It’s been about four months since the last time I shared my experience with Gutenberg. In that time, there have been sixteen releases. The more I use Gutenberg, the more nuances I encounter.
Disruptive Writing Flow
When writing a post, I press the enter key at the end of a paragraph. This creates a new paragraph block automatically. Sometimes however, I want the next block to be an Image block. The paragraph block does not have an option to be converted into another block.
I end up having to remove the paragraph block, look for the add block icon, and add the image block. This process of rearranging blocks disrupts the flow of writing.
There are a few ways to get around this issue. The first is to not press enter at the end of a paragraph so I can add the block that I want.
The second is to type /image inside the paragraph block which will automatically convert it to an image block. This is convenient but it’s a power user shortcut that’s difficult to discover without someone telling you about it. It’s weird that using a shortcut can convert a paragraph block to an image block but the user interface option to convert it doesn’t exist.
Icons Not Associated With a Block Floating in Empty Space
In the image below is a CloudUp embed block that has a video and below it are three icons. I sometimes think these icons are related to the block above it but instead, these icons are part of the add block placeholder UI.
Granted, a list, image, and quote icon has nothing to do with embedding videos. At-a-glance, seeing these icons can lead to a bit of confusion. I don’t want to see those icons floating in empty space when I’m working on a block they’re not attached too.
Losing Content Due to Autosave Disconnecting
While writing a post working remotely, I noticed the Autosave button in Gutenberg was continuously flashing. I’ve experienced something similar in the classic editor and suspected that a connection issue must have happened although I was browsing the internet without a problem.
I finished writing the post, added meta data, and a featured image. I copied all of the content on the post, refreshed the page, and confirmed I wanted to leave the page. It turns out, my suspicion was right.
At some point, the autosave process stopped working and I lost half the post, including the meta data. I was able to paste the lost content into the editor and go about my day.
The current editor has fail-safes in place to prevent the loss of content, such as using a browser’s local storage. I’m unsure if Gutenberg has the same fail-safes in place. So far, this has been the only time where I’ve lost content in Gutenberg due to autosave not working correctly.
Digging Through the Junk Drawer
In the classic editor, the tool bar stays in constant view. In Gutenberg, there are multiple areas on the screen where UI elements appear and disappear depending on where the cursor is.
If you want to see the code version of the editor, you need to click the ellipsis on the top right corner and select it from a drop-down menu. To add a new block, you have to click the + symbol and either search or select from a menu.
The combination of visiting different parts of the editor, browsing through menus, and selecting from multiple things sometimes feels like I’m going through the junk drawer in the kitchen looking for a utensil. This feeling occurs multiple times depending on the length of a post.
There’s Still a Ways to Go
I’ve been able to get used to the block concept and actually prefer it over the classic editor. However, there are certain tasks that are easier and faster to accomplish in the classic editor versus Gutenberg.
For example, if you want to create a heading using existing text in Gutenberg, you have to select the text, click the Paragraph icon, select the heading block, and choose which heading you want. In the Classic editor, you select the text, click the preferred heading from an always visible drop-down menu and continue writing.
These nuances to the writing flow, the user interface, and the experience of looking around for things is where I believe Gutenberg needs the most improvement. The bar has been set by the Classic editor but it has more than 10 years of iteration behind it. Hopefully, Gutenberg can reach or exceed that bar before it’s merged into core.