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Gutenberg Editor: Everything WordPress Developers and Users Need to Know

People having WordPress websites know that the present version of the visual editor remained unaltered for years. While this also allowed us to get habituated and use WordPress easily for publishing contents, nevertheless the lack of a refreshing editing experience is felt at times. Maybe, the latest Gutenberg WordPress editor has come as an answer to this. Obviously it involves some learning curves but in the long run, it also promises to offer a very lucid WordPress experience.

Here through the length of this post, we are going to explain the key attributes, features, benefits, pros, and cons of this new WordPress text editor.

What is Gutenberg WordPress Editor?

Gutenberg WordPress editor named after the inventor of printing press Johannes Gutenberg is introduced to make editing and content publishing on the WordPress CMS platform more easier with a lot of additional values. The new text editor organizing everything into blocks is likely to offer a more advanced layout for the WordPress websites.

The text editor has just been introduced as a beta version which means it is still undergoing the testing phase and not ready to run on production sites as of now. Gutenberg is likely to become one of the most significant value additions for the WordPress platform as it would help to address a lot of bugs, issues and help to process different feature requests. After the testing phase is over, Gutenberg is likely to be shipped with the next WordPress 5.0 update.

How To Start With Gutenberg Text Editor?

As of now, the text editor has seen nearly 22000 active installs and gained a quick rise in rating. In all considerations, the editor looks to be very promising. Now, the people willing to use the editor should know how to start with the text editor. First of all, Gutenberg needs WordPress version 4.8 or higher versions.

You can look for the Gutenberg WordPress plugin in the WordPress Store “New Plugins” section. As it is still in its beta version, we suggest using the same on a test website. After using the same on a test site or staging environment, you can later use it formally on a WordPress website when the final version is launched officially.

Gutenberg Text Editor Works With Blocks

How with Gutenberg everything is presented through blocks we need to understand. This requires understanding how different it is from an earlier text editor. Previously, contents and all attributes used to be contained within the large HTML file. For any value addition or enhancement, we needed to use shortcodes, incorporate custom post types, embed features, bring in widgets, etc. Their variable behavior and interfaces needed to be handled separately. Now, with the new editor, everything works like ready to use blocks that follow a standard set of instructions.

Thanks to such blocks, you can bring in changes and deal with different parts separately for augmenting the overall content. Moreover, whenever you make any custom changes with a block, it turns into a new set of option. Thus, you can actually create a new set of editing options as per your requirements.

With Gutenberg, you have blocks representing almost everything including Paragraphs, Lists, Headings, Quotes, Code, Shortcodes, Images, Columns, Widgets, CTA, Embedding options and almost every element you need in content or on a page.

The Blocks Are Reusable

Capability to reuse the blocks is one of the key positives of this new text editor. You can just save a finished block along with its settings and can use it later when you need it. For instance, if you have created an attractive page layout for your regular blog posts you can save the same and use it whenever necessary. This will obviously give WordPress developers more control in terms of customizing the look and feel of on-page contents with ease.

Key Benefits Of Gutenberg For Users

Gutenberg obviously represents a big change in respect to the usability of WordPress. The developers will find a lot of ease in adapting to this text editor as it offers unmatched flexibility and versatility. The whole purpose of Gutenberg text editor is to deliver a more modular content development experience.

Let us have a look at the key benefits for the users at a glance.

  • The use of blocks helps to simplify the page development containing a variety of elements like text formats, embeds, shortcodes, widgets, custom HTML, media, and meta boxes.
  • The WordPress theme developers will be able to deliver ready to use templates allowing users to update anything at ease without really engaging into a lot of customization efforts.
  • This will also help plugin developers to integrate the plugins with all parts of the WordPress platform.
  • The WordPress theme developers don’t need to deliver own plugins or page builders for building a site with required features. The portable blocks equipped to deploy rich layout will be enough.
  • This will also solve all sorts of issues concerning compatibility and help developers to concentrate on core development.
  • Finally, WordPress users will be able to fully materialize their design and development dream without compromising on technical grounds.

How To Use Gutenberg Text Editor For WordPress Web Development?

Of course, this guidance about using this new Gutenberg text editor is a bit ahead of time since it is still undergoing testing phase and is likely to be shipped with WordPress 5.0 within a few months down the line. But as the editor as the most significant value addition is about to make a start, all WordPress web developers and users must understand the intricacies involved in it.

As of now, we have seen how the editor works through blocks and we have come to know about the flexibility and versatility of a modular editor like this. Now, we will see further details about using Gutenberg in a website project.

WordPress block editor interface:

You need to add blocks to shape your WordPress website. But prior to that, you need to know about the key elements of the Gutenberg interface. Let’s have a look.

  • A – It allows you to add new blocks.
  • B – It represents the undo/redo buttons.
  • C – This section offers access to settings of the document, featured images, categories & tags, etc. This works much like the present WordPress editor sidebar.
  • D – This provides access to the settings of a selected and specific block.
  • E – This provides access to the live post preview and allows publishing and updating the post.
  • F – After adding all the required blocks this allows editing and working with the content of your post.

Adding new blocks:

The new text editor will also help to develop your layout by using separate blocks. Adding a new block while using the Gutenberg is very easy. All you need is to click on the +Plus icon and thereafter choose the particular content type you are willing to add.

Different Types Of Blocks:

Gutenberg text editor comes with an array of ready to use content and design blocks to shape your WordPress website as per your desired layout and feature requirements. Here are some of the common types of blocks used by this text editor.

  • Inline Elements: There is just a single block to use an inline image.
  • Common Blocks: These are commonly used blocks for content development and designing the layout. These common blocks include blocks for images, regular text contents, headings and subheadings, quotes, etc.
  • Formatting: This is the block that allows adding various formatted contents such as tables, graphs, quotes, etc.
  • This is also the block that allows using an erstwhile classic WordPress text editor.
  • Layout Elements: This block type helps you incorporating your preferred layout by splitting text into columns, incorporating buttons, dividers, etc.
  • Widgets: The blocks meant for widgets allows developers to incorporate shortcodes, categories, recent posts, etc. It also allows positioning sidebar widgets.
  • Embeds: This block type allows you to embed contents and links from outside sources right with the content and web page.

Gutenberg Keyboard Shortcuts:

Apart from the regular formatting options by using the shortcuts Gutenberg text editor also offers several dedicated keyboard shortcuts to make editing task further easier. You can see the full list of keyboard shortcuts by just using the Shift + Alt + H shortcut button option.

Reusable Block Templates:

If you have a preferred selection or set of blocks that you consider to be useful in other posts or pages, you can save them as a template and reuse them whenever you want. To create such templates you need to choose the preferred blocks followed by a click on the three dots icon and adding the reusable blocks.

Extending The Editor With Plugins:

Since Gutenberg is on the way to become a part of the next WordPress update, developers are already building a lot of extension plugins coming with their own blocks. These plugins and respective blocks will further extend the editor with more features and abilities.

The Fate Of Old Contents:

You don’t need to be scared. With the launch of Gutenberg, your old contents will not vanish. As soon as the new WordPress 5.0 containing Gutenberg text editor arrives, the old contents will be moved into a single classic block. You can either continue with this classic block layout or redesign the old contents with new Gutenberg editor.

Evaluating Gutenberg: Pros and Cons

Gutenberg text editor comes with the potential of carrying out a seismic change in the WordPress development and user experience. In spite of all the much-talked-of positives, there are few dark sides as well. Let us evaluate the Gutenberg editor as a whole by explaining its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • More sophisticated and lean editing experience for content developers and publishers.
  • Gutenberg editor facilitates the least distraction while providing optimum screen space.
  • Ready to use blocks will further make editing task easier besides making it a fun experience to make value additions.
  • Gutenberg block templates will further help faster development and publication with the preferred and common blocks saved as templates.
  • Gutenberg is fully optimized for large screen viewing and mobile devices. Editing on the go right on your mobile screen is highly possible thanks to this new editor.
  • Gutenberg editor is also likely to come with a particular API to help the handling of the pasted contents. This would prevent breaking contents when pasted from other web sources.

Cons:

  • The editor at present lacks any Markdown support.
  • In spite of its Block based editing suite, it may be a bit harder to learn for the habituated WordPress users.
  • Gutenberg as of now supports meta boxes for SEO. But the support is too basic and not updated enough.
  • As WordPress platform is full of themes and plugins, compatibility can still be a major issue.

Conclusion

In overall consideration, Gutenberg WordPress editor seems to carry all the promises meant for building a sophisticated website with a clean layout and advanced features. But until the editor arrives officially with next WordPress 5.0 update, we need to sit hands crossed with expectations.

Author Bio:

Atman Rathod is working as the Business Director at CMARIX TechnoLabs, a leading WordPress Development Company with 13+ years of experience. He loves to write about technology, startups, entrepreneurship and business. His creative abilities, academic track record and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.

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