Is the Gutenberg Editor “Good” Now?

Posted by Darryl Schmidt on October 31, 2021 at 6:58 pm
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The Release of Gutenberg

Back on December 6, 2018, WordPress 5.0 was released, along with a new editor experience. If you were using WordPress at that time, there’s almost no way that you could have missed the hubbub that surrounded the displeasure that some people felt for the new editor.

Many felt that the new Block Editor, named Gutenberg, was released before it was done and was not a usable product. Deploying the new editor on production websites cause an uproar withing the WordPress commuity. Released first as a plugin, Gutenberg was included with WordPress and replaced the TinyMCE based editor with the 5.0 release.

Still available and updated regularily, the plugin version still maintains a two out of five star rating on the WordPress Repository.

To help those not ready to make the transition, a Classic Editor plugin was released, which allowed folks to keep using the older editor. The Classic Editor Plugin maintains a five out of five star rating with over five million active installations. Does the popularity of a plugin that circumvents the new block editor mean that Gutenberg is a failure?

Making Gutenberg Usable

Once your page complexity gets beyond the very basic, it can become unmanagable. Moving blocks around on layouts with nested blocks can be nearly impossible.

I use two plugins to help increase the usability of the block editor, both freely available from the WordPress plugin repository.

A Little Help from the Community

Block Navigation

This plugin works a lot like the List View that’s currently available within the block editor interface, but adds some functionality that’s missing.

Each block in the list includes a contect menu with a few options including the ability to remove/delete a block. The block removal function can be extremely useful on very complex layouts.

The key feature of the Block Navigation plugin is the option to drag and drop blocks up and down the list. Where applicable, you can even nest blocks through the Block Naviagtion list. This one feature is what allowed me to jump into Gutenberg and start using the editor.

View the Block Navigation plugin in the WordPress plugin repository. If you find the plugin useful, don’t forget to go back and give it the five star rating that it deserves.

Wayfinder

Once you get beyond very basic page layouts, it can be hard to determine where each block starts and a new one begins. This gets even harder with nested blocks and multiple columns

The relatively new plugin released in July of 2021, makes it possible to see what blocks are where, within the editor interface.

As you hover over the editor, each block will be highlighted with a pleasant border, along with a tag displaying the name of the block, classes.

View the Wayfinder plugin in the WordPress plugin repository. If you find the plugin useful, don’t forget to go bacvk and give it the five star rating that it deserves.

Get on the Gutenberg Bandwagon Now

Spin up a temporary site to test these two free plugins, and give them a test drive.

If you have any other hints and tips, please drop them in the comments below.