Gutenberg, named after Johannes Gutenberg, who invented a printing press with movable type more than 500 years ago, is a new editor introduced by WordPress. Officially launched as part of WordPress 5.0, it’s designed to make adding rich content to your WordPress site simpler and more enjoyable.
What is Gutenberg?
Gutenberg, also known as the block editor, marks a significant shift away from the TinyMCE editor towards a more intuitive, block-based design. Each piece of content (paragraphs, images, videos, headings, etc.) is encapsulated into its separate block. These blocks can then be manipulated to create and customize complex layouts within posts and pages.
Key Features of Gutenberg
- Block-Based Design: Each content element is a standalone block, which can be individually edited, moved, and styled.
- Content Structure: Gutenberg allows for more complex layouts and design without requiring knowledge of code.
- Unified Method: Whether you’re adding text, images, videos, or custom code, everything is done through the same intuitive interface.
- Reusable Blocks: You can save and reuse blocks across posts and pages, helping to maintain a consistent look and feel.
- Embedded Content: Gutenberg comes with many pre-set options to embed content from popular sites such as Twitter, YouTube, and more.
Additional Features of Gutenberg
Gutenberg doesn’t just transform the post and page writing experience, it offers a host of additional features that can enhance the creation of custom content:
- Full Site Editing (FSE): Introduced with WordPress 5.8, FSE allows you to use the same block editor experience when editing your site’s header, footer, and other template parts. This provides a consistent editing interface throughout your entire website.
- Widgets and Navigation Blocks: Gutenberg extends the block concept to widgets and navigation menus, allowing for more control and flexibility over these areas of your site.
- Pattern Directory: WordPress 5.8 also introduced the Pattern Directory. These are pre-designed block layouts that can be inserted into your posts and pages. You can also save your own custom block layouts as patterns for reuse.
- Enhanced Media Handling: With Gutenberg, you can easily handle multimedia content. Embedding videos, audio, and images into your posts is simpler and more intuitive.
- Accessibility Improvements: Gutenberg has been built with accessibility in mind, ensuring your website is user-friendly to people with disabilities.
Understanding the Criticisms and Controversy
Since its introduction, Gutenberg has faced some criticism from the WordPress community. Some long-term users found the change from the Classic Editor to the new block-based format difficult and frustrating.
This led to the creation of the Classic Editor plugin, which restores the previous editing experience. However, as time has gone on and further improvements have been made, Gutenberg has continued to grow and evolve, and many users now appreciate its flexibility and control.
Gutenberg is a significant shift in the way content is created and managed within WordPress.
Its innovative, block-based approach provides a more intuitive and powerful editing experience, enabling users to create complex layouts and designs more easily. While it did face initial resistance from some quarters, its capabilities and potential for the future are undeniable.
For new users or those willing to adapt, Gutenberg opens up a wealth of possibilities for creating engaging, dynamic content on WordPress sites.