write proper content are complaining about: the normal editor, using a decades old, tried and tested user interface that everyone is familiar with, has been replaced, without any feedback from the community at all, with something that people “believe” is good.

      The people who use GB seem more like a cult than anything else.

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    • richard Ginn says:

      Yep… Gutenberg is going to get to constantly updated.

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  11. Bastian says:

    Like someone said before, this reads like a PR piece… When Gutenberg got merged as an alpha in 5.0, I hoped that the new editor would be usable by 5.3. But, sadly, it’s not there yet. And I think some of its “bugs” won’t ever be “fixed”. One block per paragraph? Really?

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    • Can you describe some of the issues that you are still having with it as an editor? We should strive to detail those issues so that those working on Gutenberg are aware of them. It’s possible some of the specific problems you’re having already have tickets that are being worked on. I know some of the issues I’ve noticed do.

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      • Bastian says:

        That’s the thing, they are not bugs according to the devs. Like the one block per paragraph thing. Or the inability to select a thumbnail size in the gallery block. Or the lack of a visual distinction between blocks. And so on…

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        • For the gallery image size issue, this is filed as a bug. In fact, one of the lead Gutenberg devs created the ticket. It’s one of my pet-peeves too, so I just happened to be following that ticket. There is also a patch that is pending review.

          As for one block representing one paragraph, I would love to read an alternative viewpoint on how it should be handled. In HTML, a paragraph is a block, so it makes sense on that level to me. Is the issue for you with the data structure or the how the UI is handled in this regard?

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      • Bastian says:

        Is the issue for you with the data structure or the how the UI is handled in this regard?

        Now, it’s impossible to start a selection in the middle of one paragraph and end it in the middle of another. Instead both blocks are selected.

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        • That is an odd one. I didn’t know it was an issue. It turns out that I don’t naturally select text that way, which is why I never noticed. Regardless of editor, I usually hit Enter on my keyboard to split paragraphs up where I am separating the text (the visual separation helps me). Then, I copy/cut from there. Obviously, your workflow is different, but perhaps give that a try to see how it feels for a bit.

          There is an open ticket for the issue, and some work has been done to set the foundation for handling it properly. Specifically quoted from the commit:

          A step closer towards partial block selection and actions. Currently when the mouse press is released, we expand the selection to the whole block. In the future, we can remove this code, set a more detailed selection state, and update action like merging to look at this more detailed state.

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  12. I use the block editor but it is not very intuitive beyond the basics. You add your blocks then you might need to move them around and such and things become frustrating fast. Need to add a new main block, whoops you added new block inside the column block. It looks better but the block approach is very frustrating. It tries to do too much with a bad UI.
    The main issue with the classic editor was/is image positioning in content. I still find that problematic with the block editor.

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  13. Michael says:

    I’ve used it since it was released and love it. I absolutely hated making posts in the classic editor. Constantly switching in and out of code view. Having to write PHP functions to prevent the editor from doing out dated things like wrapping images in P tags.

    In my opinion the classic editor was dated and it needed to be replaced with a modern foundation that WordPress can build off of for the next 10 years. I’m really excited to follow the continued development of Gutenberg especially as it moves into full site editing and redefines what it means to create WordPress themes.

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    • AJ says:

      No…. it just simply needed an updated version with more editor options for better content creation/management capabilities…and for it to have a proper code view…and to stop changing/removing my code.

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  14. Sajan Kota says:

    Hi Chris,

    There are very few advantages and a far more disadvantages to Gutenberg and, as you stated, it’s still a bit rough around the edges. It is definitely a half baked feature. There are many page builders in the WordPress ecosystem, which are a lot more advanced and Gutenberg is far behind. This is my opinion. I will stay with the classic editor for the near future.

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  15. AJ says:

    I was just thinking about something….it would have been better to build a brand new WordPress (Gutenberg-based WordPress) while leaving the original intact. Two versions, basically giving the “millions” of WP users the choice. Creating a brand new version would give a fresh coded modernized WP to build on, and in turn, not messing up the millions of existing WP sites and creating frustration.

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  16. Peter says:

    This article is just a PR masterpiece… meaning facts are misinterpreted in each and every possible way, while anything that is not so great is kept secret.

    So let’s take just a short peek under the rug: even in GB 7.0 one can not set which image size to serve to the client in the gallery block. Of course you can serve a 3000×2000 image (or more realasticly a bunch of them) and then just shrink it to 600×400 with some CSS. However this is nothing but a waste of bandwidth and it also impacts SEO, pageload time and on mobile devices also the costs of visiting your site… but then do not try to convince me (or the average Joe) that GB was good. Without GB there were no such flaws in the responsive workflow.

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    • facts are misinterpreted in each and every possible way

      When you make a claim such as this in the comments, I ask that you back that claim up with the “correct” interpretation of those facts.

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      • Peter says:

        Misinterpretation #1:

        But, look at the graph below from the Classic Editor plugin page. Growth is declining. That is not a movement of people who continue to install Classic Editor on new installs and refuse to adapt.

        While there are a bunch of different “classic” plugins we get the stats of only 1 such plugin instead of the aggregated stats of all such.

        I will not go through each of them because it is just wasting my time, but can anyone tell exactly how those percentages are calculated and what does “active install growth” exactly mean? IMHO we should get absolute numbers, those are more transparent.

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        • While there are a bunch of different “classic” plugins we get the stats of only 1 such plugin instead of the aggregated stats of all such.

          The Disable Gutenberg, Classic Editor Add-on, and No Gutenberg plugins have all seen similar declines in active install growth over the past six months. Disable Gutenberg is probably the only established plugin with a large enough user base to draw any conclusions from other than the core-supported Classic Editor plugin.

          I believe the point the author is making is that there’s a ceiling on the number of WordPress users who will install those plugins and we’re moving toward that ceiling. We should probably revisit the numbers in a year to see if the trend has changed.

          can anyone tell exactly how those percentages are calculated and what does “active install growth” exactly mean? IMHO we should get absolute numbers, those are more transparent.

          That would be an interesting topic to explore (though not relevant to whether the post author misinterpreted the data available). I’ll make a note of it to see if I can find out sometime.

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    • Rod Olman says:

      I believe the point the author is making is that there’s a ceiling on the number of WordPress users who will install those plugins and we’re moving toward that ceiling.

      Please note that the usage numbers are actively modified by the WordPress admins. I’ve seen the Classic Editor being reported, at the same time, as both 1 million and 5 million installs, depending on the originating IP.

      The usage numbers secret and not transparently calculated.

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      • If you can bring me hard proof (or leads who can provide that proof) that any WordPress.org admin is actively fudging install counts for this or any plugin for some nefarious purpose, I promise you I will dig into it. If verifiable, I will make it front-page news here at the Tavern. That sort of story is gold for a journalist. It’d be an incredible opportunity for me to write such a piece. This is what journalists live for. The contact form is wide open.

        Otherwise, we’re kind of venturing into conspiracy-theory land here. I’m not denying your statement. However, for our community here at the Tavern to have healthy discussions, we need credible evidence for these sort of bold statements when they are presented as fact.

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      • Gary says:

        I absolutely believe that you saw that, Rod.

        The Plugin Directory rounds the Active Installs figure, as it’s intended to be an indicator of usage, rather than an exact figure. It shows 1 million active installs for plugins with 1 million – 5 million installs, and it shows 5 million active installs for plugins with over 5 million installs.

        This figure is stored in the active_installs post meta field, it isn’t generated on the fly.

        What this (hopefully) indicates is that it isn’t possible to show two visitors different active installs values simply by modifying the database, as it would show this new value to all visitors, instead.

        The alternative to modifying the database would be to have a plugin running on WordPress.org that modifies this value. Now, it’s unfortunately not possible for you to verify this statement, but I think it’s reasonably enough that you can assume it’s true: all code running on WordPress.org must be committed to an SVN repository, it isn’t possible for members of the meta team to access the WordPress.org production servers directly. So, if there was a plugin which did this, there would be a record of it. At this point, it comes down to trust: there are a lot of people on the meta team who can (and do) review all commits, many of them are independent of any of the major companies in the WordPress space. I think it’s reasonable trust that at least one of those people would leak that there was something fudging the active install numbers, if such a plugin existed.

        And so, that brings us to the most likely scenario: you happened to visit the Classic Editor plugin page right when it ticked over from 4,999,999 active installs, to 5,000,000. The page with the old figure was then cached somewhere (in your browser, or perhaps by your ISP), and didn’t update until that cache expired.

        Given that the Classic Editor plugin ticked over 5 million active installs about 6 months ago, I would be surprised if there was still a cache somewhere showing that it only had 1 million active installs. It is possible, however, so if you happen to recall the steps to reproduce it, please reach out to the WordPress.org meta team, who’d be happy to investigate further.

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      • Tom says:

        “Growth is declining.”

        Growth is, but Active Installations are not.

        Take a plugin that gains exactly 100 new installations each and every week. You might expect to see a flat line on the “Active install growth” graph, but that’s not the case. In fact the graph will show a downwards trend (as the total number of active installations goes up, the relative number of weekly new installations – i.e. the growth – falls, even if the number of new installations remains steady).

        Therefore even though the Active Install Growth for the Classic Editor is declining, the number of Active Installations is actually still going up.

        Unfortunately the Active Installations number seems to stop at 5m, so we don’t know the real figure, but the Classic Editor gained at least 20,000 new installations last week (0.4% of 5m). The figure would be higher if we had a more up to date/accurate active install count for Classic Editor.

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  17. Peter Shaw says:

    I am a Gutenberg user who mostly likes it. But it has two MAJOR issues no one is addressing.

    Although it is great for creating and publishing content it is terrible for writing long form articles/essays. Thee block paradigm works okay but is not natural for long form content
    As a content creation tool it’s good but it is also trying to be a page builder by adding visual tools. This violate separation of concerns, breaks cms functionality, and is problematic when your content is re used offsite or in the non visual web.

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  18. Niall says:

    Its not stable, its not likely to be any time soon, you realistically are adding 2-3 plugins. COmpared to other page builders its a joke, its in no way ready for prime time. Dear god why did they not aquire one of the builders an integrate it. Or them all and unify the lot. They could have done this. Look at the folks who contribute to Gutenberg, its a tiny and very defined subset of the internet, not imo folks who build site for a living.

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  19. Karen says:

    Interesting article. All of the back and forth comments remind me of what happens when a major change occurs anywhere with anything. We generally form at least two camps and become entrenched in our respective points of view, creating a decreased ability to find the “common ground” from which we can produce beneficial changes or options.

    As with any change, we all have the ability to make decisions about how we will respond and how we advise our clients. Bottomline from my perspective: we are not “captives” in this process. Choose to stay or choose to go. Choose to be part of the solution or choose just to complain. I am grateful for all of the comments as I have learned from them all. Thanks!

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    • Chris Hughes says:

      That was my point, Karen. Glad it showed you both sides!

      I think the discussion on this from each side is really important. Without it, we can’t move forward. There will never be a solution in anything that makes everyone happy, but at least we have options.

      I find Gutenberg a lot easier to write longform content than in the Classic Editor. But that is just my use case, I realise it is far from perfect for everyone!

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  20. I’ve finally switched to Gutenberg, waiting for the bugs to be fixed, I still have a niggly peeve. I can’t click and move text in Gutenberg. Hope this gets fixed soon. It’s a great feature for editing my text.

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  21. Jan says:

    On the Disable Classic Editor point, a lot of page builders have integrated this functionality into their plugins, so while initially we had to run both, we now no longer need to have DCE (or alternative) installed. I’m not sure how this impacts the overall point but worth acknowledging.

    Personally I recently tried to make a site with Gutenberg and just got frustrated and built a brand new site with a page builder instead. For now it’s interesting playing around with it but the functionality is very limited. Fine for adding columns and stuff on a blog post; nowhere near feature ready to build modern page layouts.

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  22. Lenin Zapata says:

    💥 Friend Chris Hughes … 𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞𝐬 𝐚 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲.

    𝟭+ 𝗚𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗯𝗲𝗿𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲❓
    I think that, beyond the mistakes that this may have now with time they will be corrected, I was one of the first to rate gutenberg 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, while the other people qualified with 1 star ⭐.

    𝟮+ 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗮𝗯𝗿𝘂𝗽𝘁
    While it is true that the classic editor for us was perfect, the change to blocks to edit is a very advanced concept and very little understood, I have reviewed articles by people (writers) who make posts of more than 2000 to 3000 words using Gutenberg and have It was great, so far you do not want to return to the classic editor if you say so.

    𝟯+ 𝗚𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗯𝗲𝗿𝗴 𝗩𝗦 𝗣𝗹𝘂𝗴𝗶𝗻 𝗕𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗮𝗴𝗲𝘀
    Wao! I did not expect this one year ago, now the block editor is going beyond like creating a complete Page Builder, and the community of these plugins that make a Gutenberg a page builder is growing, I am very excited to see how This trend is growing. It is very hallucinating and unexpected.

    For a year now I like Gutenberg, but I never thought it would become even better!

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  23. For those who like to jump to conclusions, please keep in mind that most people who are not interested in Gutenberg and not going to read and/or comment on this article. So if you’re reading the comments thinking the majority are pro-GB please limit that conclusion to those who have read the article and comment. It’s not the entire WP universe, nor a fit sample that represents that whole.

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    • ASR Martins says:

      I agree, I just love the Classic editor, especially for longer posts. I try Gutenberg out every now and then. It is activated on all my sites but I honestly have no need for this editor. The classic editor is a breeze. It is simple and it does everything that I need.

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  24. pavelgrachev says:

    We constantly read enthusiastic opinions about Gutenberg by developers who use ready themes and base their “opinions” on that experience, which is absolutely unreliable. Theme selling companies employ TEAMS of people specialized in various issues so they can keep their products up to date, Gutenberg included. No wonder it works!

    I’ve been using WordPress for web development for 5 years and never used a pre-made theme. I was always able to style it and make it look consistent, both on front and in the editor. With Gutenberg it’s gone. I can no longer do it on my own. The theming section in the handbook is laughable and other materials available online are based on that. Every theme I look up styles blocks in a different way – it seems there is no standard. Because the editor is not sitting in an iframe (totally unjustified JS fanboy one page app fetish) I have to provide a separate stylesheet for the editor with inconsistent wrappers for Gutenberg (I used to use a ‘common.css’ file that had selected elements working both on front and in the editor. Now it’s impossible)

    So again, sorry clicker-developers – your opinion is invalid. If you had to code a theme from the beginning and get 1:1 experience on front and in the editor, you’d probably cry.

    Let alone the fact that Joe Customer will practically bury GB anyway, sooner or later. He doesn’t care about absence of iframes, one page apps, what the future is and what “is to stay”.

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  25. Alice says:

    Gutenberg is a great solution to build pages. I agree that we shouldn’t compare it with other page builder plugins. They each come with their own set of benefits and shortcomings that can greatly affect a business site layout.

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  26. Wallace says:

    Step 1 – Create new post
    Step 2 – Paste my list of four items (that I want to turn into an unordered list)
    — The Block Editor converts it into FOUR separate paragraph blocks
    Step 3 – Search for how to create a list… Transform the first block into a list
    Step 4 – End up manually retyping block #2, #3, and #4 into the first converted list block.
    Step 5 – Delete the 2, 3, and 4th block
    Step 6 – Rip your hair out trying to figure out how to resize, change font, modify color of the list items
    (Sure I could add a CSS class… and then go to some other place to style the CSS class.)
    BUT – If I then convert the list item block BACK to the Paragraph block, I get back the ability to change font size and color… so why can’t I change font details in the list item.

    It is THESE types of frustrations that cause clients to run as far from the Block Editor. And this is only ONE of MANY frustrations. And when its been brought up in the past (through multiple mediums) it just gets ignored.

    Report

    • I definitely agree that font size and color options should be available for all text-based blocks. That is a frustration of mine. There is an open ticket to address this, so I hope it lands at some point in the near future.

      However, the list-pasting issue seemed a bit odd to me because I routinely copy/paste lists into the block editor. So, I gave three different types of lists a try. As you can see in the following video, the first two lists were simple to transform, and the third type of list automatically transformed. Are things working differently for you?

      The exact text I copied and pasted over is the following.

      // First list:
      
      Item 1
      
      Item 2
      
      Item 3
      
      Item 4
      
      // Second list:
      
      Item 1
      Item 2
      Item 3
      Item 4
      
      // Third list:
      
      - Item 1
      - Item 2
      - Item 3
      - Item 4

      Report

    • With problem like this granular controls over blocks you can use EditorsKit plugin. List Block controls like font sizes, colors and bullet styling is available upon activation. Thanks!

      Report

  27. I can see where Gutenberg would be useful for many people. But it doesn’t let me do things which I do all the time on my website, and I don’t like the change in the link editor. I don’t do flashy stuff on my sites; most of my pages/posts are text-based. A simple editor which allows me to just sit and write without worrying about blocks–that’s what I need.

    The trouble is the lack of choice–instead, we were forced to change to Gutenberg whether it worked for us or not. Yeah, there’s the Classic Editor, but we were told it would eventually stop working and it was just there until we “got used” to Gutenberg.

    So I switched to ClassicPress. It’s running great these days, but plugins are starting to drop support. So I checked out the latest Gutenberg on a Flywheel site….Nope, still won’t let me do what I want. That’s actually been a problem with WordPress for a while: dropping features that people still use, so we have to put them back in with yet another plugin. It’s not so much change and innovation that I object to; it’s the forced changes.

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    • Alain Aubry says:

      A year ago I was planning to jump to ClassicPress, but I was scared with the ideia of plugins authors dropping support.
      So I stayed with WP 4.9.x almost for a year until pushed to change by a plugin author looking to fix a problem which he did not fix.
      Now I have WP 5.3, I tried again GB, it is still the same, I can work with it but it is clumsy and cumbersome, I use only one Classic Block.
      I cannot see any reason to split my work into little pieces or blocks. My article IS ONE BLOCK.
      For this result, so much time and money trown again.
      It is sad.

      Report

    • Here is the thing about WordPress. It has a feature called the Plugins API. This is just a fancy way of saying that plugins can hook into WordPress and change how the system operates without changing the actual code in WordPress. The great thing is that nearly everything can be changed about how WordPress works. This system is one of the primary reasons that WordPress has become the top CMS in the world. This sort of extendability makes the platform enticing to developers because they can build anything they want on top of it.

      As long as there is a market for a different content editor, there will be plugin authors who cater to that market. It may not be the official Classic Editor from the WordPress.org team, but something will exist if the market demands it.

      No one is forcing anyone to use the block editor, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. There is no lack of choice. If anything, there’s currently an abundance of choice.

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  28. Alain Aubry says:

    Gutenberg is here to stay: Dark future lies ahead.

    I tried GB since the very beginning, give it a try every 2 or 3 months, I alway find the same nothing has changed it is still unusable.

    I am still using Disable Gutenberg.

    I work my texts, outside WP in Word, when is done I move it to WP.
    So, my whole piece is one block, not a block for every little think.

    Then I add some shortcodes and I mat need to switch from Normal to HTML.

    I don’t see a clear workaround GB for the future, my best solution is to use one Classic block, but switching back and forward to HTML is more clumsy.

    So much much time and money expended in project with NO vision.

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  29. jimmy says:

    What strikes me about the direction WP is moving is what the article referred to as the need to compete with Wix and Squarespace. The idea of trying to dumb down a feature rich platform (like WP w plugins and pagebuilders) to compete with simplified platforms for people who have no desire to understand the backend of a website is the major tension. No doubt we can conform to Gutenberg when they phase out support for all classic options, but why? I’ve read that WordPress pulled developers away from Joomla but is Wix pulling anyone away from WordPress? Is there really a perfect combination of Wix simplicity and WP functionality.

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  30. Tim Toomey says:

    I actually disagree in that I think Gutenberg can, and is a page builder replacement.

    Creating layouts, columns, multiple rows of grid-based content, and full width video + imagery is one of the things that I still feel is essential in order to develop dynamic landing pages that look great on both mobile and desktop screens so all web content isn’t so homogenized and centered in a single column.

    Our blocks plugin already does the above and more, and we’ve been using it on our client sites for three months now, and couldn’t be happier with it. The most important thing is, our CLIENTS are much happier with Gutenberg because of how easy it is to use.

    Why poo poo gutenberg as a non-page builder when clearly the capabilities for complex layouts are there in the core API? (focal point selectors, full width cover image blocks, etc.)

    I can’t wait for full-site editing capabilities with Gutenberg. I’d almost rather build out my footers and headers with blocks instead of widgets and hard-coded navigation elements like we do now.

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  31. holmegm says:

    I think it’s kind of bizarre to tout the “growth” of something that is included in WordPress by default. It’s included by default, for Pete’s sake. And new users and casual users will be unaware of alternatives.

    The only thing that would be surprising would be anything less than 100% adoption and use. Which is in fact what we see.

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    • The growth the post author speaks of is about the Gutenberg plugin and third-party plugins, neither of which are included in core WordPress.

      Report

    • Niall Flynn says:

      I speak to 10 folks a day like this, “My WP changed, I dont really know whats happening”, thats the distilled message from mom and pop to big companies. It was not even well announced to WP community. The new breed of gutenberg enabled themes are so awful too.

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      • Chris Hughes says:

        Niall, as I mentioned – the onboarding could be certainly better (especially to a less tech-savvy audience).

        I’m not sure about it not being well announced? There was a clear [dismissable] screen at the top of WordPress for a long time encouraging people to try Gutenberg before it went into WordPress by default. Any WP community member would encounter that at least a few times before it was rolled into core?

        Gutenberg Themes or Blocks? I think some of the block-specific authors out there are doing a grand job currently for something so young. I’m yet to see a huge amount of Gutenberg-specific themes, though common ones such as Astra have supported it for quite a while now.

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        • Niall Flynn says:

          Its over a year old, its in no ways young. Anyways I have literally wasted all the time I can on Guts, its an ill conceived idea and an even poorer implementation. The gamblers logic will kick in now, we have invested so much time in it etc. I speak to every level of user, I tried using it myself countless times, reviews on the plugin are being taken down too. The whole approach here is just nuts. Why didn’t they acquire one of the already working page builders, take that experience and integrate it. WP are not great with the human element of all this. Folks are stressed, this is not a joke its ppls livelihoods, mine included. Its just not ok to say its young, its getting there. Why was it then forced on us all!

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  32. Tom says:

    The article states “[classic editor] growth is declining”.

    But let’s look at some numbers. For the week of Dec 1, 2019.

    Gutenberg Growth: 0.3% of 200,000 active installations = 600 new installs
    Classic Editor Growth: 0.7% of 5,000,000 active installations = 35000 new installs

    A large section of this article is based on a questionable interpretation of figures.

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  33. Tom Bowden says:

    Hi, I would love to go to Gutenberg, except that our in-house process involves writing and editing articles (using track changes) in Microsoft Word. Then I have to be able to simply paste the finished article from Word into WordPress. Can I do that in Gutenberg yet? (Or is there a plugin that makes it happen?) I couldn’t a year ago, so I stayed with Classic Editor.

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    • The Gutenberg copy/paste is actually one if its strength.
      I say this with a caveat: In the last 22 to years, MSWord has been playing well with any HTML editor. So I am surprised that you are content with the Classic Editor parsing job…

      Another caveat: Gutenberg parsing from Word definitely needs power testers like you to make sure that all common usage is considered. I would invite you to try it again with WordPress 5.3. if it doesn’t fit your needs feels free to send me the document and what still doesn’t work. I’ll make sure it gets into the developer issues queue.

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    • Glenn Martin says:

      Yes, simply copy the Word document to the clipboard, then paste into a paragraph block. It works!

      Report

    • I just ran a test from a 6,300-word, 22-page Word document on a project I’ve been working on. Copying from Word and pasting into the block editor worked wonderfully with the basic stuff. Paragraphs, lists, and so on transferred just fine.

      What did not transfer one-to-one is highly-custom formatting stuff. The items didn’t break. They were just turned into paragraphs. That is actually what I would expect because the block editor would have no knowledge of what that custom formatting should be.

      I think it’s safe to say that pasting from Word works fine.

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    • Tom Bowden says:

      Wow, it seems to be working much better than a year ago. I might just have to deactivate my Classic Editor plugin!

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  34. Patty Ayers says:

    The majority of those looking at the chart you present to show usage of the Classic Editor will misunderstand it. A quick glance shows a line on a graph going downward — but installations are not becoming less. Only the rate at which the growth is happening is declining. In other words: hundreds of thousands of people continue to install the Classic Editor, and their numbers ARE NOT GOING DOWN. I hope people don’t miss that.

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  35. miniMAC says:

    JAMstack and Markdown is the solution, IMHO.
    I used WordPress for 10 years, but Gutenberg seems to want to look like a theme builder.

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  36. Keir Watson says:

    I have found GB to be great for long form posts.

    The ability to add css classes to blocks combined with custom css and saving blocks as reusable blocks means I can effectively create my own blocks.

    My blog is based on Generatepress theme and this works very well with GB. I have been able to create a really nice variety of posts. For example a 4000 word long-read about the considerations that explores the process of designing a garden where I used GB to create a range of different magazine style sections. ( https://herbidacious.calamus.graphics/2019/09/16/creating-a-planting-plan-the-design-process/ )

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  37. Khoi Pro says:

    My current state for working with Gutenberg is just for creating some landing pages, then save a published page to local and push it to somewhere like GitHub Pages or Now.sh platform.

    I tried to create some beautiful page, with little CSS changes, and I think from my developer role, the Block Lab plugin seems great to try. Why? It supplies a simple way to create some “dynamic” blocks, such as news, testimonials,… and I can supply each one with custom CSS. It loads like the modular idea and makes me feel better.

    Don’t stay alone with Gutenberg plugin. You must try to play with some other plugins, and you will have a better chance to craft some beautiful things.

    In a different view, I really don’t want each developer/author will spend a hundred hours to craft their own plugins, something called “My Own Blocks” and try to fight CSS styling or some Javascript things with their themes.

    The gameplay is fun, but if developers need to clear too many things to involve with Gutenberg, they will leave. I can see the end game screen when Joomla upgrades from 1.5 to 2.0, and leave many developers behind. So I wish to see a best way to make both developers and standard users to work with Gutenberg.

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  38. Ray Peacock says:

    I’ve been a WP user since PostNuke died and text was the heart of my original sites, Temperatures.com and the MeasurementMediaNetwork, and now on my (much) simpler blog.

    I post news via auto-importing articles from selected rss newsfeeds – don’t even know if Gutenberg (GB) would do with them. In addition, info pages and links of possible benefit to those who stumble my way are added manually – almost as a throwback to Notepad HTML, my first website dialect.

    It came as a shock with WP 5 to learn that GB was fully bolted on- I really don’t need to learn a new editing system, despite Matt’s view – but the availability of a plugin that turns Gutenberg off has helped keep my world “simple” . So, as long as I can turn away from GB, I’m OK! Hope that plugin keeps working! That way I wouldn’t have to consider ClassicPress or even B2evolution or…

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    • @Ray,

      If you want to continue using the non-Gutenberg version, you should seriously consider ClassicPress. Projects like that need users otherwise they might die off, and there is no guarantee that WordPress will always be able to be GB-free.

      #justsaying

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      • Alain Aubry says:

        I hope you are wrong.

        To me GB is a total nonsense, for now I am using Disable Gutenberg.

        In the future, if they force me to use GB, I will do everything in ONE LARGE CLASSIC BLOCK, what else ?

        A year ago I was looking for ClassicPress, but it seems to me that it never took off, there is not much support for plugins.

        Report

    • If the market is large enough, there will always be a plugin developer who is willing to cater to that market. I don’t see an option for the classic editor or something like it going away anytime soon.

      But, Gutenberg is much larger than just the editor, which is something to keep in mind. It is and will continue being a complete re-imagining of WordPress in the coming years. The editor was just Phase 1. Even if you have an alternative editor, you won’t completely escape Gutenberg without having an entirely different admin interface.

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      • @Alain,

        “A year ago I was looking for ClassicPress, but it seems to me that it never took off”

        Have you looked lately? They have a very active Slack.

        “there is not much support for plugins.”

        I am not sure how that can be because their code is essentially a copy of WordPress. So everything non-GB that works with WP should work with CP.

        Not pushing it, but also don’t want to do them the injustice of having people assume the project is not active.

        #fwiw

        Report

      • Alain Aubry says:

        Thank you very much for your comforting answer.

        I want to go deep with the second part: “Gutenberg is much larger than just the editor”…
        I have ever seen a plan for it. I would like to see a Global Plan beforehand people start coding.

        Large engineering projects are started that way, first a global plan, then some local or detail plans, every specified before anyone starts coding. Were are we going?

        I have the impression that in this case, nobody did this plan and people starting coding right away. I have seen block plugins come and go…

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        • Matt covered the overarching plan for the next few years in his 2019 State of the Word speech. There’s a few more details in that post about each of the phases.

          Now, get ready for a less-comforting reply.

          I definitely agree that we need more transparency with the details. The high-level outline is good, but it can make some people feel like we’re in a ship with a captain who’s sipping rum on the deck below instead of at the helm. We know where we’re heading. We just don’t know exactly what this journey is going to look like on the high seas. I may be taking this analogy a bit far at this point :)

          Part of the issue is that there are so many channels, which are all a bit disconnected (Slack, Make blogs, sites like the Tavern, etc.). If you’re not following the day-to-day stuff, it’s easy to get lost.

          This has been the story of WordPress’ history. It’d be interesting to explore how we, as a community, can better plot WordPress’ future course and make sure it’s easily available for anyone to view. I’m making a note to keep this in mind for topics that we can explore on WP Tavern in the future too.

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  39. Alain Aubry says:

    @Mike Schinkel

    It is good to know that ClassicPress is active in Slack.

    Their codebase is WP 4.9, I stayed with that for a very long time, but some plugins I use forced me to move to WP 5.

    Many plugins designers are not going to support WP 4.9 for much long time.

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    • Cynthia Freyer says:

      You are right. And that is the very reason that you will see at the CP forum that the team requests input on the plugins wanted by users in order to either fork them or to ask authors to support. Softaculous just a few days ago announced they are supporting ClassicPress installs on hosts. There is already a very long list of plugins supported by CP. The Update Manager for Plugin Developers has also just been released. That means plugin updates can be released directly to Classic Press users without being listed in the WP repo. You are welcome, of course, to stay in WP with Guttenberg. If you are truly unhappy, you do have a choice and can have a voice in its development also. One way works for some. Another way works for others. Happiness is possible.

      Report

  40. Jonathan says:

    Seems fishy, sounds like this is one of those paid post to make Gutenberg look good if you want real reviews go to Gutenberg plugin page.

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    • The post is categorized under Opinion. Like the plugin reviews on .ORG, blog posts around the web, and many other sources, you will find a breadth of differing opinions. Nothing fishy; just one viewpoint among many.

      Report

    • Chris Hughes says:

      Hey Jonathan, I am the author of this post.

      Totally transparent, I approached Justin with the idea of this article as it is my opinion (and as I stated in it, others certainly have other views!)

      I wanted to get the conversation in the open, a year is a long time in any software development cycle (especially WordPress-related) and was interested in how many have embraced it now (like myself) or possibly not just yet.

      Nothing fishy here! Thanks :)

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      • Ben says:

        Hi Chris,

        Your statistics and graphs suggest you are comparing apples to apples but you’re actually comparing apples to oranges.

        What I really want to know is how many active (running a publicly accessible site) installs of WordPress using the Classic editor plugin and how many active installs of WordPress are running with stock Gutenberg block editor. This information is necessary to make business decisions on.

        Your graphs show that the number of downloads for the classic editor is decreasing but it doesn’t show total installs for one editor vs the other.

        I don’t think Gutenberg can be classed as a success until significantly more than half of all active installs are using it. The information in your graphs doesn’t prove or disprove this.

        Even if 60% of sites were using it doesn’t really mean you can drop support for the other 40% of sites. I would say until Gutenberg has 95% adoption then you can drop support for the other 5% of users.

        It would be good to keep track of the active installs for each editor on a monthly basis to see when Gutenberg became/becomes the preferred editor for the majority of active sites.

        Most people were forced into downloading the Classic Editor when they upgraded to WP 5.0. Many corporate security auditors demand that sites run an up to date version of WP. These corporate users had no choice but to upgrade to WP 5.0 and install the classic editor. Most of these users would have done this soon after WP 5.0 was released so it’s expected that the number of downloads of the classic editor decreases after this time.

        The fact that the number of downloads for the classic editor is trending down doesn’t mean developers have converted their themes to use the block editor. Similarly the increase in the number of downloads for Gutenberg doesn’t mean more active sites are using it.

        Personally, I downloaded Gutenberg when it was beta to have a play with but we haven’t spent the significant amount of time required to convert our existing production themes. I would be included in your early download statistics when in reality I’m our sites are only using the classic editor.

        Cheers,

        Ben

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  41. I write long-form and HATE Gutenberg. I have ZERO interest in it “growing on” me. I have no appreciation whatsoever for the tool I’ve used for more than a decade suddenly and unilaterally being changed. No thanks. I’m happy to use the Classic Editor plugin as long as it lives, and I’ll migrate to a different platform when the devs make Gutenberg mandatory.

    I only ended up in WordPress when Movable Type shot itself in the head with average users to begin with. Easy come, easy go. At this point, WordPress is the dinosaur platform for long-form writing anyway. Gutenberg is a great reminder to writers to be ready to move on.

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  42. Cynthia Freyer says:

    All of these comments boil down to one thing: Who is the target public for the evolving WordPress? You can break-down satisfaction and dissatisfaction based upon skills and upon current use, and extensibility plans. It seems to me that the target is tiny business, low front-end skill people with few needs for extensibility. Concurrently there is a large trend taking place online in the blocking of ads, analytics and tracking, impacting the ability of tiny business in the content arena to market, to survive. The good intentions of that behavior are advancing the growth of large business; note Wal Mart’s foray now into advertising to compete with Amazon’s multi-billion dollar revenue stream from advertising. They are not hurt by the large trend that is occurring.

    It will be interesting to see the outcome for Wix, SquareSpace and now WordPress as they serve a public that is going to increasingly find it difficult to survive financially.

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  43. Chris Vasey says:

    As for now, I am sticking to the classic editor over Gutenberg. It still hasn’t grown on me over the past year. I have tested for clients for multiple situations and the clients prefer classic every time.

    We will definitely keep checking it and maybe when it starts to work as a page builder, it might move us over then.

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  44. Ben says:

    Separation of content (ie. copy and layout).

    The benefit of the classic editor is that anyone can enter text information including headings, paragraphs, lists etc. and then this can be marked up with short-codes. The short-codes can reveal “just enough” information to the content editors that they don’t screw anything up. We invested 12 months developing 3 corporate themes for separate websites, along with a group of configurable short-codes and a Javascript interface that our copy editors can use to control the layout inside of our themes. Short codes are good in that there is control for developers who can expose “just enough” functionality for the copy editors to do their job. It will be a significant cost for our organisation to spend the 12 or so months again to recreate this process using the Gutenberg editor for which we don’t have a need. Our sites have a few hundred pages with short-codes used to control layout. Throwing all this out and starting again is, from a software development perspective, a ridiculous requirement. Our marketing, sales and support teams can add text based content to our sites and style it within the bounds of what is necessary without being exposed to CSS, HTML or Javascript. I wish the WordPress developers would focus on maintaining the current “Core” rather than adding new functionality all the time. The included version of jQuery in WP 5.3 has known security vulnerabilities and is difficult to upgrade and patch. The Core team just ignores the tickets raised to fix it because they are more interested adding new features. The “Big Bang” approach to Gutenberg, although deemed necessary by the WP Core team, ignores all the work that WP users have invested in short-codes to achieve things, in what was the only way possible at the time. This is poor design for software because you can’t expect people to cover the costs associated with re-tooling just because the Classic Editor has some shortcomings. This kind of re-tooling often fails. I seriously doubt the Classic Editor will be used on less than 50% of sites in 2022 which means it will need to be maintained for much longer. If more people continue to use the Classic Editor than Gutenberg on their sites in 2022 then to me it is Gutenberg that should perhaps be re-thought.

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  45. Niall Flynn says:

    Not sure if this link will be taken down, https://cpdeveloper.ie/first-impressions-of-classicpress/ anyone interested in CP, I took the time to see how it would work. Im really hoping I wont have to move to this. But I admire what they are doing. I also from some small interactions with them as a group see a few things WP could be doing to include folks more. Equally too I think this has a better EU/Business focus. But of course the numbers of devs using WP and support for CP is the main thing. I just want simple stable sites for my clients and friends.

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