Matt Mullenweg and Matías Ventura Demo New Image Editing Tools Coming to Gutenberg

One of the most exciting parts of Matt Mullenweg’s session at WordCamp Europe 2020 Online was the live demo of the new image editing tools that will land in the next release of the Gutenberg plugin. The video is already available on (and embedded below). At the 8:30 mark, Mullenweg and Matías Ventura, lead architect of the Gutenberg project, unveil a collection of the latest block editor improvements.

The six-minute demo shows a handful of new features that are coming in WordPress 5.5, which is scheduled for release in August. These include more polished interactions, copying and pasting blocks, block patterns, and new design tools for the cover block.

Ventura also highlighted the team’s progress on adding rich image editing capabilities to Gutenberg.

These new tools allow users to easily rotate, flip, and crop the image inside the block. Cropping with zoom mode (shown in the image below), is particularly useful with the live preview showing the results in context of the rest of the content on the page.

The current iteration only allows for cropping with fixed aspect ratios but contributors are working on adding free-form crop to the lineup. They are also discussing refinements such as adding snackbar notices and queuing up image edits to only apply once all edits are complete.

In the past, WordPress users have frequently had to seek out alternative applications to perform quick image edits, taking them outside of the content editor and interrupting their workflow. With the new inline image editing tools in place, most simple edits can now be handled by the image block, making WordPress a more compelling place for writing content.

Ventura confirmed that these tools change the source image – they do not not just apply CSS changes. He also said the API for image editing will be available in other parts of the editor. The Gutenberg team is working on making the tools more extensible so developers can add things like image filters.

Contributors are hoping the new image editing tools will be ready for inclusion in WordPress 5.5. Users who want to test them ahead of the release can install the Gutenberg plugin and watch for the upcoming 8.3 update.


7 responses to “Matt Mullenweg and Matías Ventura Demo New Image Editing Tools Coming to Gutenberg”

  1. There was a time when users were suggesting something to be added to core they were typically get the well known reply that their suggestion was “plugin territory”.

    Since Gutenberg is not a plugin anymore but part of core there doesn’t seem to be borders for plugin territories anymore – as long as it’s block related. Strange how fast things change…

    • Could not agree more. It seems to have become a steady stream of “features” & “experiments” which make it difficult to work out what is staying, what might be going what is core – I mean hell what direction are we even going.

      In terms of the feature in the article on a wish list of what I’d like to see, this is way, way, way down it, maybe a nice to have [since it already exists in the media library]. Any web designer/developer worth their chops is just not going to use this, but then again it seems to be getting clearer that the Gutenberg project does not really consider the needs of this market as priority.

      I keep saying this but, amidst all these new shiny features basic functionally like selecting a certain block such as ‘group’ is still a UX disaster. The project needs to focus on getting the basics right and not a freaking image cropper!

  2. All this work on image editing but WordPress is still severely lacking any kind of asset management. All images sit in one place. All pages and posts are mashed together.

    It’s great and all that they are working on new features but I think organization is a pretty big want for WordPress. Yeah, you can get plugins to do that but it should be built in by now IMO.

  3. Query: when the source image is modified, will it be stored under a new file name? I can see a messy situation where an editor modifies an image that’s used elsewhere on the site with unintended results.

  4. Though this photo-editing feature sounds like cool stuff in 2020, I still can’t imagine how people would use it regularly. Like, I mean, it undoubtedly useful when you post via email and edit your posts on the go: when you don’t have all the fancy photoshopey-editors but want things to get published as soon as possible and look beautiful. But in other cases, as far as I know, many of WP users edit their images before publication and uploading them into WP already cooked up and shining.

  5. I think the image editing feature is focused primarily on the end-user,(which I think it should) because if end users don’t find it particularly easy to use, they will go elsewhere. I also agree that web developers won’t use this feature much if at all, but for those who just want to be able to edit their blog without using photoshop or some image editing software, this will be the ticket.


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