The Gutenberg Editor: One Year Later

©Michael Prima/123RF

WordPress introduced its controversial Gutenberg Editor one year ago, but some users are still resisting the change…just because they can.

If I had to point to a modern-day example of people hating change, I’d point to the Gutenberg Editor. WordPress introduced the block editor with Version 5.0 on Dec. 6, 2018.

They warned us months before that about the change.

They told us it would be a new block editor that would make users’ lives easier.

But for the most part, no one wanted to hear that noise. We like things the way they always have been. Big changes usually don’t set well with us.

The Gutenberg Editor’s development team probably already knew that. But if they didn’t, they surely do now.

Why it was a big deal

The Gutenberg Editor replaced the classic editor with a block-based system. Each individual paragraph or unique element — photo, video, quote, heading, etc. — became its own block.

This block of text, for example, is a normal paragraph block. The block before that is also a normal paragraph block. The one before that is an H4 header block.

Changing the type of block is fairly simple. After you type the text, just click that area and block controls appear. If you want to add a photo or embed a social tweet, click the blank line you just added and select the appropriate action.

It’s not that difficult. To be honest, it never has been that difficult.

But it takes time to get used to things.

I decided I might need extra time to get used to it, so I downloaded a Beta version in August 2018. That gave me four months to play around with it.

Sure enough, it was a bit different than what I expected. Then again, people never seem to realize that a Beta version of something isn’t the final version of something.

I noticed a handful of changes as I used it. So by the time it became the editor that December, I had already mastered it.

Of course, not all reviews were positive.

To this day, some people are still complaining. There are some things, I understand, that might be inconvenient. I read a review that listed one of Gutenberg’s “cons” as still being a “work in progress.”

To some degree, all of WordPress is a work in progress. There are constant changes for a variety of reasons. The majority of those changes are one type of improvement or another. But the platform as changed plenty since version 1.0.

That’s life, right?

But as Eric Karkovak points out, new kinds of blocks are being introduced and the editing experience is improving.

The editor is expected to allow, eventually, the same kind of editing in menus, headers, footers and sidebars.

But some still haven’t tried it.

Over at WPTavern, Chris Hughes points out that the adoption rate for Classic Editor is falling. Classic Editor is a plugin that overrides the now-default Gutenberg Editor. It allows people to act blissfully unaware of what’s new in favor of what isn’t.

That’s their choice, of course. But eventually, Classic Editor will go away. Eventually, those users who still refuse to give Gutenberg an honest, fair try will be in for a disappointment.

At this point — more than a year later — you no longer have a valid excuse for not at least trying to work with it.

The only exception in my mind, at this distance, is if you happen to have a theme design that somehow is not compatible. And if you fall into that category, at this point, you no longer have a valid excuse for not raising holy hell with your blog developer.

In case that person doesn’t know or hasn’t figured it out, the message for them is the same as it is for WordPress’s bloggers: Gutenberg is not going away…and it’s only going to become more prominent.

The longer you wait now, the more cramming you’ll have to do later.

And then, you’ll realize, as others already have, that it isn’t nearly as bad as you’re afraid it might be.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.