It’s been almost exactly one year since Automatic released Gutenberg – the new text editor on WordPress, and I’ve been using it almost continuously since then. When it first came out, I found it lacking in many respects and wrote a blog post on how annoyed I was. Since then however, a lot of things have changed and improved. More than that however, I’ve just gotten used to it, and it has proven to be a surprisingly flexible tool, helping me solve problems I didn’t even know I had.
So one year after Gutenberg, I’m happy to say that my previous objections are no longer as serious. Some of them still apply, but I can live with them. In this article, I’ll explain what won me over to Gutenberg, and how I feel about editing in it a year after release.
The Custom HTML Block is the Best
By far the biggest benefit of Gutenberg to me is the versatile custom HTML block, which allows you to insert HTML code into your posts at specific points. Prior to that, you had to use plugins to accomplish the same thing, and even then, you couldn’t always use them to insert the code at specific points.
The custom HTML block has a variety of uses, as explained below.
Inserting Structured JSON Data
Over the past few years, structured data on posts and pages has become a critical component of SEO. While Google does a pretty good job of deriving context, there are some pieces of information that you can specifically provide, such as discounts, ratings, steps, and much more.
Structured data can be inserted into a WordPress post in two ways – through Microdata or through JSON. The latter is the method recommended by Google, and it consists of a block of HTML code placed within the article, invisible to users.
With Gutenberg, I can use the custom HTML block to insert the structured data easily. Previously, I had to rely on theme specific meta boxes, or separate plugins. It was also less modular and flexible. With Gutenberg, each block of JSON code is a unique entity that I can manipulate separately. Before Gutenberg, if I inserted JSON code into a post, it would have been invisible – even to the editors!
Copy Pasting Images from Word
I like the fact that when you write a post in MS Word, and copy/paste it into WordPress, the images are replaced by an image block from which you can directly upload the pictures. It saves quite some time along the way – a major quality of life improvement.
Pages are No Longer Homogeneous
I complained about this earlier, but the philosophy of blocks has grown on me. Basically, pages are no longer reams of text with a few images scattered along the way. The modern web page is no longer so uniform. Instead, we have not just text, but elements like carousels, “Table of Contents”, advertisements, interactive sections like quizzes, and many, many more. In the previous editor, all of this was treated as a sort of mish-mash, that combined everything.
With Gutenberg, we can now have a clear visual idea of what’s what and manipulate individual elements separately. WordPress 5.3 introduced the concept of grouping blocks together so that we could manipulate a bunch of related blocks as a unit.
Overall, I now understand the philosophy of Gutenberg, and onboard. My own web pages are composed of different blocks and shortcodes that are easy to style and manage separately. So how is Gutenberg doing after one year? I’d say pretty damned good!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!