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Gutenberg: Why the hate?

Gutenberg is the new WordPress editor. It has been officially merged with WordPress core since the release of version 5.0. Even before that, everyone had known that Gutenberg is coming and the majority of them did not like the idea. I personally like the Gutenberg editor and still confused why should everyone hate it. So, in this article, I will go over the factors I think why Gutenberg should be welcomed by the community.

A little backstory

Gutenberg was first introduced by Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp Europe in 2017. It is named after the person who invented the mechanical printing press. A plugin was released in the WordPress plugin repository.

Gutenberg WordPress Editor Plugin
Gutenberg Plugin at WordPress Plugin Repository

The idea was to move from classic TinyMCE based editor to a much more robust editor which will use blocks along with many top-notch features. The blocks make the process of how users organize the content, much easier with drag and drop functionality.

However, as you probably already know, Gutenberg was not welcomed by a part of the community. Many of them went ahead and gave a one-star review to the plugin in the repository.

Gutenberg Plugin Review at WordPress Plugin Repository
Gutenberg reviews as of now, while I am writing this article 😑

Later in December 2018, with the release of WordPress 5.0, the Gutenberg block editor was merged with the core. As many of the users were not ready for the change, a plugin called “Classic Editor” was released too. It has over 5 million active installs as of today. So, it clearly reveals how many of the users are avoiding the new Gutenberg editor.

Why many of us are not ready for Gutenberg?

Here are the top 3 factors that I think causing users not to use the new Gutenberg editor. There could be more or I could be wrong at some of them but these are personal opinions anyway.

  • Fear of change: I worked with more than 500 clients in my career and most of them don’t like the Gutenberg editor simply because it is something new. Yes, just because they think there could be a learning curve on this. So, without putting some time on it (although it is very straight forward) people tend to keep it aside and continues to use the same thing they have been using. I personally use the Enfold Theme a lot and part of my everyday development is based on it’s Avia Layout Builder. Hence, I also have to switch off Gutenberg for all the projects that were already done.
  • Updating old content: Most users use the theme’s included shortcode, third party page builders or plugins rather than the classic editor itself. Back in the early days, most themes had a bunch of shortcodes to make a complex structure or content layout. (rows, columns, specially designed widgets, content blocks). Later, plugins like Visual Composer came in. Content placement and design got easier and more user-friendly. Right now, we don’t see much of Visual Composer but plugins like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi Builder, etc. made their place. For example, Elementor has over 3 million active installs. If we try to move from these plugins/ page builders to Gutenberg, we will have to re-do all the contents.
  • Compatibility: We already know how far WordPress has come since its release. It is no longer limited to a CMS (Content Management System). More and more complex websites are built with WordPress every day. That is perfectly fine and we are very happy. However, the WordPress install is not the only thing that makes it possible. We use a variety of themes and plugins that allow us doing things that we require on our websites. These themes and plugins need to be compatible with the new Gutenberg plugin in order to continue using the features they provide. This is where most of the hate came from. Many theme and plugin authors were not happy or willing to make changes to their already released products to be compatible with Gutenberg.

Apart from being an awesome 🥰 new addition, starting to use Gutenberg can make you think if you really should switch or not. I personally think we should start using it and embrace the change but the facts that make it difficult still holds me from using it on the projects I already finished or currently developing.

Why should we use Gutenberg?

WordPress needed a change. That has been provided by the addition of Gutenberg. A feature-rich, expandable, fast and easy platform that everyone can use to make the content better.

Many of us did not want Gutenberg on the core yet it is here and not going anywhere. Why not start using it?

WordPress has changed a lot from its first release. That is normal for any software. We do update our WordPress installation to keep sites up to date with security, features, and stability. Just like the updates, we should start using Gutenberg. We should expect more changes in the future that can improve many areas that we did not even think about. So, it is useless to just avoid a feature that is powerful and comes with something you already use.

Let’s look at some simple reasons why we should use Gutenberg

  • Better than any other page builders: This can come to you as a shock but in the end, this is the truth. You may think – “I can’t do this, that and all of that”. However, that’s just for now. We are going to have a lot of changes coming that will improve the functionalities of Gutenberg. It is already powerful but since the lack of trying new things, many of us are not seeing it’s true potential.
    • It’s free!
    • Frequently updated
    • Comes built-in so it is the most compatible
    • Future proof
    • Doesn’t rely on shortcodes
    • FAST ⚡
    • and many more reasons to come..

Qubely – Full-fledged Gutenberg Block Toolkit

On the last WordCamp that I joined, I heard about this awesome add-on for Gutenberg by Themeum. I was curious how much we could do with Gutenberg with an add-on plugin so, I tested the plugin on a demo site.

The plugin is fairly new and will have more things added in future but I was very impressed how things are already. On top of all that, it’s completely free and available on WordPress Plugin Repository. I am pretty sure they will have a Pro version released soon so do keep an eye on them. Checkout the video of the product.

Advanced Custom Fields – Gutenberg Blocks

Elliot 👑, Author of Advanced Custom Fields announced support for Custom Gutenberg Blocks from the ACF Pro version. This is huge! Ever wanted to create your own blocks that you can use everywhere throughout the site? Now that’s possible with ACF Pro.

Image from ACF website

Lot more to follow..

I will keep updating this post with new features and possibilities with Gutenberg. So, be sure to keep an eye on this post if you are interested. Let me know what you think so far in the comments.

Last Updated: June 7, 2020

Al-Mamun Talukder

About Al-Mamun Talukder

WordPress Developer. Minimalist Designer. Tech Enthusiast. Loves Cars. Founder of Omnixima.

Connect with me: Upwork, GitHub, Facebook, Twitter

5 comments

  • Gail Gardner

    I agree with Roz. Serious writers don’t use Gutenberg. When some of them have to for clients, it is still buggy. For me, if a client uses Gutenberg, I don’t offer to put content I write for them into their sites. It is too time-consuming to bother with so they’re on their own.

    We routinely saved and published content for clients in the past. Now, before we accept a new client, we have to find out what their site is using. If they use Gutenberg, I turn down the work and recommend other writers willing to deal with it.

    Your experience is totally different than mine. You wrote “Most users use the theme’s included shortcode, third party page builders or plugins rather than the classic editor itself.”

    Maybe you built sites that made that necessary, but I haven’t used a shortcode except on one site years ago that had a particular theme and membership plugin installed.

    I’ve been blogging since there was a WordPress and NEVER do any of that. And I’ve contributed content on many major sites in the past. None of them required shortcodes, page builders, or plugins related to editing.

    Creating long-form content is simple in the original editor. Finding what you want to edit and getting that done is fast and easy. If you edit content in Gutenberg, you break the layout and have to figure out how to fix it.

    When I asked a developer who regularly used Gutenberg how to do extensive edits on a page, he said he would just delete it all and start over. What a waste of time.

    And serious writers do not feel the need to change the layout of everything they publish. We can embed whatever we need in the original editor, easily adding images, video, SlideShares, infographics without fiddling with the layout.

    I surveyed 26 members of a small business mastermind community. These are the results:
    Using WordPress Classic Editor: 16
    Using Gutenberg: 5
    Switched to Classic Press (pre-Gutenberg fork of WP): 2
    I use another page builder in WordPress (Divi, etc.): 3

    Of the 5 who use Gutenberg, 3 only use it to create key pages and not for blogging.

    Automattic has split the community. They have greatly complicated how many writers make a living. I am one of the people who moved my site to ClassicPress because I don’t want to suddenly find out it is broken because Automattic decided to force people fully onto Gutenberg against their will.

    Gutenberg is not scoring well for many people in Core Web Vitals. So most likely, WP users will start moving to platforms like Duda.co that do. They are like the dog who lost his bone grabbing at the reflection in the water.

    They don’t care about their long-time user base — only about mobile first and some other audiences they didn’t have. And they’re likely to lose the majority of both.

  • No, it isn’t fear of change, it isn’t that I have a lot of sites already created that I have to edit, its that its clunky, not user friendly, looks horrible on my screen, makes me have to double or triple the number of clicks to do things I used to do fast, keeps a ton of crap on my screen while I’m trying to edit. Overall, it will be the idea that kills WordPress domination. I’ve worked in a dozen or more editors, it by far is the worst!

    • A

      It’s fairly new and will go through a development period. Just think of the times when people used to dump tons of shortcodes in the classic editor to get a different layout. It’s all so much easier now. That applies to a whole lot of other things as well.

  • Thanks. I love this. Yup, why they hate Gutenberg

  • Anonymous

    the best editor

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