WordPress with Gutenberg – It’s No Printing Press

By Ryan Yaeger

Sample Page in Gutenberg

Massive WordPress Update Fails to Impress

More than six centuries ago when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, he brought mass media to life, forging the way to the large-scale printing and dissemination of information and knowledge across the world.

Almost 16 years ago, when WordPress entered the world, it nearly did the same for the web. Offering an easy-to-use interface, WordPress has made publishing on the web a simple process for lay users and provides a stable and reliable foundation for further development for advanced users and more robust functions. In a decade and a half, WordPress has become a dominant force on the web, with W3Techs saying that some 31 percent of all websites – and 60 percent of all websites using a known content management system – rely on WordPress.

Change on the Horizon

However, the winds of change are in the air. WordPress has been developing a new way to interact with the platform and to manage content. Codenamed “Gutenberg,” WordPress is attempting to make managing and manipulating elements of a page designed using the default WordPress builder – a TinyMCE variant – as simple as movable type made printing half a millennium ago.

But how effective is it?

With the release of WordPress 4.9.8, users now have the ability to download and install the Gutenberg functionality as a plugin. This new user interface takes over from the default editor and offers the features of the new platform for creating pages, posts and more.

I recently moved a copy of one of our client sites built with Visual Composer to a sandbox environment to implement Gutenberg and find out just how it works and what to expect when the next major update goes live.

Writer’s note: This testing began with version 3.6.2, and all comments below are still applicable through version 3.9.0.

Five Positives in Gutenberg

Drag and Drop

Drag and Drop Interface in Gutenberg

By default, the new UI allows for simple management of many common page elements. Users can enter text, images or other elements and then simply click or drag to move them up and down in the layout. This makes it incredibly easy to manipulate the layout of a post of page for even the most novice of users, making page design more accessible to more people.

Prebuilt Elements

Gutenberg Prebuilt BlocksGutenberg also contains a vast selection of common, prebuilt elements for users to add on the fly. This includes many of the elements you would expect – paragraph blocks, embed elements, images and lists, and even a Columns block option (currently in beta as of this writing). This makes it easier than ever to add sections to a page to simply design a more artful look for a site.

Simple and Intuitive Controls

The controls for managing these elements are also simply designed and allow for versatility whether you’re an entry-level user or a more seasoned pro. Each block element offers options to duplicate, insert new items before or …read more

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