LAST UPDATED: 16-Jun-2019
When I rebuilt this websites using the Astra theme and Elementor, I made the decision to use Gutenberg across the site. On every new page and blog post since that rebuild, I used Gutenberg to create the content. I wanted to force myself to Gutenberg, as an educational opportunity to learn more about it. As a marketing and design consultant at LBDesign, I feel like I owed it to myself to dig into Gutenberg.
The process of using Gutenberg has been interesting, to say the least. It’s been a process, and truth be told, I probably should have explored Gutenberg in more depth at an earlier stage. There are definitely aspects of Gutenberg that I like. And there most definitely are features to it that I still find frustrating and less than ideal.
To that end, I’ve been meaning to publish a blog post detailing what I like and what I consider a step backwards from the Classic Editor. While I’m writing this post mostly as a reference for myself, I suppose others might find it useful too.
Gutenberg: The Positive
I’m hope that over time the list of positive features will grow longer.
- The overall look and feel of Gutenberg has come a long way since its early days. Generally speaking, I find Gutenberg appealing in its UI. No, it’s not practically perfect in every way, but it is a solid tool for creating content – with some notable challenges (as detailed below.)
- The ease with which new custom content blocks can be created is really useful. Without needing to Google about how to create a new, reusable custom content block, I was able to add a list of blog posts as a reusable block. I was then able to update that single block on a subsequent blog post – and the block automatically updated on all the previous posts on which I had used it.
Gutenberg: The Less Positive
The following aspects of Gutenberg are shared in the order in which I encountered them.
- In Gutenberg, it doesn’t seem possible to drag the different sections in the Document tab up or down the sidebar. I miss that a lot. Being able to drag the Featured Image section, for example, to the top of the sidebar on a site that relies heavily on featured images is a really useful feature of the Classic Editor.
- The removal of the special characters icon from the editor has been a headache. I use special characters often enough to rely on that feature, but not so often that I’ve memorized the Mac keyboard shortcuts for » and other useful characters.
- Also, as soon as I click into the content editing part of the page, the sidebar automatically switches from the Document tab to the Block tab. While I understand why that is, I find it frustrating that I can’t control that.
- Perhaps because everything is accessed by clicking on little icons to display, every time I move the mouse, another dialog box or menu pops up. It clogs the content screening, making for a disruptive writing experience.
- Upon at least two instances, the trailing, empty <li> in a <ul> doesn’t seem to disappear even though I’ve deleted it in the Gutenberg editor, using the visual editor. I have to remove that extra <li></li> by deleting the HTML.
- Of course, the accessibility issues with Gutenberg are well documented.
- I struggled to figure out how to remove a reusable block that I had added to post. I clicked here, there, and everywhere to no avail. I was sure I’d find a “delete block” or “remove block” link or button somewhere. Eventually, with the block selected, I tapped the delete key on the computer keyboard. Block gone! Oh, that’s pretty nice actually. Yet given how clicky-clicky most aspects of Gutenberg are, I was surprised that removing a block doesn’t require a click.
What I’m Hoping for in Future Releases
- While adding reusable blocks is great (it really is!), I’d love if Gutenberg could tap into WordPress functionality. For example, I’d love to create a reusable block to display the date that a blog post was last update. (Perhaps that’s already possible?)
- A reduction in the number of clicks to get places.
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