Gutenberg Discussion in WordPress Helsinki Meetup

We had vivid conversation about Gutenberg in WordPress Helsinki Meetup. I was hosting the meetup and shared my opinions about Gutenberg. We also got our hands dirty and tested Gutenberg. In short people were worried about the Gutenberg. It’s such a huge change.

Here are my slides about Gutenberg Meetup:

In the next chapters I share my opinions and summary of our conversations in Gutenberg Meetup.

What is the Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is the new editing experience which is based on blocks. Matt Mullenweg describes Gutenberg like this:

The editor will endeavour to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

In other words it’s going to change how we write the  content (blocks).

It’s also changing how developers interact with the content. With Gutenberg we could create stunning posts, landing pages, or product pages. Now we need ACF, CMB2, or similar custom fields solutions. Or Page builders.

Gutenberg development is happening in the Github. Frequently asked questions is a long list:

  • When is it released?
  • Can I disable the Gutenberg?
  • Why not build blocks with ACF, CMB2, or Page builders?
  • Does it support meta boxes?
  • Will there be columns?
  • How can I build custom blocks?
  • Is it accessible?
  • And the list goes on.

Most of the answers can be found in Gutenberg FAQ page. Gutenberg Myth-Busting also have good overview.

When is Gutenberg released

Current plan is merging Gutenberg into WordPress 5.0. I hope it doesn’t happen before second quarter of 2018. There are still lot’s of testing and finishing up to do.

Even when Gutenberg lands most of the companies are not ready for using it in their clients sites.

  • It takes time to educate the clients.
  • Companies might have custom workflows for publishing.
  • It takes time to build custom blocks, or check styles for Core blocks.
  • Some things will be broken because most companies don’t have time to test all their sites beforehand.

If Gutenberg is going to be default editor there is going to be long (1-2 years) transition period. And disabling Gutenberg is the only option. There is already Classic editor for that.

Also Classic Text block is good way to start transition. It’s basically the same as current editor and all extended stuff for current editor should work there.

Classic text block

What’s wrong with ACF or Page Builders for creating landing pages and content?

Nothing. But I believe Gutenberg will eventually have better user experience for creating the main content. Custom fields will still be useful for additional content. I don’t see them going anywhere.

I don’t have a strong opinion about Page builders because I don’t need them myself. Just be careful about consequences and lock in effect. Pippin have the best critical review of Page builders. But I certainly hope that many Page builders start creating custom blocks. Start with columns and nested blocks and you have a winner!

My school site is the easiest example what I’d like to build with Gutenberg. Page have

  • Columns.
  • Videos.
  • Call to actions (buttons, image overlays).
  • Elements which are wider than base content.
  • Pulling any content like posts or Instagram images.
  • Testimonials.

All those sounds like Gutenberg blocks to me. Check also Matias Ventura video demos about theming. I can already see myself creating a page template where you can only fill in the blanks. Sometimes locking the blocks is vice so that user can’t mess with the design.

Meta box support

Meta box support has to be in Gutenberg, there is no question about that. Initial meta box support is already implemented but I haven’t fully tested how well it works.

  • Plugins like Yoast SEO seems to work OK.
  • Also CMB2 worked OK.
  • Then again custom fields with Carbon Fields was broken and most of the fields was missing.

Naturally meta boxes needs more testing and polishing in the Gutenberg. Anyways meta boxes appear under Extended Settings.

Meta boxes in Gutenberg

Testing Gutenberg

We tested Gutenberg like this:

  1. In create new testing site if you don’t have local environment.
  2. Install Gutenberg as a plugin. Or clone it from Github.
  3. Open test forms and give feedback.

For advanced user tasks was a little bit too easy and quick. I provided additional tasks but I’m no expert in user testing.

What else

There are lot’s of topics we didn’t cover like accessibility or front-end markup. Those deserve their own articles, stay tuned. In the mean time join our WordPress Helsinki meetups!