If you’re a WordPress user, it’s hard to miss the announcement on the Dashboard homepage for Gutenberg:
A new, modern publishing experience is coming soon.
Take your words, media, and layout in new directions with Gutenberg, the WordPress editor we’re currently building.
A new default editor for WordPress is coming and it’s named after Johannes Gutenberg, the man who created the movable type printing press in 1439. The new visual editor for WordPress won’t be that momentous, but it will be a big change.
Many are asking what Gutenberg means for their website. While it’s still in the testing phase, it will be rolled out shortly. What does Gutenberg mean for you?
WordPress has produced a handbook to Gutenberg that you can access here:
This is what the creators of Gutenberg say about their work: “The goal of this focus is to create a new post and page editing experience that makes it easy for anyone to create rich post layouts.”
What this means is that Gutenberg is designed to make it easy to include different media formats in your posts. This is often called “rich content” or “rich media.” in your content. Rich content is combining different media formats like text, images, video, and animation in a single place, like a blog post or article.
How ambitious is the Gutenberg rollout? This is what the Gutenberg teThiam says:
“Gutenberg is more than an editor. It’s also the foundation that’ll revolutionize customization and site building in WordPress.”
There are over 200,000 installs at this point, and so far Gutenberg has earned a 2.5 rating out of 4. If that gives you pause, it does for me too. The good news is that at this point WordPress allows Gutenberg users to move from Gutenberg back to the regular WordPress editor. However, once WordPress releases their 5.0 version, Gutenberg will be the default editor. However #2: you will be able to continue with the classic editor if you prefer it.
Here’s a side by side view of Gutenberg and the current editor:
At first glance, Gutenberg doesn’t look all that from the current editor, but do notice that the writing space for Gutenberg is larger. There are also things that you can do within Gutenberg where the differences can be experienced. The goal of the Gutenberg team is to make the editing process on WordPress more enjoyable.
The Gutenberg editor has been compared to Medium in terms of feel. With one click in Gutenberg on “Post Settings”, you will be able to remove the right sidebar and create even more screen space for writing, which will be especially appreciated by those of us who do our work on our laptops.
See the dropdown box in the upper left hand corner of the white space? That’s where you can change from visual editor mode to text editor mode.
The Gutenberg Block
One of the key innovations within the Gutenberg editor is called blocks. This is what the Gutenberg team says about blocks:
Blocks are a great new tool for building engaging content. With blocks, you can insert, rearrange, and style multimedia content with very little technical knowledge. Instead of using custom code, you can add a block and focus on your content.
This is how WordPress defines blocks:
“The abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage. The idea combines concepts of what in WordPress today we achieve with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience.”
If that’s too techno-geeky for you, let me break it down. Blocks are the elements of a post, and a post is “a collection of blocks.” Look at the screenshot below to get an idea of what kind of content a block can contain.
If you’ve used the Medium editor, you’ll have a good feel for Gutenberg blocks.
There’s so much more I could say about Gutenberg, but my guess at this point is that it’s the kind of thing that needs to be experienced. All WordPress users will get that opportunity shortly. You can install Gutenberg now or wait until it is made the default editor.
What are you comments and questions?