34 Comments

  1. Steven A. Zahm

    So, how does one end up on the “Plugins that offer blocks for the block-based editor.” list? My plugin offers two blocks but is not listed. I do not see anything common in the readme.txt files between the plugins.

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  2. Stephen Vaughan

    I’m really surprised how badly Matt and his team got this wrong. Some simple changes to the introduction would have cleared up a lot of the agro related to this.

    The clumpick approach of forcing Gutenberg as default on current installs was bound to cause headaches. On for new installs yes. And mixing the two is just leading to disaster for many not versed in the incompatibilities between the old and the new.

    I for one see much potential for the block builder once it is refined a bit more and has features added that will fill the gaps left for many in it’s new design. Till then talk of removing classic should not have been mentioned. A bit of a PR disaster.

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  3. Steve Pheriche

    There’s no doubt in my mind that some parts of the old editor were baffling and unintuitive to users.

    I’m very curious to see some usability study results on the NEW editor though. Hopefully we all broadly agree that “the old editor could be bettered” what I’d like to see is usability test results which show Gutenberg is both better, and that the issues people currenly have trouble with are acknowledged and will be addressed. There are parts of Gutenberg which are baffling to both developers and content editors.

    I see that 10up recently carried out some usability testing with results HERE. That’s interesting but it polled just five participants.
    I would like to see Automatic run some usability testing on WP5 and have at least 100 participants, with a range of skill levels, experience, and physical abilities.

    The last time Automatic / Make.wordpress ran usability tests on Gutenberg they were far too simplistic and catered to the easiest path to a simple result: “create a blog post with a heading, quote, insert a video of Einstein, add a bullet list beneath and publish”
    This sort of test is not going to reveal where the editor falls down, only where it shines. That’s not useful in moving the editor forward.

    A more representative test might involve moving sections of text around, copying and pasting text across (and between) paragraphs, or re-arranging and editing an existing large article.
    Ask the user to do something simple like: “make the narrow editor wider to fill the screen’s available width”, which is pretty much the first thing any client has said to me. Let’s see how well that one goes!

    I want to see Automatic show that they understand the pain points of users and to indicate that they intend to address and resolve rather than belittle and dismiss them.

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    • Anthony Hortin

      I’d like to see users try and upload a pdf and create a link to it in a Paragrph block. Something as simple as this should’ve been one of the first things they built support for, but even now, you have to resort to a hacky workaround of adding a File block, copying the url and then deleting the file block. Either that, upload it directly to the media library and grab the url from there.

      This is one of the most common and basic tasks that users constantly perform, yet Gutenberg still can’t handle it easily.

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    • James McArdle

      Yes Steve, as you say…”moving sections of text around, copying and pasting text across (and between) paragraphs, or re-arranging and editing an existing large article’…exactly the sort of thing a blogger does in writing every post, and now Gutenberg makes this a huge headache..I simply cannot see, and I’ve tried, how to insert a picture into a text ‘block’, then shift it, without stuffing up the whole article . Woe betide you if you accidentally (easily done) move to the new editor from the old (given the constant prompting to do so) because you lose the whole post. My conclusion is that WordPress is abandoning its ‘base’—the bloggers—for the more lucrative commercial client like Indigo Mill and Lumina Solar. Those examples use barely any text—let’s see a demonstration of how editing upwards of 1000 words (a typical blog post) can be done in Gutenberg!

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    • Joshua Wold

      I see that 10up recently carried out some usability testing with results HERE. That’s interesting but it polled just five participants.

      I’m really excited about the work that Sarah has been doing in Gutenberg! This article might help shed some light on why 5 users were chosen. In short, when conducting user tests, you can use as few as 5 users to uncover 85% of usability problems.

      This helps to greatly lower the barrier of entry for conducting tests, and then conducting followup tests based on changes you’ve made.

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    • Frits Mulder

      Just see the reviews on Gutenberg plug-in. There you have your representative test of real users. And it’s not looking good. But certain factions of the WP community prefer to simply ignore that.

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  4. Nyssa The Hobbit

    Yeah–some of the responses I’ve seen in the support forums are distressing. Some moderators try to help, while some talk to people like they’re idiots. That’s going to drive users away from WordPress more than anything.

    Also, I never found the old editor hard to use. It always seemed pretty simple to me.

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  5. Kwehangana Hamza

    I loved every bit of Matt’s talk until he mentioned of phase 2-3-4 of Gutenberg where it seems like WordPress developers, theme and plugin devs while get sidelined as we have the ability to do almost everything within WordPress. (headers, menus, widgets, wide-layouts etc) which has actually been the cake for these guys.

    As a WP-Designer, i’m totally okay with the progress but not the whole community.

    Matt and team, good work and I really appreciate every bit but kindly think through this.
    Peace :)

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  6. Ted Clayton

    The bad news is that some contributors are not in a good position to segue smoothly to the new system. They will lose a big investment in the old system.

    The good news is that in the Website scene & game … Happy Days Are Here Again. Remember Matt’s mea culpa, that he had misunderestimated Social Media? He did nothing of the sort. He knew it was the death-nell of personal involvement in web-platforms … just as the Web in its turn had killed personal OS programming (as a movement & community), and he sorta-like prayed for deliverance. “Denied … you know about that Evolution stuff, Matt”.

    But then, there were some unexpected (by many, especially in ‘Tech’ … tho by no mean by All) Changes, which led to a reprieve from the Social Borg Assimilation … Matt’s prayers were in fact answered – “But you better get your butt in high-gear here, fast!”

    And he has. And Socialdom is in disarray, and personal inititive is the Everything Old is New Again Byword. “Quit frittering your life away making content for care-nothing Companies who sell ya out”. Instead, Build Your Own.

    Yes, WordPress long-since had become a hairball. Yes, the Admin-embedded TinyMCE was a barrier … for a platform that bragged the 5 minute install.

    My hat’s off to Matt Mullenweg for charging hard at that unexpectedly opened door.

    Some WP-folks are in a position like those Caravan-people jamming themselves onto a passing ride. They’re situation is not secure; any sudden bumps or hard swerves, and some of them aren’t going to be able to stay on.

    But watch now, how long it takes before the New WordPress starts reaping the reward. These changes are going to Start Something Big.

    Congratulations, Matt & Team.

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  7. Jeff Daigle

    Thank you for this post. The comprehensive review of the keynote plus the cool-headed analysis are exactly what I have come to rely on WPTavern for.

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  8. David

    I have switched to WordPress 5.0 on many sites that I manage. But only ones that use an external page builder (Thrive architect, WPBakery) or something that lets me bypass Gutenberg. I tried Gutenberg on one site. It is unintuitive and just really bad. I couldn’t figure out how to just put plain text down.

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  9. Duncan

    The bickering will occur as the masses divide between old-school and new-school methods of designing the internet but some things cannot be stopped. As web-masters finally realised last year that not embracing obvious changes will end up with no visibility on the net in the future. As in https, new google policies, cloud/container/vm advancements and the fact that little 5″ touch screens are a huge part of everyday use now. Gutenberg is great as is Ubuntu and AWS but it will take time for a lot of website designers after taking years to learn habits that are now sorta redundant. Novices and new-comers will eat it up for breakfast and maybe not give up so easily after falling over on too many plugins and themes …

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  10. BJ

    I think the real issue that I have with Matt’s answers is where he says:

    “A lot of people were showing up [to dev chats] who had never contributed to WordPress before and were crowding out the discussion of the core team.”

    They went behind closed doors to keep from dealing with opinions from people who had never contributed before. That is ridiculous. Sure, the meetings would have been nuts.

    But he is specifically calling out those who have never contributed before but are now trying to get involved in his so-called democratizing of publishing. When the people affected by a decision share their voices and then the decision-makers move behind closed doors because they don’t want to hear them, that’s the polar opposite of democratizing the platform.

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    • Lamont Cranston

      So the implication is that “democratic” WordPress is not open to people who are not “core team.”

      I had a Automattic employee openly stalk me on Facebook to the point where I had to block her. She was telling me I had no right to my opinion, should never speculate, on and on. And kept saying how great everything was like a Jonestown groupie. But that’s to be expected. She was told to go do something, so she does it with a vengeance.

      Matt has stakeholders and investors breathing down his neck to compete with Wix and get some of their market share. WP users and volunteers will either get in line behind the Boss or will be left in the dust. Some have been. Yoast said he would “raise Hell” if Gooberborg were released in December. Guess he lost his will to do that very quickly.

      It’s pretty clear as the rising sun in the morning. Mullenweig doesn’t give two coughs about you, me, or anyone else but his investors and core group. If this were not true, he would have said “let’s roll this thing out incrementally, so it won’t crash sites and leave all our plugin developers in the cold, or disenfranchise our army of developers. Let’s release it January 1st, with lots of advance notice so everyone can get used to it and then make it a optional plugin until everybody has a time to use it and our reviews are not all 1 star stinkers.” That would make logical sense, but would require a level of empathy and compassion that simply isn’t there. And if you think I’m exaggerating just go to any Facebook forum and look at all the sites going to white screen, crashing, people who are confused or stressed out, all the plugin developers losing their incomes, and on and on.

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    • Justin Tadlock

      “Decisions are made by those who show up.” Where have I heard that before?

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    • FPCSJames

      I attended a dev chat session not long before the 5.0 release, and I think Matt’s being deliberately dismissive of the actual crowd. Sure, there may have been some folks who weren’t core contributors, but others like myself and my fellow attendees that day certainly are in some way. The point of a dev chat is for devs to discuss the current important issues – not for just the Core leads to talk amongst themselves.

      Too bad, so sad that it wasn’t just AutoMATTic employees talking…

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  11. Li-An

    I made a negative review about Gutenberg and said that it may be not a problem for new WP users. To my great surprise, people teaching how to use WP to newbies told me in comments that the first thing the students asked was “can we have something looking more like Libre Office or Word ?”, so back to Classic Editor.

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    • Lamont Cranston

      Or ClassicPress….because the Classic Editor is gone after a year or two..and WP has already said they want Gutenberg to integrate more with the ClassicEditor and everything else.

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      • Tomas M.

        I was following Classic Press closely, but from their discussion about the future of eCommerce (especially WooCommerce), it is clear that CP will not be able accommodate majority of current users.

        In my opinion Classic Press should not reject whole react thing (although I’m not a fan of it), but work more on fixing the “democracy” of the project, eg. have Gutenberg available only as option, etc., so not to become incompatible with major players, but promote good community culture and make good changes that never make to core on main WP, but still stay somewhat compatible.

        Otherwise when this whole Gutenberg uproar will eventually end, majority of users will flock back to main WP branch.

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    • Anh Tran

      It takes time to get familiar with the new editor. I must admit that. I’m not sure if it goes well in the future. At the moment, I think the classic editor is still better in terms of writing. The classic editor on WordPress.com even more better.

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  12. Tim Stahler

    What are the options as far as code editors for people now? I’ve used a WordPress site for years, but really use very little of the inherent capabilites of wordpress. I come from a coding background, and want an actual code editor, not this new thing that WordPress has forced on me — which doesn’t actually seem to work anymore (I can’t even preview changes anymore). Is there a plugin out there that can replace this?

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  13. Chris Ernovsky

    It’s a shame that the WP community hasn’t got a place to speak aloud about their expectations and doubts as it occured. The WP forums seemed to be a fiction these days. And there WERE many reviews of Gutenberg in its repository that pointed out exactly (with several detailed examples) why this editor and the whole blocks phillosophy is a huge mistake. And guess what? Many of them were just deleted and accounts of their authors were blocked (myself included). And – as it was mentioned above – some moderators are acting there like they were running a Guantanamo facility.

    People are frustrated and angry. And they feel hugely dissapointed and deceived. Many devs have immediately walked away and moved to other web solutions.

    I can understand the discussion about the WP future and any developement decision. But such a treatment to the community is a PR suicide. Sorry but WCUS talks and Matt’s explanations didn’t help at all to get rid of any doubts.

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  14. TH

    So, because it was so painful to listen how a guy had no clue how to add a caption and how another guy felt like he is wrtiging a blog back in 2005, Gutenberg was created.

    I wonder if the leaders of Gutenberg project feel the real pain of over 1+ million website owners (and counting!) who have already installed Classic Editor Plugin in a desperate try to save their sites, workflow, time and business.

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  15. Marcus Hiles

    I’m finishing up a site for a client that uses Gutenberg heavily. It was difficult getting the theme together at first due to the constant changes to Gutenberg, not to mention the learning curve and architecture decisions that we had not encountered before while structuring the theme and files. (where to store blocks, how to logically split and store reusable template parts, etc)

    In the end, it turned out really well, and the client couldn’t be happier. I custom built 20+ components for them as highly-customizable Gutenberg blocks, plus a few flexible layout items – like sections and columns. They are now able to build amazing looking pages in under 10 minutes. Pages you could never do with the classic editor or would take extensive custom templates to handle.

    The completed project feels cleaner from a file/code structure perspective and looks great on the front-end. I’m actually a little impressed with the flexibility I was able to bake in.

    I agree WP development has grown more difficult by magnitudes. But the end result is also far superior to what you could achieve with classic editor + plugins.

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  16. Angela

    Read this, and understand (Google & WordPress)

    https://medinathoughts.com/2018/11/20/progressive-content-management-systems/

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  17. Mac2net

    I am going to try to use it.
    My biggest complaint is not remembering where the different setting are. They should put more out in the open rather than hiding him here there and everywhere. Stop worrying about “clutter”.

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  18. duncan

    I just spent a year or so learning all the related aspects of running 20 or so WordPress sites. I recently moved 16 sites onto a new server using updraft, multcloud, dropbox, google drive and a few other WP plugins as well as other cloud based apps I updated them to WP5 and removed the gutenberg plugin used for a month or so. Some are still using the 2017 or custom theme but I changed a few to the 2019 theme. Now at this point I have become competent at: hosting to designing – building, backing up and restoring – cli’s and the best gui’s to replace them with – Windows 10 destroyed and using my own custom designed linux distro – many other cloud related stuff.
    The point is that all the old c-panel based, hope your hosting provider is up-to-scratch, etc, based WordPress days are over.
    Self hosting and managing websites is a new ball game and ssl/load balancing and other stuff is required these days. Designing websites that work on all devices and act as interactive apps rather than multitudes of panels, pages, banners and `god knows what’ distracting the viewers purpose.
    #EndPoint > I like WP5, Gutenberg, no reliance or cost association on plugins/themes, the control and power I now have with all the latest software selected and up to date. My `operating system’ will be available in beta stage next year and would not be as fantastic as it is without the fact that it is `All About WordPress’ ( https://neweralinux.com )

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  19. Steve Bruce

    I’ll have to admit I am struggling with the new version of WordPress. It is not integrating well with the theme I have been using for the past couple of years and I am having to use the visual editor exclusively to create and change pages and posts. The theme developer is very active in doing upgrades and hopefully they will be able to make it so I can edit from the dashboard as well as visually as I was able to in the past.

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  20. Jerome Schmidt

    Core Support for Multilingual Sites

    – +1 I’m very happy with this coming change on the part of WordPress.

    The owners of the WordPress sites (e.g. business owners) should only be paying for the translators to get REAL translation. And should not be paying to any translation software.

    Translation is a very essential thing to do in WordPress. Since its online publishing, readers of website is most likely global in scope and it make sense that the software that supports this translation should be supported inside core by default. There should be no need to buy additional plugins just to get multilingual support.

    Right now, business/website owners will be paying for the plugin license to add translation support for the website posts.

    Then we will be hiring or paying translators to get the translation job done (another cost on website owners). This makes WordPress translation work a very expensive thing to do in the long run.

    If this is supported inside WordPress core, this cuts the translation work cost dramatically. Owners will only be paying for a human translator.

    This should obviously make a lot of WordPress users happy. And then you will see a lot of WordPress sites becoming multilingual with this change.

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  21. Randy Bjorken

    Hopefully the new block editor can be as good as Mailchimp’s someday. For now on the websites I maintain, I am reverting back to Classic until I can manipulate photos and text easier without ping-ponging between sidebar menus or having limiting options on text size, coloration and fonts.

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  22. John Redken

    i personally cannot see why the editor is so narrow? why doesn’t it represent normal theme article width like it always did? it’s sooooo annoying seeing my title occupy 2 lines instead of 1… i am going to install classic editor, i mean, yes, blocks and future and all that, but until such little things cannot be adjusted, i am against blocks.. yes, thanks to lazyness, 99% of people will not do anything about it, won’t dump wordpress for another cms, etc.. but it’s not a reason to just stick people with something seriously unfinished..

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