The beta version of the much-anticipated WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg is finally out, and the ratings indicate that it has not received a very overwhelming response. Well, this is primarily because the update is not yet fully functional and feature complete and is pretty much in the infancy stages. However, the WordPress developers are working on the feedback, and soon all the bugs will be removed, and users will enjoy a more neat and seamless version.
The highlight of the update is that the WordPress has tried to bring a modern, highly sophisticated and a simplified content creation experience for its community. This will help WordPress developers to make their websites look visually more appealing without requiring an extensive coding background.
Let’s grab a quick look at Gutenberg and how will it affect the WordPress community.
What is Gutenberg?
Named after “Johannes Gutenberg”, the nice German guy who invented the movable type printing press in the 15th century, Gutenberg is the new post editor that will eventually replace the classic WYSIWYG editor in WordPress.
According to WordPress,
“The goal is to create a new post and page editing experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcode, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.”
The Gutenberg has introduced a new content editing experience called “Blocks,” a unified way to style content that will provide a clear and consistent user experience. The term Blocks is an abstract term, and it can be anything such as images, video embeds, paragraphs, buttons, media or any other format. You can also create customized blocks for any particular needs. Blocks can easily be arranged in many different ways, and it is possible to drag and drop them around to the desired placement on a page.
The primary goal of the new editor is to make content design more attractive, and also make the adding of rich content to WordPress comfortable, hassle-free and enjoyable in a streamlined environment.
What Does Gutenberg Means for Developers?
Gutenberg has become one of the most talked about subjects in the web development community and has stirred up some heated debates among designers, developers, marketers and content creators. Some believe that Gutenberg will totally revolutionize the way content is produced and edited while others fear about how these massive changes may affect current websites and plugins. Whatever the outcome is, one thing we are pretty sure of is that Gutenberg will transform the way we create, design, develop and think about WordPress.
I downloaded and installed the plugin for a test drive. Being a designer myself, here are my finding how will Gutenberg impact the designers and developers
Visual Elements Can be Integrated with the Text in a more Unified and Natural Way
WordPress started its journey as a blogging platform and to date, it is arguably the most loved and respected blogging platform in the market. However, blogging has gradually evolved over the period, and users now expect a more diverse and vibrant content that include a lot of multimedia and advanced visual elements.
The increasing popularity of visual blogging platforms like Tumblr and even Instagram is a clear indication that millennial are more into images and videos. The problem with the original editor was that it was not very good at handling multimedia and aesthetical elements.
Gutenberg makes it easy to handle rich data, and there are no plugins, custom fields, or HTML required. The new drag-and-drop editing functionality will help business owners to put content at the forefront of design and make websites more visual without needing any coding background.
This may totally eliminate the requirement of plugins, coding knowledge and need of developers. In addition to that, if you make changes to one block, it won’t affect any other block.
Adding Products to WordPress Ecommerce Site would be a Lot Easier
WooCommerce, the WordPress version of eCommerce has also gained immense popularity and is now one of the most sought-after eCommerce web development platforms. As we all know, the primary reason of WooCommerce’s popularity in the eCommerce industry is its simplicity.
Gutenberg will amplify the simplicity by making the management of products and homepage design easier for WooCommerce sites. Again, the need of coding will be eliminated. One can easily structure content and build block product templates which will result in lower development and maintenance cost.
However, the eCommerce sites are complex, and eCommerce entrepreneurs rely on plugins to make their stores more customer-centric and user-friendly. These plugins add juice to the functionality by offering some unique features. For instance, WooCommerce price calculator plugin is a popular plugin that allows customers to calculate the price based on length, area (sqft), volume, weight, and box.
There is a fair probability that some plugins might not be compatible with Gutenberg first release which may affect the functionality of your website.
Gutenberg Mobile Friendliness is debatable
Mobile usage has officially surpassed the desktop usage by miles and mobile is the future. As I went through the reviews of the plugin, I observed that a major part of the WordPress community is highly concerned over the new editor’s mobile friendliness.
Some people are arguing that the new editor will make the layouts more complicated which is a pretty bad idea in a mobile-first world. Well, I think that it’s too early to judge the mobile compatibility, however – adding my personal opinion– I think that the new alignment options will give developers more control over the process by making it easy for them to optimize content for all viewports and screen sizes – resulting in a better mobile experience.
Nevertheless, the Gutenberg editor itself works great on mobile. Need to make a quick image insert or add a paragraph on the go? Gutenberg has made it much more comfortable.
A Consistent Web Design Experience
The new content creating and editing approach will help you maintain a structural consistency across everything you do. In addition to that, third-party plugins for visual and block editing will no longer be required. This will result in a consistent and a standard user interface for you and minor changes could be easily made without altering the codes and potentially breaking the website.
Blocks and visuals builders are not something out of the blues for WordPress designers and developers. Many shared hosting platforms like Wix and Squarespace have gained popularity by introducing this simplified drag and drop features and effortless editing. WordPress is changing the landscape by eliminating the need third-party plugins making time-consuming processes much quicker.
The website maintenance will become a lot easier. Your clients will be able to make basic changes minor changes all by themselves. However as the need of professional web developer for maintenance will be minimized, the remuneration size may also get hurt.