What is Gutenberg (for WordPress)?

GutenbergDo you use WordPress? Are you Gutenberg ready? Do you know what Gutenberg is?

For many people who would answer yes to the first question, I think there are probably many who would answer the second question I pose above, by asking (my third question) “what is Gutenberg?”

I’ve been aware of Gutenberg for quite a while now, as I am a hobbyist WordPress plugin developer, but it has been down my list of things to deal with.

Unfortunately, while I am still not ready due to other things I need to deal with, it’s time for decisions to be made. “Why?”, you ask; because Gutenberg is almost here.

Ok, time for a definition:

Gutenberg is a take on a new editor for WordPress. It is named after Johannes Gutenberg, who invented a printing press with movable type more than 500 years ago. The current visual editor requires a lot of us to utilize shortcodes and HTML to make things work. Their goal is to make this easier, especially for those just starting with WordPress. – Kinsta.com

This definition is a fairly common one that you will see; stating that Gutenberg is a new editor.

But, this isn’t actually accurate. Gutenberg as an editor, is phase one of the implementation of Gutenberg in WordPress. Introduced initially as a plugin, the description of the plugin starts with this:

Gutenberg is more than an editor. While the editor is the focus right now, the project will ultimately impact the entire publishing experience including customization (the next focus area). – Gutenberg Plugin

When WordPress 5.0 rolls out, it has just hit Release Candidate status, but the release date for the final is now not known, Gutenberg will become the default editor as it is rolled into the core of WordPress and ceases to be a plugin. Gone will be the old editor, unless you choose to install the Classic Editor plugin. This will only buy you a certain amount of time though, as that plugin is only officially supported up to the end of 2021. However, in the three years until then, later phases of Gutenberg will be created and integrated into the core of WordPress which will further change the experience.

And as the statement above shows, it will impact on every aspect of the publishing experience including customisation.

My big issue with Gutenberg (actually I have several), is that it mixes content with structure. In a later post, I’ll expand further on this. I’ll also do some other posts around Gutenberg including on blocks (going to be important) and the actual experience.

WordPress and the Problem With Gutenberg

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

Installing TortoiseSVN: Checkout from Repository

TortoiseSVNThis post is part of the series on installing TortoiseSVN which is I use in the development of Wordpress plugins.

With TortoiseSVN installed, we can connect to an existing plugin repository; in this example I am using my azurecurve Series Index plugin.

After creating the development folder, TortoiseSVN is available from the right-click context menu. Create the development folder, right click and selectSVN Checkout:

Right-click context menu

Continue reading “Installing TortoiseSVN: Checkout from Repository”

Installing TortoiseSVN: Installing

TortoiseSVNThis post is part of the series on installing TortoiseSVN which is I use in the development of Wordpress plugins.

The first step in installing TortoiseSVN is to download the latest version. You can download it from the TortoiseSVN website:

TortoiseSVN website

Continue reading “Installing TortoiseSVN: Installing”

Installing TortoiseSVN: Series Index

TortoiseSVNDepending on how much of this blog you read, you might be aware that I have been adding functionality by writing pluginsg for WordPress which I have been publishing via the WordPress Plugin Repository.

I did try writing a blog on my Development site, but that didn’t go too well; pretty much a case of out of sight, out of mind. I have some things I want to blog about, so will be posting them here.

The first of these is an installation of TortoiseSVN which I used to upload/download updates to plugins I’ve developed.

Over the course of this series, I’ll be installing TortoiseSVN, connecting to a plugin repsitory and committing changes made.

Installing TortoiseSVN
Installing
Checkout from Repository
Commit Changes

azurecurve Posts Archive WordPress Plugin – Beta Testers Wanted

WordPress PluginI recently created a WordPress archive of my Twitter posts using the plugin and theme from Ozh.

Part of the theme was a sidebar posts archive which I quite liked the look of and have now extracted and turned into a WordPress plugin so I can use it on any site (including this one):

azurecurve Posts Archive

Check out the archive in action in the sidebar to the right below the Calendar and above the Tag Cloud.

I am thinking about releasing it via the WordPress Plugins Directory, but before doing so, wondered if anyone might be interested in doing some beta testing? It is a very easy install (upload to plugins folder, activate and then place widget in widget area) and currently has no options although I am willing to create some if necessary (such as the ability to change the display name).

The plugin only reads the number of posts and does not write back to the database so there is no risk.

If you’re interested in beta testing get in touch with me (by email if you have it or use the Contact page) and I’ll send you a download link (I’m not posting publicly as I want to keep numbers under control while it gets tested).

azurecurve Twitter Archive Created

azurecurveApparently Twitter only allows you to download the last 3,200 posts you have made. While I am substantially short of this number at present, I thought it might be useful to keep an archive of these posts myself so I always had access to them.

The CMS I am most used to these days is WordPress and I recently came across a plugin and theme from Ozh which allows you to make an archive of your Twitter which looks like the new Twitter. This azurecurve Twitter Archive is now available; it has been themed to look very like my Twitter page but has all the functionality of WordPress.