What is Gutenberg?
If you haven’t logged into your website in a while and are preparing to write or edit in WordPress, you might notice some changes. Gutenberg is a take on a new editor for WordPress, which replaced the WordPress classic editor. It is named after Johannes Gutenberg, who invented a printing press over 500 years ago. The goal of this new editor is to make creating and editing content in WordPress easier by using “blocks” of content within pages and posts. There are more advanced, technical reasons as well, but today we are going to cover editing and writing WordPress content with this new editor.
The Old Editor
The old WordPress classic editor was somewhat similar to Microsoft Word. All your content went into one section. You could use html code to create columns and “divs,” which are like sections. But you needed to know code or use an extra page builder plugin to really edit the layout of the page.
The “Tiny MCE” in the classic editor allowed you to change some styles, such as text alignment, size and color.
There was also a sidebar on the right where you could specify information about the page or post, such as the category it belonged to, or the parent page if it was a sub page. The sidebar also had a place to select a featured image for the post.
Additional details about the page or post, such as the author, excerpt and revisions, were found underneath the content section. We showed you where to find some of these “Screen Options” in a recent post.
The New Editor
The new Gutenberg editor looks very different. Initially, there is no editing or content area. The new way to edit WordPress is to click the “+” sign which appears when you hover over the blank space and select the type of “block” you want to insert. Select a Text Block and paste or type your content. On the right, instead of the Tiny MCE editor, there are now selectors for font size and color.
You can also select a Drop Cap style, and even select a color for the background of the section. In the Advanced section, you can apply a css class to add even more styles via code in your stylesheet.
Blocks are Cool
The blocks in Gutenberg allow you to add different types of content and layouts easily. New types of blocks are being created by developers so this list is constantly evolving. Some current block types include:
- And more!
Every block you make can get its own layout and settings. And you can save these as reusable blocks!
But … You Can Keep the Classic Editor For Now
There has been a lot of controversy about the Gutenberg editor, with some developers feeling it was rushed into WordPress without enough user testing. It is evolving and new updates are being released frequently to launch improvements and fixes.
If all of this is overwhelming, there is a plugin called Classic Editor, which will disable the new editor and keep the old WordPress classic editor version that is familiar to you.This plugin also gives you an option to keep both Gutenberg and the Classic editor at the same time. You can configure this in the plugin’s settings.
Simply go to the Settings » Writing page in your WordPress admin area. You will see the option to do this under “Classic editor setting.”
The Future of WordPress
Ultimately, WordPress “blocks” will allow you to do much more with your website than basic editing. At some point, blocks will allow dynamic, customized display based on user information. I believe the future of WordPress and of websites in general revolves around the ability to incorporate some artificial intelligence and conditional behavior that will customize a website’s content and display for different users. Some of this is already happening.
Change can be hard to embrace. However, the future is full of exciting opportunities for website owners and marketers. We would love to help you and your website evolve with the times. Contact us for a consultation.