WordPress and the Problem With Gutenberg

WordPressI’ve already posted about the problems I’ve encountered testing the Gutenberg Editor, which basically makes it unsable to me.

However, the problems go far beyond this as you can install the Classic Editor to retain the current functionality. The problem for the future, is that Gutenberg is not intended to simply be an editor, but a fundamentally new paradigm for site building with WordPress.

This appears to be a reaction from Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com and which controls WordPress.org) to the progress of Wix and Squarespace.

Gutenberg is intended to become WordPress’s answer to competition by these site builders, but, very unfortunately, this development seems to be driven by commercial pressures on Automattic for WordPress.com and without considering the needs of the wider WordPress community.

I am at the starting point of considering replacements for WordPress (on which I host several sites) as Gutenberg is unusable in current form and, from all appearances, Automattic is all in and will continue to rush forward with Gutenberg (there has been a number of, ignored, requests to delay the implementation of Gutenberg phase 1 in WordPress 5).

There is a very good, and long, write-up of the details and potential impact of Gutenberg on Delicious Brains.

From a personal point of view, I have two issues:

  1. I can no longer write posts the way I do, and from what I’ve seen so far, can’t post formatted code which works using Gutenberg. This means I can only use WordPress for as long as the Classic Editor is supported; which from the announcement will be until 2021 at the latest.
  2. I’ve added a lot of functionality to my sites by writing Plugins for WordPress (although not all of the plugins I rely upon have been released publicly); from my reading up on Gutenberg, much of the functionality I rely on in plugins for WordPress cannot be replicated easily in Gutenberg blocks and, if they can, will rely on me learning more development languages which I don’t have time for as things stand.

I have an issue to resolve with my web host in the next few days after which I’ll start taking a look at some alternatives. ClassicPress is a key one that I’ll be taking a look at, as it is a fork of WordPress 4.9 aimed at businesses and recently reached Beta release.

Gutenburg Editor Makes WordPress 5 Unusable (For Me) Without Classic Editor Plugin

WordPressIn the last post I noted that WordPress 5 would ship with Gutenburg as the defailt and highlighted how you could avoid this by installing the Classic Editor plugin.

I’ve been doing some additional testing, and I’ve discovered that Gutenberg will make it impossible for me to blog the way I currently do. I include a lot of screenshots and code samples in my posts, and Gutenberg is not allowing me to format posts as I do now.

Not only does Gutenberg force more clicks of the mouse to do standard tasks when creating a post, it is also stripping out the majority of the formatting I have in my posts.

As I use a lot of images and code samples, I write my posts in Notepad++, for word completion and syntax highlighting, and then paste into WordPress. When I do this, it either strips out the HTML formatting or removes it entirely. The same happens whether I am pasting into a normal block or an HTML edited block.

The posts I’ve tested with have ended up unreadable due to this.

While I can upgrade to WordPress 5, I can only do so if I also install the Classic Editor plugin.

WordPress 5 Releases With Gutenberg Editor As Default: How to Keep/Get Classic Editor Back

WordPressGutenberg has been available for a while as a buggy plugin for WordPress, but when WordPress 5 launches it will include Gutenberg in the core.

I’ve been testing my plugins against WordPress 5 and have had a try of Gutenberg.

My first impression was that it was very poor; I left it for a while and tried again and I’ve changed my opinion to horrific. It may be usable to non-technical people with no experience of WordPress (I’m not one of them so can’t judge that), but for someone like myself, Gutenberg just seems to hide everything away. Also on the hugely negative side, it adds a huge amount of unnecessary comments to a post.

The only positive is that the Classic Editor is still be available as a plugin:

Classic Editor Plugin

If you install the Classic Editor plugin prior to installing WordPress 5, it should remain the default editor even after the upgrade.

I do have concerns about the Classic Editor being shunted into a plugin and only updated until 2021.