November 13, 2018

November will be Gutenvember this year. Gutenberg is coming in November 19, 2018. Will you be ready? There will be a lot of good features, and it will be wonderful for the future of website development, and for the WordPress Project in general.  This is not to say that there will not be any rough patches. 

But that is where your web team will come in handing. 

WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg

Gutenberg Background

You can skip this part if you want and if you want to get into the heart of the article. I just like to know the history of things before I discover the future of how to use it.

  • “The goal is to make adding rich content to WordPress enjoyable.”– From the Gutenberg plugin description
  • Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, is completely behind the project. This is essentially his project. 
  • Before it becomes part of core it has been a plugin. Gutenberg has been tested by uses for almost two years. 
  • The plugin usually gets updated weekly with new features and bug fixes. And I do not think that will change once it becomes part of WordPress Core.

Gutenberg Goodness

  • It’s a move forward for the Visual Editor. There have not been a lot of significant updates for years. 
  • The goal is to have an interface that is more intuitive for new users. This goal is getting closer. Although for WordPress Veterans it may take some getting used to especially if you have a process of doing things. You may have to adjust your workflow and figure a new workflow to accomplish some of the tasks.
  • The most important aspect to Gutenberg is that if you disable it your site will not break. This is due to the way Gutenberg stores its information.
  • You truely have copy and paste functionality within Gutenberg that actually works without adding formatting characters that don’t make your posts look bad. 
  • When you paste from another document into Gutenberg the content will become blocks. 

The Gutenberg Badness

  • Gutenberg shines on content layout and not on content creation. My suggestion is to write your content in your favorite text editor before adding it to the post and then use the copy and paste feature. Then you can drag and move your content around on the page without much of a problem. 
  • The User Interface is getting better, but it is still not intuitive as I had hoped it to be from a new user perspective, especially if you are not willing to break things.
  • Metaboxes are sometimes hidden under other settings either under the editor or in the sidebar depending on how the developer coded the metaboxes to appear.
  • Currently you cannot wrap text around images. Both images and audio or videos have to be in their own separate blocks. You can work around this, but it calls for planning on your part. You have to design a multicolumn layout. Then you can put your media inside of the columns.
  • Accessibility is still somewhat of an issue currently, but WordPress is working on this issue. Accessibility is a big priority for WordPress, but I think that since the Gutenberg team was so small and was focused on developing the product they lost sight of accessibility, and did not consult the accessibility team as often as it should have. This is a problem with software development in general. Either the security team or accessibility team do not get brought into the project until much later, and it is harder for the teams to revamp the code without causing delays.
  • Gutenberg doesn’t like older themes, so you may have to test your theme and see how well Gutenberg is supported. Some themes don’t get updated very often. 

Now The Meat of the Gutenberg Article

This will probably be a multiple article post since I don’t want to have this so long that you will not want to read it. This one will be on how to install Gutenberg. If you find this after WordPress 5.0 has been released then chances are you can skip this article because you already have Gutenberg. Feel free to continue reading if you want to find out more, or go to another Gutenberg or WordPress 5.0 article if you would like. 

Installing Gutenberg

If you have WordPress 5.0 then you probably already have Gutenberg installed and ready to go. Congratulations! If you are not as lucky well continue reading…

You can download the latest version of Gutenberg from the repository by searching for it. 

Once you find Gutenberg you just install it like any other plugin. 

Installing Gutenberg

Exploring Gutenberg

Gutenberg ScreenshotAfter installing Gutenberg you will start publishing your content. Gutenberg is a block-based approach to content. Gutenberg replaces the single  edit field of the current WordPress TinyMCE editor with lots of individual “blocks”. These blocks then allow you to build complex designs than those allowed in the current WordPress editor.  A block can be anything. You have standard blocks such as:

  • Regular Text
  • Images
  • Video Embeds
  • Buttons
  • Widgets
  • Tables
  • Etc

Plus you can have additional block plugins. Each block is its own entity that you can manipulate on an individual basis. You can easily rearrange those blocks by clicking the up or down arrow button in the upper left corner of the block you want to move. You can also add things like custom backgrounds just for specific blocks. It gives you more flexibility and in-depth control.

Gutenberg Tour

Gutenberg TourLet’s go over the layout of the Editor Screen.

A: Allows you to add a new block

B: Undo/redo buttons.

C: Gives you access to document settings, covering things like categories and tags, featured images, etc. It is similar to the current sidebar in the WordPress editor.

D: When you have an individual block selected, this gives you access to settings that are specific to that block.

E: Allows you access a live preview of your post or publish/update your post.

F: Once you add some blocks, this is where you will actually work with your post’s content. 


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