WordPress Responds to the Gutenberg Editor – A Review Roundup

Posted on August 29, 2017 by in General News | 98 comments

WordPress Responds to the Gutenberg Editor – A Review Roundup

Nothing is causing quite as much of an upheaval in the WordPress world as the Gutenberg editor. Revealed by Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp Europe 2017, the prospect of merging it into core for version 5.0 is causing quite a ruckus.

Not only will Gutenberg do away with the familiar TinyMCE content editor but also replace a whole bunch of other modules in the WordPress backend. If you believe the chatter around the web, it could be the end of WordPress as we know it.

The new editor is already available as a plugin along with a call to install it and provide feedback. By now more than 13,000 people have followed the call and the Gutenberg editor review count has gone up sharply.

Time to take a temperature test. In this post, we want to get a gauge on how the WordPress community feels about the upcoming change. For that, we have scoured the web for public opinions which we will try to summarize in this article.

We will look both at feedback in the WordPress directory as well as Gutenberg reviews from a number of reputable WordPress blogs. By doing so, we hope to find out what people like and dislike about Gutenberg as well as how they feel about making it part of the WordPress core.

Does the WordPress community give Gutenberg the thumbs up or thumbs down? We are about to find out.

The Big Gutenberg Editor Review Roundup

So, let’s look at how others feel about the new Gutenberg editor. For a first glance, we will start with the WordPress directory and the reviews plugin users have left there.

The WordPress Plugin Directory

At the time of this writing, the Gutenberg plugin has a rating of 2.3 stars. Overall, it has received 87 reviews with the following distribution of stars.

gutenberg editor review in WordPress directory

From here, you can already see a great division in the WordPress user base. Opinions are mostly on both sides of the extreme. It’s also apparent that currently, negative views somewhat outweigh favorable ones.

The Good

When digging a little deeper, those who like Gutenberg feel that it is a sensible next step in the evolution of WordPress. They express enthusiasm about the possibility of integrating the editing experience more closely with the end result and call Gutenberg intuitive to use and a simplification of other visual editors.

They also like the idea of content blocks and doing away with shortcodes. In addition, they praise the modern design and call it more beginner friendly than the current solution. Many also offer concrete ideas on what to improve.

However, even some five-star ratings already call for giving users the choice which editor they want to use. Solutions range from making it optional, leaving Gutenberg as a plugin or putting it into Jetpack instead of core.

The Bad

The negative reviews are a lot more vocal about this latter part. Overall, there are two main concerns. The way the editor works currently and what it means for the bigger picture.

Concerning the first part, many feel that Gutenberg is making things more complicated. They say it introduces more steps for tasks that are already simple to do in TinyMCE. Critics also talk of an overloaded user interface, the lack of intuitiveness and making everything a block, including bulleted lists. Many prefer the current editor’s resemblance of other word processors, especially because it’s easy to teach to clients.

When it comes to the bigger picture, we frequently hear concerns that the editor will take away the flexibility that WordPress currently offers. What often comes up is that Gutenberg will be good for bloggers but reduce the platform’s capabilities as a CMS.

The biggest fear, however, is that it will sacrifice backwards compatibility for an improved user experience and break millions of sites and plugins. Oh, yeah and somebody actually wrote a poem.

gutenberg review poem

Overall, it’s clear that the WordPress community is divided and that so far the negative voices prevail. At the same time, the developers’ efforts to try and address concerns and ask for concrete feedback is to be commended. Alright, now on to other voices.

Please Don’t Include This in WordPress Core – Brenda Barron (WPMU DEV)

From the title of the post, you can already guess where this is going. While Brenda does mention that she likes the minimal writing interface, she is not a fan. The block architecture turns her off and she doesn’t feel like Gutenberg is an improvement on the existing interface.

In particular, her review mentions that creating and editing things like bulleted lists is a bit tedious. She also laments the absence of a copy and paste functionality and that inputting videos and other media is more complicated with the new interface.

Overall her opinion is not very positive even though she commends the effort of the developers. She concludes that she is highly in favor of leaving Gutenberg as an optional WordPress plugin.

Questions & Concerns From My First Impression of the WordPress Gutenberg Editor – Josh Pollock (Torque)

Josh Pollock starts off that he likes creating content with Gutenberg and is generally in favor of improving the current editor. However, he is concerned whether this is the way to go. One of his main concerns is that it might be a step back from a highly customizable content management system to a blogging platform.

gutenberg editor sample post

His review praises the UI and says Gutenberg is definitely a good thing for writers. Yet, in his own words, he is “more concerned about everything around the writing process”. Josh especially addresses the issue of backward compatibility after the switch to a more JavaScript-based interface.

While he states that Gutenberg would be a chance to get over some of WordPress’ technical debt, he also cautions that maybe a more gradual approach would be better. Some type of middle ground between standardization and customizability.

Misunderstanding the Goal of the Gutenberg Experience – Chris Lema

Chris Lema was initially excited about trying out Gutenberg and taking WordPress in the direction of what makes Medium popular. However, in his opinion, right now it doesn’t hit the mark yet. Like Josh, his biggest concern is “didn’t we want to tell the world that WordPress was more than just for bloggers?”.

He agrees that for content creators, Gutenberg is a good thing. However, for creating pages and websites, it leaves much to be desired.

In fact, in his opinion Gutenberg doesn’t go far enough. Chris would like to see efforts go toward eliminating the dissonance between what you see in the editor and the finished product on the page. WordPress should aim for true what-you-see-is-what-you-get content creation. Currently, too much still depends on the theme.

Diving Into the New Gutenberg WordPress Editor – Brian Jackson (Kinsta)

Brian starts off stating that he likes the similarity between Gutenberg and the editing experience in Medium. He enjoys the additional writing space and the “writing first” attitude. Plus, he was positively surprised at how well it already works in mobile. Brian also thinks beginners will be able to find their way around the interface quickly.

His criticism is mostly about functionality that is currently missing but likely on the roadmap. It includes missing support for markdown, custom meta boxes and responsive columns. His biggest concerns is also the backwards compatibility issue, especially in regards to plugins related to TinyMCE.

However, overall he appears positive and optimistic about Gutenberg, sees the editor as a step forward and is excited to see what will come out of it.

Thoughts on the New WordPress Editor – Colin Newcomer (Create and Code)

In his Gutenberg editor review, Colin tries to be discerning in his thought process and look at the editor through two different lenses: Gutenberg as a WordPress editor vs as the default WordPress editor.

In Gutenberg as just another editor he likes the uncluttered interface and the simple editing experience. Overall he finds it quite enjoyable and simple to use. As a plugin, he states he would review it favorably.

However, his opinion changes for Gutenberg as the only available editor in WordPress. Especially the currently missing support for copy and paste goes counter to his and many people’s workflow who like to write their content outside of WordPress. Apart from that, he also sees the danger of backward compatibility with billions of existing posts and millions of shortcodes in use out there.

In essence, Colin enjoys Gutenberg but is highly skeptical of it as a replacement for TinyMCE in its current form. For that reason, he, too, is in favor of keeping it as a plugin and voluntary option.

Gutenberg: First Impressions – Matt Cromwell

Gutenberg is the future of content in WordPress. It will deliver the elegance of Medium but with far more power and flexibility of layouts and content types. – Matt Cromwell

The quote above already sets the tone for the review. Matt welcomes the change and has been waiting for a revamp of the WordPress editor for a long time.

His first impressions are that its a flexible, intuitive, distraction-free writing experience. He especially likes the media implementation. At the same time, he has problems with block alignments and the cluttered embed section. Matt’s review also contains a number of proposals for improvement like support for columns.

His main question marks are about how the UI will implement changes in the future (like the extension of inserts through plugins). Like Chris Lema, he would like Gutenberg to move even closer to frontend editing.

Overall, Matt sees the editor as a great opportunity for web publishing. It would help WordPress catch up to Medium’ elegant content creation but pack a lot more power behind it.

First Reactions to Gutenberg, the Future of WordPress – Mark Root-Wiley

As the author of a plugin that modifies the existing WordPress editor, you would think Mark would express more concern in his Gutenberg review. Instead, he welcomes it as an overhaul of the current editor and its shortcomings.

Of course he has a bunch of smaller practical concerns. They include the editor’s appearing and disappearing formatting buttons as well as missing keyboard shortcuts. He also would like to try out a fixed toolbar at the top of the screen and implement drag and drop.

His review, however, also raises some interesting questions that I haven’t seen elsewhere, chiefly that of accessibility. Concerns have surfaced that this will not be a main concern in Gutenberg. If that is the case, he fears, it would go against WordPress’ central tenet of democratizing publishing.

Yet overall, he doesn’t question doing the move at all, just how his work can fit into the new environment. Of course, for that he’d like to know how much control developers will have over the new editor.

Gutenberg: The Obligatory Review – Brian Coords

Brian, too, starts off with the fact that he sees the current editor as one of the biggest Achilles heels of the WordPress platform. In his review, he tries to look at Gutenberg as both a blogger, theme author and stakeholder in WordPress.

As such, his greatest worries are about theme support, missing layout options and whether the project aligns with WordPress’ underlying philosophy. His review echoes concerns about backward compatibility and accessibility.

Overall he feels a bit clueless about Gutenberg’s direction but calls on the community to help out the developers with constructive feedback. Aside from that, he agrees with those calling for the editor to stay optional, maybe as part of Jetpack.

Gutenberg – The Great Divide

The emergence of the Gutenberg editor is dividing the WordPress community. So much is clear even if you just look at the rating of the official plugin. It becomes more apparent when reading the actual reviews.

What’s interesting to see is that opinions often differ between content creators and developers. The first group is often excited about giving the WordPress editor a much-needed facelift, even if the current iteration still leaves a lot to be desired.

Those looking at WordPress more as a CMS and from a technical point of view have bigger concerns. Their biggest fears are loss of flexibility and, as stated over and over again, backward compatibility. Many dread that Gutenberg will break WordPress as we know it and not in good way. As a consequence, there are lots of voices calling for making it non-mandatory.

When looking at the debate, it’s important to remember that every change will bring some inertia and resistance. WordPress needs to move forward in order to compete in a changing environment.

However, that doesn’t mean that the concerns being voiced are not valid and don’t need to be addressed. Thankfully, the developers are doing their best to do just that. Yet, seeing how many people are concerned and feel left out, maybe some additional communication is necessary.

We should also take note that the Gutenberg editor is still in its early stages and a lot of change will still happen. Maybe later version will calm some people’s nerves. We will just have to wait and see.

What is your opinion on the Gutenberg editor? Are you concerned or excited? Let us know in the comments section below.

Article thumbnail image by Jaaak / shutterstock.com

98 Comments

  1. It was not that someone wrote a poem. He did write of the greatest comments of all time.

    I am still in the wait and see camp here on this plugin. I fully looked at it at version o.6.0 and continue to peak at it which is now up to 0.9.0

    Yes this plugin is improving, but still soooooo far out from being usable.

    We are going to have to see versions of this plugin that fully show us how plugins like Yoast SEO, Woocommerce, Shortcodes Ultimate, and ACF even work with Gutenberg.

    This is going to be one very massive change here in how we create posts and pages here.

    They really need to prove to me and all of the Wordpres community that we need this when we have plugins like elementor, site origin, and a few other free page builder plugins around.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Hey Richard, it might really have been one of the greatest comments ever. I also agree with you that I’d like to see how Gutenberg work with these essential plugins. Guess we will have to see. Thanks for the comment!

      • unfortunately, users of wordpress has reached its peak that is why their developers are trying to attract more non-developers/normal joes & janes like yours truly (more like facebook, youtube & instagram users) who understands the common language in the internet world… easy-to-use wordpress means more users of wordpress!

      • Hi Nick,
        Thank you for including my “Poem” in your article! Cool. 🙂

        While I think Gutenberg is awful, I enjoyed reading your unbiased approach with the view from both sides.

        My concern is the editor is being forced into core, and onto the community by Matt and the Gutenberg team. Backwards compatibility, and community response, is being considered less of an importance.

        I think people who are giving Gutenberg 4 and 5 stars are only looking at it from an editor point of view. They don’t understand that Gutenberg is also a significant change to the core. It’s not just an editor.

        They don’t understand that many of the Visual Editors, Themes and Plugins they use, are all at risk, because they may not be supported. Shortcodes, meta, and custom post types to name the most important ones.

        Obviously, developers who have the resources will re-code and adapt to the changes (as Elegant Themes and may plugin developers will).

        But of all the things that Automatic could have worked on to improve WordPress, this one seems senseless and unnecessary. Remember when Microsoft introduced the ribbon?

        Thanx again for including my “poem” and for a great review.

        Cheers
        Avrom

    • Without going into much detail, WordPress needs it because it’s competitors are starting to kick its ass. As someone who’s been in love with WP for a decade and recently tried Shopify…wow. It made me sad because I did not want to come back to WP, for so many reasons.

  2. I feel that Gutenberg is a unique concept for those who are into content creation, journalism, and blogging, but when it comes to using WordPress as a full-fledged CMS, I would much rather stick with TinyMCE.

    While Gutenberg is heading in the right direction, it’s not even remotely close to being fully used in production. Gutenberg should NOT be the primary editor for WordPress, but rather an optional approach to writing.

    Let’s just see how the future holds.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Hey Ryan, you are voicing a popular opinion. I also found that many content creators were pretty excited but those with a more technical interest in WordPress were rather skeptical. Thanks for commenting!

      • unfortunately, users of wordpress has reached its peak (it really has not grown significantly) that is why their developers are trying to attract more non-developers/normal joes & janes like yours truly (more like facebook, youtube & instagram users) who understands the common language in the internet world… easy-to-use wordpress means more users of wordpress but gutenberg is a step-back not a move-forward… currently, the user interface of wordpress is so complicated that you need more than 20 or more plugins & more often expert developer/s to create a beautiful & secure website… to achieve a more user-friendly wordpress to attract more users — the team must conduct a study & start from the ground-up focusing on value, yes, what people really need for their websites!

        • users of wordpress has reached its peak (it really has not grown significantly)

          ____________

          HUH??? What data are you looking at. WordPress is at 28.5% of websites that exist and still growing by over 1% a year.

          WordPress is still far off from peak.

  3. Thank you for conveniently bringing us these opinions, but as this is the Elegant Thems blog. What are your or ET’s opinions about Gutenberg and, maybe even more relevant, about consequences for the Divi Theme/Editor?

      • Umm, yes, I kept scrolling/scrolling as well, looking at what headaches this might be causing the devs at Elegant, and in turn, in the future– for us Divi-ites.

    • This is exactly what I’m waiting for too. As a designer who primarily uses Divi for websites, I’m concerned about what this change could mean for my business. I love the customisation I’m able to provide for clients and really don’t want to have to go back to using other themes and templates which I find very limiting.

    • Yes, this is really the question of the hour for ET/Divi devs.

    • Nathan B. Weller

      We’re still waiting to see how Gutenberg will affect what we’re doing here at Elegant Themes. Obviously, we think page and site builders are great! What we’ll need to do to adjust to this new development is still up in the air.

      I think I can assuage some anxiety that some might be feeling though and say that we’re not overly worried. We always have and always will have to adjust what we do as WordPress itself evolves. Just like all theme developers.

      When we get closer to a version of Gutenberg that’s ready to be merged with core then we’ll know what that next step looks like for us and the Divi Nation.

      • Nathan, I agree with your approach but will there be enough time to do it, if Auttomatic plans to include it in WP’s 5.0 version core?

        Moreover in the long run, what may be the outlook for Divi? I feel that Auttomatic may be following the lead of Twitter when they outranked Periscope, developing their “own” great idea within their core.

        Does anybody out there knows/uses Periscope anymore..? Just asking….

        • Maybe page builders will fork WP to develop their own CMS+PageBuilder combo..?

        • BUTTT I do not think that WordPress has a SET date for version 5.0 of wordpress though.

    • +1 here! And how will effect Divi????!!

    • +1 from me!
      What do ET Divi and Divi page builder developers think about this really huge change in WordPress Core?

      I mean, are you already working on making Divi Builder compatible with Gutenberg? Is this even possible?

      Basically any kind of Page builder for WordPress arose from the need of users, who are unable to write html and css. Page Builders provide them with more or less easy to use tools, that do just that FOR them in the current WordPress Page and Post edit screens.

      The Gutenberg editor on first glance looks to me like a WordPress integrated page builder.

      Well, on the bottom line, there is still that one question, many of us Divi users and Divi developers ask ourselves: will there be a giant update for Divi and Divi Page Builder on the day of WP 5.0 release?

      Thanks for reading!

      Saskia

  4. How are Elegant Themes going to deal with it? Are all it’s themes going to be compatible with it?

    • I would be very interested to know this as well! Its very important as I use Elegant themes on many site for clients, my employer, and myself. If this update of WP will break the sites, that would be catastrophic!

      • Based on what I’ve read, Gutenberg has grown from being TinyMCE swap-out to a full edit-page replacement. In its current form it breaks ACF and Yoast and anything else that adds metaboxes to the Edit page. That sounds like Divi to me.

        I’d love to hear something official from Elegant Themes that sheds light on this issue and allays my fears that WP 5.0 will break all of my clients’ websites.

  5. I think the post should include recent posts from WPTavern or Ma.tt. There are some nice responses about the purpose of Gutenberg, which is an essential question: do we really need it? While democratizing publishing content, as Matt said, is a nice purpose, it only works if it solves all the problems that people talk about (UX, meta boxes, blocks, JavaScript API, etc.).

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Hey Anh, I tried to include the most recent articles that were out when I wrote the article. Will look for the ones that have come out since, thanks for pointing that out.

  6. It might be time for a group of talented developers to create a fork of WordPress and further develop that as a CMS, rather than the blogging platform WordPress seems to be headed to by wanting to switch to Gutenberg.

    • Roland, that’s exactly what I was thinking. It seems logical to consider a version devoted to being a CMS and a version devoted to blogging.

    • I like this idea. WP has become as close to a CMS as most people need but it should continue to expand. Introducing another text editor, especially one that doesn’t seem as robust as the full TimyMCE editor (remember, WP core only gives small pieces of it) is a step toward a different platform. Why not introduce WP Lite for all of the bloggers out there.

    • I was thinking the same thing! 90% of my past & current work use WP as a CMS. The thought of having to retrofit, or even abandon old sites & clients is not appealing!

    • Although I agree that if ever was a good time to fork it is now, the problem with forking is that a lot of people talk about it and nobody does it. And even people that try will see that it the work to fork is easily grossly under estimated.

      Recently I released the Lean WP plugin, which already gets rid of a lot of the bloat on both back- and frontend of WordPress.

      Nobody knows yet if and how to disable Gutenberg once it is included, but I will do my utmost to add that “feature” to Lean WP.

  7. I am absolutely with Ryan Gudonis. Maybe Gutenberg Editor is good but I think it should remain an optional feature for WordPress. I like the flexibility to choose which tools I want to use in WordPress, whether TinyMCE or Gutenberg or whatever, and to change my mind at any time. This feature of WordPress, its customisability, is what I like. Putting everything into core reduces that flexibility and limits options for those with different editing and working styles.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Hey Skye, that’s also a popular opinion around the web. We will see how it develops further. Thanks for the comment!

  8. How should we expect this to affect the Divi builder, in terms of text editors for modules (especially the text module)? I’m all for using this for blog posts, but I’d hate to use it for page content in any shape or form.

  9. why create another page builder when there are already so many good ones? They are fixing something that isn’t broken. Will I have to rebuild sites from the ground up, will my themes and plug-ins be compatible? This is the really important stuff we need to know. They could break 20% of the internet with this.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      That is the fear that many have. I would also love to see how that is going to be addressed. Thanks for the comment!

  10. BIG QUESTION for me is how this affects Divi and Elegant Themes. Most of my business is built around Divi so if Divi is affected I am affected…!

    Please elaborate on this. Why don’t Elegant Themes just create their own CMS? Jokes.

    • +1 here… But reading all the comments it seems that Elegant Themes is not interested in addressing the issue… I hope that all of the ET’s team are busy in working out the solutions instead of following up a blog… Impact on Divi? Yes, there will be…. I hope not as painful as with some other Divi updates…

      • Raf, you are right. ET’s silence is deafening! The question is, what does that silence mean?

  11. I think the WordPress developers should leave Wix for the Wix people, and concentrate on what they do best. Work on WordPress. Unless of course they are long term planning to make it a pay for Wix type thing….

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Hey Theo, I don’t think there are any long-term plans to make anyone pay for WordPress. I, for one, also love other content editors, for example working with Medium is really nice. However, for me the question is whether overhauling the editor can be done in a way that accommodates what many people use WordPress for. Thanks for the comment!

    • WordPress.com is for people that want to pay a monthly fee if they want. I do not think we will ever have pay for WordPress software.

  12. That’s why sometimes I prefer to use clear HTML code editor,.. but you need to understand and know HTML!

  13. Like Will – I wonder how Elegant Themes will deal with this. Considering the problems I had with non-responsiveness of the Divi Builder over the past few months, I might find I like a different editor! (That non-responsiveness is one of those erratic issues that changes every time I think I have a bead on what’s causing it.)

    • All I can say is they 10000% have looked at Gutenberg, but no info on what Gutenberg will do for DIVI.

  14. By not making Gutenberg mandatory, WordPress would enable the marketplace, the users, to decide the product’s value, the usefulness of its functions and its overall acceptance over time.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Good to know where you stand, Mike.

      • I’m an amateur occasional Web designer and don’t always understand the technicalities. But now, after a long and occasionally steep learning curve, I can just about make an acceptable site in WordPress. And I would be happy, as always, to explore new tools like a better editor but I really and truly want to make that choice for myself. Please don’t make Gutenberg a core component, and definitely don’t break my little websites over which I have struggled long and hard.

  15. Could care less about Gutenberg as long as I still have DIVI and 5.0 doesn’t break all my client’s web sites!!!

    • Lest I not be paying attention when 5.0 drops, I’ve added the following to my wp-config.php …

      /* NO Major Auto-Updates */
      define( ‘WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE’, minor );

      • Thank you very much!!!

  16. I may be olde skool, but I write in HTML making the choice of editor a moot point.

    Most of the time I write the post using BBedit on my iMac. For the special formatting I want, I have my classes defined as part of a child theme to Divi and keyboard shortcuts defined in TextExpander to insert the DIV’s as needed.

    For me, this is distraction-free writing. If I want a blockquote, I just type my shortcut and type what I want to say in the block. Same for the side bar comments (within the text, not the page sidebar). It keeps my hands on the keyboard which makes me faster.

    When I am done, it is a simple as copy-and-paste to put it into the post. I add images in WordPress and check the formatting. Usually, there are only a few edits before the posts are made.

    The bottom line is to give the users a choice so that I can use to no use the editor!

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      That’s an interesting way of working, Scott. And many agree with you that users should have a choice.

  17. I haven’t had time to read all those articles listed, let alone try the Gutenberg plugin, but I’m a WordPress developer and I’m scared. Unless a plugin could be written that restores shortcode support, this could break countless sites, especially any site with a builder such as Divi. I don’t want to go back to Joomla development.

    • Well John Gutenberg does have a Shortcode block which was introduced in like version 0.9.0 of the plugin. That did work for me when I tried it out.

      You had to copy and paste the shortcode into the block.

  18. I recently left a huge WYSIWYG company format because it’s ability to provide me the necessary abilities in layouts. It caused a lot of freezing, layering issues and other limitations. I am not a coder and do not understand all the necessary issues this process will cause in it’s operational effects. I did like the ability to design the website with drag and drop because it was supposed to have saved a lot of time in developing the site. The design stage was good, but it’s functionality did not deliver.

    We have to remember that this is huge in a lot cases with new customers and current users because it’s what customers are looking for today. I will relate to it with using the automatic car. The gap between standard drivers and automatic drivers is huge. Why ? Simplicity ! Divi has already proven this with their user base of over 400,000 customers.

    Coming from a magazine background this blogging style layouts has always worked fine with layouts for these type of publishing areas. After all a website page is typically the same as any magazine layout, with the exception it also provides video and audio capabilities to the page. Which is one of the reasons the printing industry is currently suffering losses, because the consumer can now get instant news and information at their finger tips.

    I would also be careful in collecting information in open forums, because if a lot of these respondents are friends or employees coming from competitive website building companies. You may have a lot of individuals who may not want to see this succeed. I do not want to appear as a individual who wants to stir up a pot, but we have to remember the saying, we should always consider the source of the information. It will always reveal the motive and accuracy of the information. In closing, I have still not found a complete builder which can meet all of my requirements in my website building capabilities. It may because I have yet to find all of the necessary plugins, or website building applications or themes that are available today. I do believe Gutenberg can be that next website developer, which can offer everyone the exact builder, that the marketplace is currently searching to find. I have not tried using the new format because I do not want to spend time developing a website while it is in Beta format, only to discover it may end up in the scrap pile.

    Just looking at the concept and layout features, it appears to be a favourable looking application. Maybe if you tried developing it as a free theme, something similar to Divi. You may be able to get a more accurate response from your loyal customer base. If the theme does not work you simply scrap the theme. I hope this helps you with your process in developing this application ! You already realize that in order for a company to survive, it must have always have the ability to be the company that will take their products and services, into the next realm of being an innovative leader.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Thanks for the detailed comment, Don. You make some good points.

  19. With so many of ET’s customers asking how you see this and the future of Divi, I am concerned you are yet to respond. What gives?

    • Nathan B. Weller

      Hey Maggie, I don’t think there’s much to worry about. Please see my comment to George above.

  20. Matt’s obsession with growing WP to 50% of the market is clouding his judgement, in my opinion, and here are a few of my reasons:

    1. Competing with Medium. If he wants Gutenberg to do this, he should look at the statistics and see how many publishers are leaving Medium and coming back to WP. It’s significant from the articles I’ve read, so perhaps its not a competition to worry about.

    2. Competing with Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc – this is a job for the WordPress.com, not a job for the open source platform. People that want the ease of using these services are not looking for a situation where they have to update, maintain, test, etc – it’s too much for them generally, which is why they aren’t using installs of the .org product.

    3. Competing with the open source devs – it occurs to me that he might be more than a little concerned with the Divi, Genesis, Elementor, etc options available – this quote gives that very impression –

    “Theme developers won’t need to bundle tons of plugins or create their own page builders. There’ll will be a standard, portable way to create rich layouts for posts and guide people setup right in the interface, no 20-step tutorials or long videos needed. Every theme will be able to compete with multi-functional premium themes without locking users into a single theme or compromising their experience.”

    The reason that people like WP as a platform is the flexibility. You can make it into nearly anything you want, and each installation can be unique, sculpted to fit the purpose of the site that’s using the software.

    His fight against the API, and his stringent list of all the things it had to do before it should be considered a core product raised the bar on its inclusion, yet he has none of those same requirements when it comes to his pet project, which also should raise eyebrows.

    If we were forced to give up Divi (or some other builder that we rely on to do the heavy lifting) because of Gutenberg, we would leave the platform, and I suspect we are not alone. Drupal (or some other unknown at the moment CMS platform) would begin to look much more attractive, and if we had to do a major migration in order to have usable sites/backends, that would likely be enough to prod us into making a big move. Not something we would look forward to, but if you have to rebuild, why would you use something that didn’t suit to do so?

    Just my .02

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Thanks for your input, Kim!

    • I already started building sites with Grav. It is a flatfile CMS that comes without a database (yay for being more secure) and although perhaps not for all websites, for many sites it can be a perfect replacement for WordPress.

      One of the cool things of Grav (and there are many) is that installing the admin module (similar to the WP Dashboard) is fully optional. So for clients you’d probably use it, but for your own site, you can just use the command line to upload the lot via SSH.

      I think Grav is an excellent alternative and I will definitely use it for more sites. If Gutenberg really is added to WP early 2018, then I know where I will go…

    • Nathan B. Weller

      Thanks for the input Kim. I think it’s a bit too early in the development of Gutenberg to come to any firm conclusions. It’s likely going to go through a lot more dev cycles before we know what it will really look like and how it will function in core.

      • I hope that we’re not barreling down the tracks, brakes not working, and the bridge is out around the curve.

        So many people have invested SO much time and energy into using WP as a platform that it’s mind boggling that this conversation about potentially forcing something on all these sites – without the option to refuse, as it stands currently – is even taking place.

        I suppose the Rest API is rapidly becoming the cornerstone of many plugins, builders, etc, since (not being a dev) I can’t believe it’s any harder to re-write using API than it is to re-write using a moving target that doesn’t actually work but is going to be launched anyway. And the React situation with Facebook is a point of contention as well –

        The concern about dumping backwards compatibility in order to add Gutenberg is also very troubling. What percentage of the current .org style installs would be broken if that happened? 25%? 40%? more?

        Scary thoughts.

    • I agree with all of Kim’s points. I have almost all of my client sites on Genesis child themes that I’ve created – some using BeaverBuilder, some not – and a couple on Divi. And, as others have said, sometimes it’s nice to copy/paste code written in another text editor. If that option is removed and/or my existing sites break, I would leave the platform as well and never look back. I cannot get my head around why WP would force this on all users. Just ridiculous.

  21. thanks for the great article.

    Will we loose the “text” view of the content? and be left only with “visual”?
    I am filling my content using html in the text view using csv import.
    will this be impossible with Gutenberg?
    Also what about pagination? using the code.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      You are welcome, glad you like it. Unfortunately, I can not answer these questions, I have not used the latest version of Gutenberg.

  22. As long as I can still click that big purple “Use The Divi Builder” button, I’m OK. I really appreciate the opportunity to write content freely AND to insert my own HTML/CSS when I want.

    • One thing to not randy DIVI uses TINY MCE for modules such as Tabs, text, Full width header, etc…

  23. I like WordPress as it is. The issue for me here is that there are 40,000 plus plugins in the repository. Many more thousands as premium items. Standout page builders already and up and coming ones like Tailor, Elementor etc. If Matt is really all about supporting the community, he needs to think seriously about whether he wants to support the community of developers around him who have made WordPress so accessible and the go to CMS out there. I can see WordPress being forked just so it keeps its own functionality away from Gutenberg.

    • currently, how is wordpress now? it has many builders, plugins, codes — very expensive & slows-down wordpress sites! because of greed, in the very near future, wordpress will be obsolete!

      • How will it be obsolete when 28.5% of sites use wordpress??

    • Forked or built on Rest API perhaps. Either way, it’s a punch in the gut to everyone who has spent blood, sweat and tears building the platform to its current adoption point.

  24. TinyMCE Advanced has been a portal for hackers in my sites several times over 10 years and complicates editing for my clients rather than helping them. I am not a fan. Something new and integrated might be nice. However, KEEP IT SIMPLE! And let us toggle the new tools in and out. Also, don’t try to replace the Themes’ functions. And yes, for petesake, make a better WYSIWYG in Edit mode the number ONE priority. Another thing that should be built in is categorization in the Media Library. That’s my two cents for now. 😉

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Thanks for the input, Mark. Seems like you are not completely against the overhaul.

  25. Thank you Nick for this page, and thank you to all those commenting above.

    It sounds as though the Gutenberg update, as it is currently proposed, carries the risk of breaking an enormous number of existing WP websites.

    I’m somewhat a novice to WP, although I have been building and publishing successful(?) websites for business clients since the late 1990’s.

    In my experience the most ideal WYSIWYG editor I’ve ever encountered is the old MS FrontPage. True WYSIWYG editing – right on the server. Yes, it’s true FrontPage wrote abysmal code.

    Now, if Matt and the WP developers could produce a FrontPage type of WYSIWYG editor coupled with the robust code of WP, without breaking legacy websites, IMHO, that would be a winner.

    There may be some negative feedback for my even mentioning the widely reviled FrontPage, but it did have a true WYSIWYG editor.

    Thank you to all

    • It could break them as old sites have loads and loads of old posts using the TINY MCE editor and they could be using older plugins as well.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Glad you liked the article, Paul!

  26. If Elegant Themes prove to be incompatible with Gutenberg, maybe ET could develop an app totally independent of the WP platform.

  27. Just to let everyone know the Gutenberg plugin is up to a so called version 1.0.0

    Major changes in this version:

    Merged paragraph and cover text blocks (includes the colors and font size options).
    Added thumbnail size selector to image blocks.
    And a whole load more bug fixes.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Thanks for that update, Richard!

  28. I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried the plugin and probably won’t get time to before this all plays out. However I am concerned after reading the feedback. If WordPress is altered in ways that only reinforce its origins as a blogging platform it will represent a blindness to what it has evolved into, and risk the market share that has clearly come from its application as a broader-featured CMS. We have been able to change people’s minds about it for the better because we can push it to solve more business problems with tools like Divi, Toolset and Gravity, but still strike a reasonable balance with usability and learning curve. I would ask the core team to pause and reconsider what problem they are trying to solve, and whether introducing more containers and fundamental UI shifts achieves this.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Thanks for the input, Garet.

  29. Thank you for the article. However I was looking for ET’s reaction?

  30. let them create say, a better editor (or editors). and why not they offer it as optional/additional ones? Whoever wanted to use that let them use. Replacing the current editor will break millions of sites and I hope WordPress guys are not going to take that risk.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      That’s the popular opinion, it seems. Thanks for chiming in, Subash.

  31. I really don’t feel like I have enough information at this point to make a solid judgement call either way. I using WordPress as both a CMS and a blogging platform. If the new version diminishes the capabilities of either, it won’t be a step in the right direction – obviously. And by capabilities, I’m not necessarily talking about the design of the interface. I’m talking about functionality.

    If plugin makers have to re-code or redevelop their plugins to accommodate Gutenberg, that might knock the smaller players out of the game completely. Same for theme developers.

    Anyway, I always try to approach the future of things with cautious optimism. It doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B. waiting in the wings – just in case what you don’t want to happen actually does.

    • Nick Schäferhoff

      Thanks for taking part in the discussion, Jim! I also would like to give the developers a chance to prove their concept before making a judgment.

  32. I’m all for pushing the WordPress platform forward. I was actually excited to hear that they were going to tackle this problem – the “non-tech person vs. shortcodes” problem. The guilt of telling your client that they have to use a shortcode, when you’d rather give them a GUI.

    But Gutenberg is so different, they should fork the WordPress repo and create a separate product for those who want to write in a Medium-esc environment. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to develop that experience. But user experience isn’t just about UI, it’s about the expectations of the platform – and forcing millions of users to accept this broad of a change (and risk security threats for those who are too afraid to upgrade) is not a positive experience.

    When millions of developers, agencies and average businesses depend on your platform, you have a higher order responsibility to receive and examine the concerns of the people who have sold the platform to their clients.

    If they want to integrate Gutenberg in its current philosophical direction, the only responsible and admirable decision would be to fork WordPress core as a new product.

  33. “Not only will Gutenberg do away with the familiar TinyMCE content editor”

    WRONG! It’s still TinyMCE. Just saying!

  34. I find it all scary as I have spent so much money buying plugins etc that will do
    what I need them to do for myself and my clients. If this change makes them not work then what a big waste of money. I think forcing a change and not giving the option, may make people stop using WordPress and anger them. I know I will sure be
    angry. Makes me now think twice about buying any more plugins as it may just be
    a waste of money. Then too if the change is too soon after budding a website for
    a client having to force them to make pay to make changes will anger our clients too. grrrr This post did not make my day. Hugs

    • Elsie,
      Thousands (if not tens of thousands) of us who develop sites are in the same boat. I’m certainly no fan of Gutenberg- and seeing already how it breaks plugins and is so difficult to use. I’m not optimistic.

      However, it’s a little early to panic. There are many options for a Plan B. (1) WordPress (hopefully) may be forked as its open source. (2) Someone will find a way to keep the MCE via a plugin and switch this thing off, and (3) plugin and theme developers will adapt when things are less fluid and understand the integration (i.e. custom post, meta, and shortcodes).

      But at this point, like yourself, we are seriously looking at our Plan B with options to replace WordPress.

      Cheers
      Avrom

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