Surveys suggest that around 60% of websites created with a content management system (CMS) currently use WordPress. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the release of the Gutenberg WordPress editor in December 2018 prompted a lot of heated debates among both amateur and professional web developers. Designed to replace the classic editor, Gutenberg is an official add-on for the WordPress platform, not a 3rd party plug-in.
Proponents of the newest native WordPress editor believe that not only is it an improvement on the classic WordPress editor that preceded it, but it also beats out popular 3rd party editors such as Elementor and Beaver Builder. Whether this is the case or not depends partly on how you use WordPress, partly on the feature set you require, and partly on your familiarity with it or other editors. In this article, we are going to look at the reasons why we feel that Gutenberg represents the future of page editing for all users of WordPress.
The Future of the Native WordPress Block Editor Looks Bright
Whether you already have plenty of experience with Gutenberg or you are currently wondering whether to switch to the native WP editor for future website development projects, below are the reasons that we feel it represents the future of editing and page building on the WordPress platform.
- It Is a Native Solution – One of the biggest advantages the Gutenberg development team has is that they are part of the core WordPress development group. This means they have inside knowledge of future changes to the CMS giant and unfettered access to new code as it is released. Although WP is an open source platform, being able to communicate freely and directly with the principle developers responsible for new features is an undoubted advantage. As new releases come online, the Gutenberg team should be in prime position to update their editor to accommodate them. Also, native solutions rarely exhibit any compatibility issues, for obvious reasons.
- Popularity Will Increase as People Become More Familiar with the Software – Whilst millions of people are still using the classic editor and 3rd party editors such as Elementor, this is in large part due to the fact they are already familiar with those editors. Elementor, for example, has been around for 4 years, which means that many web developers have spent plenty of time familiarising themselves with the way it works and the features it has to offer. Gutenberg, on the other hand, was only released at the end of 2018. With less than a year and a half to explore what it has to offer, it is understandable that many developers still feel more at home with the 3rd party plug-ins they have been using for years and the WP classic editor. However, as more and more people learn how to get the best out of Gutenberg, this situation is set to change and a larger user base will undoubtedly lead to a more aggressive development cycle, with new features being added at a faster rate.
- Rapid Improvement Already in Evidence – There is no doubt that the first iteration of the Gutenberg editor was not particularly well-received, owing to its slow performance and somewhat clunky interface. However, many improvements have been made since then and as is normally the case with newly released software, it has changed considerably in the intervening time. New features such as Social Link Blocks have added exciting functionality to the editor and improvements such as the addition of local auto-save support have made life much easier for both amateur and professional web developers across the globe. With fortnightly releases of bug fixes and upgrades, Gutenberg users can look forward to many more improvements in the near future.
- A Simpler Page Editing Experience – For web builders and designers who do not wish to get bogged down in the technology behind the sites they create, a block editor is a great solution. Compared to the classic editor, which was at heart a basic text editor, the block editing functionality of Gutenberg is much easier to get to grips with when you want to revise or add new content in a hurry. Elements such as paragraphs of text, images and tables are all treated as separate blocks that can easily be added to your website pages as you go. This enables less technically savvy users – such as small business owners who do not have the time to study technical manuals before they start to build or update their websites – to rapidly create new content for their sites in a format that is visually appealing and easy to update. Whilst not a fully-featured page builder at this stage in its development, Gutenberg makes it very easy for people to maintain existing pages on their websites. This ease of use is sure to encourage many more people to switch from 3rd party plug-ins, or the classic editor, to Gutenberg in the future.
- Proliferation of 3rd Party Plug-Ins to Enhance and Extend Functionality – Even in the relatively short period of time that it has been available, the new WP editor has prompted 3rd party developers to create numerous plug-ins focused on extending and enhancing its functionality. Furthermore, many existing block-enabled plug-ins have been updated to ensure they are compatible with the WordPress native block editor. This is extremely encouraging as far as the future outlook for Gutenberg is concerned, as it demonstrates that plug-in developers are taking it seriously and acknowledging that it is sure to become more widely adopted in the coming years. In addition to making it a more attractive proposition for those who are completely new to WordPress, the release of more Gutenberg-specific plug-ins is also making it easier for established WP experts to transfer their knowledge and skillset over to the latest native editor.
Whether you are completely new to the WP content management system or you are an experienced WordPress power user, you are sure to hear a lot more about Gutenberg in the future.