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The new editor, code-named Gutenberg, is front and centre of the next WordPress update. It allows you to create rich post layouts by using moveable blocks. In short, it acts as a kind of drag-and-drop tool. These blocks can be a lot of things – from headings, through paragraphs, images and custom HTML, all the way to pre-set galleries, buttons and external widgets. The blocks we’ve seen so far are numerous and diverse. On top of that, developers will be able to create custom ones and share them with the world. Here’s a quick example of us browsing the available blocks and using one of them.

Gutenberg blocks examples
Showcase of Gutenberg blocks.

You can try it yourself by checking out the demo or installing the Gutenberg plugin. For the latter, we recommend using a test version of your website, as it’s not a finished product.

Gutenberg will enable users to do more with fewer plugins. In WordPress 5.0, its focus is mainly on being a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, but it is set to become much more in the future. In the coming year, Gutenberg will not only let you upload content in a new way – you will also be able to create pages and ultimately, a fully customisable website. All by simply using blocks provided by the new WordPress standard.

Gutenberg vs. page builder plugins

While Gutenberg is set to become a proper page builder in its own right, for the foreseeable future it won’t offer nearly the same functionality. If the project lives up to its expectations, it’s highly unlikely that commercial page builders will survive. But for the time being, major plugins will be compatible with Gutenberg.

It’s hard to imagine that any plugin could compete with an integrated page builder, given Gutenberg becomes a good product at the end of its development. The sole fact that it won’t be an external plugin means that each plugin developer will optimise for Gutenberg. A successful plugin has to work with WordPress first and foremost. Right now, developers don’t have to optimise their plugins for page builders like Visual Composer or WPBakery. If Gutenberg becomes the standard, they will have to.

Our take on WordPress Gutenberg

WordPress is going in a bold direction with Gutenberg, but we find it exciting. While we love plugins and have developed a few ourselves, having powerful features in the base version of WordPress is for the best of the community. It will mean that if you’re using the built-in page builder you’re guaranteed every plugin will work correctly on your site. The same can’t be said about external solutions. On top of that developers will be able to add to the catalogue of blocks to further enhance the Gutenberg experience.

That’s for the future, but what about now? Changing a years-old editor might cause issues for some users that will find it hard to adjust to Gutenberg user interface, but we firmly believe it will be for the better. The interface looks very appealing when it comes to user experience, it’s simple yet powerful. We can’t stress enough how much interactive and engaging features improve the user experience on the site and these two words are perfect to describe Gutenberg.

Originally published Nov 15, 2018 9:22:57 AM, updated June 1 2022.

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