I Tried Out The “New” WordPress Block Editor; Some Thoughts

As the title suggests, I recently tried out the WordPress block editor, otherwise known as Gutenberg. While I know it’s been around for a while now, I figured I may as well write about my experiences with it, as I have since reverted back to the classic editor.

There are aspects that I liked and aspects I disliked about the block editor. If you haven’t tried it out yet, then maybe these points can help inform your decision.

haruhi threat point

I didn’t use the block editor for long – I only wrote 5 posts with it, 2 of which were published. The other 3 were reverted back to the classic editor for reasons I will mention here. What I will say first is that I was introduced to the idea of using it through Lynn, who does use it and really likes it. Before even trying it out I knew there were some serious benefits to the block editor, and I’ll start with those.

Benefits

Reusable Blocks

The number one benefit of the block editor, in my opinion, is the reusable blocks. These are custom blocks of words / images / lists / links… whatever you want. You save them on their own, and you can put them in ANY post. Update the block, and it will update the block on ALL of your posts that use that particular block. This is extremely useful!

For example, with episodic anime reviews, you can use a reusable block to reference back to a list previous episodes reviewed. Instead of having to go back to each individual post and update the list, you just update the list once through the reusable block.

I can also see this being useful for things such as advertisements, or calls to action. A reusable block that mentions a patreon / ko-fi, or something from twitter.. whatever it may be. Reusable blocks lets you centralize a portion of your posts into one area, allowing you to save a lot of time.

Reusable blocks are the reason I even tried the block editor in the first place, they’re that great.

true tears hiromi anime

Easy To Use

The block editor advertises itself as easy to use, and it really is. Easier than having to format what feels essentially like a Microsoft Word Doc with the classic editor. You can write a block of text or add an image and move it around the draft without having to copy + paste. It also just felt easier to format a post using the block editor, with everyone organized into separate blocks.

New Functions

There are several functions / options that the block editor has that the classic editor doesn’t. Simply because there are so many block options, from widgets to formatting tools. I didn’t exactly get a chance to use them all, and I probably wouldn’t look at majority of them anyways, but I’ll say that I did like that the separator had different options – a short line, a long one, and dots. I also liked how easy it was to create an image gallery using the block editor.

There are probably other functions that I would find useful in the block editor that I never realized too.

date a live choices

Drawbacks

Image Galleries Don’t Display Properly on the WordPress Reader

This was my number one reason for switching back to the classic editor. Just recently I had been using more image galleries in my posts, because in some cases I think it’s better to show multiple images in succession to give readers a graphic idea of whatever it is I’m writing about. So I was going nuts with image galleries using the block editor.

Only I discovered that, the block editor’s image galleries don’t display properly on the WordPress Reader. They displayed properly on my blog, but not on the Reader. Instead of a gallery, each individual full-sized image would be shown on the Reader. This might not sound like a big deal for a image gallery consisting of 2 images, but for an image gallery consisting more than that it’s an issue. Because then it looks bad on my formatting, when someone has to scroll past 3+ full sized images to get to more text in a post, when the images are meant to accompany the text.

I know that the Reader isn’t everything, but when I know so many of you read my posts via the Reader, why wouldn’t I make sure my posts look good there?

asahina mikuru grown up

The “Read More” Function Is Different

While the “Read More” function acts the same way, it’s not the same as the classic editor. The reason for this being that the classic editor’s “read more” leaves a space after it on the excerpt page, and the block editor’s “read more” doesn’t. It’s easiest if I just show what I mean for this one.

Classic Editor:

112.JPG

Block Editor:

111.JPG

Notice how with the block editor, there is NO space between “Continue Reading” and the categories / tags? This makes it harder to notice, and I don’t like that because I want people to clearly see where they can click to continue reading the post.

This might be an issue particular to my WordPress theme, but I’m not planning on switching my theme right now, so it’s another reason for the block editor to go.

Twitter Image Issue

I have my blog linked to my Twitter, so all I have to do is write a little excerpt on the post and when it’s published, it will post on Twitter also. Now I don’t use featured images, because of that whole deal where the featured image shows up twice in the reader, it might even show up twice on my blog too, I don’t know. But I don’t use featured images for that reason, instead trusting my blog / the Reader to pull the first image for use as a thumbnail.

For some reason though, with the new block editor, the first image in the post isn’t always used when posting to Twitter. Twice I had posts where the image that is posted to twitter alongside the excerpt is not the first one, but some other one. Not sure why this is, or it I had anything to do with it, but it’s kind of odd to not know which image is going to show up on Twitter.

sakuta azusagawa boredom

Highlighting Blocks

This is a small issue, but still was an issue for me. Particularly when writing my Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai posts. When I write quotes, I like to highlight the text and make it bolded and italicizied, so that the quote is very visible. When you highlight all of the text in a block in the block editor, it’s extremely easy to accidentally highlight the block above it, or below it, depending on whether you highlight front to back or back to front.

And when you have more than one block highlighted, even if they are BOTH text blocks, you can’t change the formatting – bold, italics, etc. So whether you are trying to format multiple text blocks at the same time, or just format one, it feels a little clunky because you have to format ONE block at a time, and it’s VERY easy to accidentally highlight another block above or below.

Not a huge issue, but when writing out many quotes I found it a bit tedious to have to select each block individually, and many times I would accidentally highlight a second block by accident. Figured I’d mention this anyways,

anime date a live tohka food reaction

And that’s it, those were my issues. There may be more than that, but those issues alone were enough for me to just go back to the classic editor, something I’ve been using all of this time anyways. And image galleries show up properly with the classic editor on the Reader.

Honestly, with such a big issue like with the image galleries on the Reader issue, I have to imagine that there are other big issues with the block editor that would have come out with more time. Instead of waiting around to find out, I figured it was best to just go back to what works. Maybe in the future the block editor will have less of these issues, but for now I think it’s best if I just wait it out.

This is a free WordPress blog, which means I don’t have access to plugins / code. So while many of these issues can probably be fixed by changing the code a little, or installing a plugin, those aren’t options for me unfortunately. While I’d like to move this blog to being self-hosted, I don’t think I’m ready for that just yet.

I think the block editor is pretty neat though, and in many ways can be a very useful tool though. That’s pretty much my experiences with it, so if you haven’t tried it out, hopefully you know a little bit more about it.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

21 thoughts on “I Tried Out The “New” WordPress Block Editor; Some Thoughts

  1. There’s a block just for quotes, but I do know what you mean about highlighting multiple blocks by mistake. Like most new tools it takes some getting used to. I find myself switching my old posts to the block format as I reference them. It’s good that there are options.
    Also, it’s worth noting their is a classic block which mimics the classic style. You could always try that out for the bulk of your post and still be able to use the reusable blocks which are invaluable in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah maybe something like that would work. The classic block is one that I didn’t really use much, although I don’t think you can add images in a classic block, meaning the whole image gallery thing and “read more” thing would still be a problem.

      The quote blocks are another problem though, have you tried them? Not only is the quote harder to read because of the lighter text / smaller font, but the spacing afterwards is wrong, so if you put text directly after a quote block there will be NO space inbetween, meaning you have to manually create a space.
      I prefer to do quotes the way I have been with bolded + italicized text, because they are more noticable.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You can see my answer to Lynn’s comment on quote blocks, but long story short they are no good either. I probably should have mentioned that in the post.

      Like

      1. I use quote blocks quite frequently, I’m assuming you’re using the large quote, not the normal one. It turns out alright for me. Agree it can be fiddly at times

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was using the Gutenberg editor around the time of the Konobi collab, which is how I highlighted the topic with a green box (since that looked nice with my blog theme…not that anyone using the Reader would care, though). I’m happy there is a function to do that with Gutenberg when you can’t do that with Calypso (the old editor), but I have otherwise stuck by Calypso. My main reason is Gutenberg uses a timezone I don’t follow for scheduling, but Calypso does.

    I never actually used reusable blocks, because I was afraid I’d erase past content by accident…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there are just a lot of small issues with Gutenberg that need to be addressed, because it definitely has some nice new features.
      I didn’t realize the classic editor was called Calypso, cool name. Always learn something new with you Aria, thanks!

      Like

      1. Hmm…I went and consulted Prof. Google, now that you make me think about it, since I was under the impression it was just the editor for both. Turns out Gutenberg is just the block editor, while Calypso is the interface (so it’s the thing you check your stats on and what you integrate Jetpack into, as well as the old editor).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I actually like that even more, if only because it means that even if they force Gutenberg on everyone someday, Calypso will still exist… cause it’s such a cool name.

        Like

  3. I used it from some of my post, like if I publish right away or if I don’t need to had any hmtl coding,otherwise I much prefer the classic editor (the admin interface)
    One thing that could be interesting is template block, like template you create but you can reuse for other post, without changing the previous post in which the block was used (if that makes sense)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I think that is probably the biggest benefit to the new editor, being able to reuse and update a template across many posts. Just too many small issues for me right now.

      Like

  4. I posted about my playing with the new editor a while ago and I’ve been using it ever since. I love how fast it makes putting together some of my posts when I can reuse blocks to instantly insert the formatting I want and then just edit them to change the content. It makes formatting my posts significantly faster and less prone to having formatting errors.
    Irina’s recently made me aware of some issues with displays in the reader which I wasn’t aware of because I rarely read anything in the reader, and I’ve been working to fix those, but for the most part I really like the ‘new’ editor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to check my posts in the reader when I can, just to make sure the formatting hasn’t changed too much. It happens every now and then though. The reader basically has a mind of its own at times.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really prefer to go to the site to read posts so even though I use the reader to find posts I almost always navigate to the actually website to read it. I just like it more as I find the reader doesn’t format things particularly well and you can’t see sidebars or a lot of the blogger’s personality in the reader.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. FoundOnWeb

    I tried the block editor for a while, and gave it up. Unfortunately, WP _really_ wants to use it, and keeps nagging me about it. On the image selection thing. I think it goes for the smallest image (kb wise) in the set.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah WP really loves it, but I think there are too many kinks that need to be worked out at the moment. It’s a bit frustrating that they are pushing it like this when it has issues with THEIR reader, while the formatting is fine on my website.

      Just checked the image sizes for one post in particular, and it was actually the largest (kb) image that was chosen to display on Twitter. Might just be a coincidence though.

      Like

      1. FoundOnWeb

        That’s interesting. In my case, it was the 9th out of 10 images (and the least informative) in my Kotobuki writeup, so I figured it had to be the size (it was the smallest). Maybe it’s just random.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I tried using the new editor for the first time today and after reading your post and Karandi’s, I think most of my issues with it have to do with the little things that are inconvenient. I don’t like that I have to edit each individual block, and as you mentioned, sometimes that can cause issues with editing other things that you don’t want to change. Can’t change the colour for specific words only (I do this for hyperlinks). I’ve been having a tough time with inserting images. Feels clunky and not as intuitive to me. With all of that said, I do like how I can change the colours for headers, specifically for episodic reviews (I chat about a handful of episodes in a single post), so I may exclusively use it for episodic stuff. Aside from that though, it’s been a weird and mildly frustrating experience. This also was my first time with it, so a lot of my issues also probably stem from being a newb. Thanks for this post! It was really helpful for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never tried using colours before.
      It definitely seems like the editor has potential but is just lacking some small tweaks and features, although it does add many new ones. Like something that has been bothering me recently is with headers, with you click to change the header size, you have to reclick on the text portion afterwards.. lot of small things like that definitely make it feel clunky to a degree.

      I’ve been using the new editor on a second blog and have mostly gotten used to it, but I still don’t like how it doesn’t display posts properly on the Reader which is why I’ll stick with the classic editor here on this blog.

      Thanks for the comment – maybe you should write your own post on the new editor now also haha, keep passing information forward about it. Seems like everyone has quite different experiences with it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, one day when I’ve gotten a tiny bit more practise with it, I may just write up something about it. I think I prefer it for episodic posts and posts that require a similar structure to it. But for long discussions and reviews, I’ll stick with the Classic. Works better for me in many ways.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The Gutenberg WordPress Block Editor – An Update – Umai Yomu Anime Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s