The Gutenberg WordPress Block Editor – An Update

It’s been quite some time since I first wrote about Gutenberg, the not-so-new-anymore block editor that has been introduced into WordPress.

I’ve now been using Gutenberg for the better part of a year.
So I figure I may as well share my thoughts!

vandread pai check

Back when I first posted about Gutenberg, I had some criticisms regarding how certain elements displayed either on my blog or on the WordPress Reader. To my knowledge, every single one has been fixed. And so, within a few months of that post, I actually ended up starting to use Gutenberg once again, and have used it since.

I don’t know how many people still use the classic editor, but I’ll just go through my favourite features of Gutenberg, as well as a few areas where I’d like to see improvement.

The Great

Organization

I used the classic editor for quite some time, and I’ll admit, it’s really comfortable to use an editor that is fairly similar to Microsoft Word in how it functions. It was difficult for me to switch over to a block-based editor right away.

But once you get used to it, you’ll really start to see the benefits. Accidentally insert an image in the wrong spot? Decide to re-arrange the post format? Well, thanks to everything being it’s own block, you can easily arrange things as you’d like, even after it’s all written and put in place.

You can drag blocks or use the little arrow buttons to shift them around to exactly where you want them. Also, you can select multiple blocks and move them all at once, allowing you to move entire sections around in one go.

It’s much easier and faster than having to copy + paste entire sections of text, and it also lets you just see how things could look without having to make large changes like that. Everything is interchangeable.

Konobi Collette looking cute in her raincoat

Reusable Blocks

This was the original selling point for me. Reusable blocks let you place a block in as many posts as you want, and by updating the block, it will simultaneously update the block in ALL of your posts that contain the block. Extremely useful.

For us anime bloggers, it’s a great way to keep a list of anime episodes we’ve covered as we go through a series. But it’s also great for keeping a list of ANYTHING you’re going through. I have one block I use for my Akatsuki Records song reviews, for example.

You can also use these blocks for monetization purposes, as you can update affiliate links / advertisements / whatever all simultaneously. Just throw a block in each post and you’re set. Encouraging people to sign up for a newsletter or email list? This is another great use.

And finally, one other excellent feature of the reusable block is simply that there are no pingbacks. I used to manually link all of my posts in a series together, and I’d have to deal with hordes of self-pingbacks. I wish there was an option to turn off all self-pingbacks, while keeping regular pingbacks from other blogs, but there isn’t one. I understand there are plugins for this, but as a free WordPress user, I don’t have access to such a thing.

The New “/<block>” Feature

I’m pretty sure this is a recent change, could be wrong though. I only noticed it recently, that’s for sure. And it’s become one of my favourite features of Gutenberg!

Basically, when you create a new block, you can type “/<block name>” and create that block without ever having to move your hands off the keyboard. For me, this means I can quickly throw in a “/image” followed by “/heading” followed by a regular paragraph block.

Oftentimes you don’t even have to type in the full name of the block, because it pulls up a list of possible blocks for you to choose from. So you can be even faster!

It even works for reusable blocks, which is great because when you have a LOT of reusable blocks, it can be hard to find the one you’re looking for. Unfortunately, reusable blocks aren’t sorted alphabetically. But thankfully, even if you have a whole lot of blocks, you can just type “/<block name>” and find it quickly that way.

Pastel Memories hamster

There are other reasons for why I’ve really enjoyed Gutenberg, such as features that weren’t available with the classic editor (for example, different separator styles), but those three are the big ones for me personally. Each individual block type usually has some additional settings you can tweak, making it more robust than the classic editor.

Some Issues

Gutenberg / WordPress Reader Interactions

One of my initial complaints regarding Gutenberg last year was that galleries don’t properly display in the reader. This was corrected, for a while at least.

But recently, I’ve found that galleries do not keep their alignment when displayed on the Reader. They remain left-aligned, regardless of what you set. It’s not the biggest issue, but I like my formatting to be consistent and I align all of my images in the center.

In addition, while I know slideshows did display properly at one point, recently I published a post using several slideshows only to discover that they didn’t display properly on the Reader. Instead of slideshows, the Reader would just display each image on top of the next, creating a long string of images.

The Block Alignment Button

This is a somewhat recent change. I’ll even provide some images to show what I mean here.

Basically, blocks used to have all three alignment buttons (left, center, right) on the little toolbar for the block. But now, they were all consolidated into one button, that you have to click, which brings up a list, and then you have to click a second time for your alignment.

Honestly, it’s just annoying because the previous system invoved less clicks, and there is plenty of room on the bar for all three alignment buttons.

I’ll show you what I mean here:


What used to take one easy click, now involves me having to click the alignment button, to bring up the list, and then choose the alignment. Every once in a while it’s not a big deal, but it’s annoying when I have to go through these motions for every single image I post across all my posts, because I always align them center.

It doesn’t even look like it saves that much space, and even then, what space is trying to be saved here? The little toolbar takes up less than half of the total space available across the entire length of the block. Maybe this is for people who write posts on a smart phone or something, I’m really not sure. If it was an aesthetic change, I’m simply against it.

Text Blocks Freeze Up

Another small issue is that sometimes when I go back to edit the text in an existing paragraph block, I’m unable to select any text or edit it. Instead, clicking in the block just selects the entire block, and I can’t get into it.

Not sure what causes this one, but to fix it and be able to edit the block the solution I’ve found is to change the block into a heading block, and then change it back into a paragraph block. Perhaps saving the draft and reloading the page also works, but I haven’t tried that.

It’s a minor inconvenience, but an inconvenience all the same.

Wrapping Up…

Anyways, those were the only real issues I currently have with the Gutenberg editor. Considering the issues I mentioned last year were fixed, even if temporarily, I may as well hope that someone reads this and looks into these as well.

Overall, I love it. With the new “/<block>” feature, I’m coasting through creating new blocks so much faster than before. This editor takes some time to get used to, but in the end it’s completely worth it. And of course, reusable blocks alone make the Gutenberg editor worth all of the small inconveniences. I couldn’t imagine not using them anymore!

I don’t even know how many people are still on the classic editor, or if it’s even an option anymore, but in my experience it’s just worth it to embrace Gutenberg.

That’s all for now.

What are your thoughts on Gutenberg?
And out of curiosity, are any of you still using the classic editor?

No need to explain why, because I can understand for the most part. I flipped between Gutenberg and classic a few times myself last year. Just curious about this, because I know that a lot of people were not happy with Gutenberg last time I posted about it.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

28 thoughts on “The Gutenberg WordPress Block Editor – An Update

  1. You actually still have three posting option in WordPress — the editor in wp-admin (which I assume is what you mean by “Classic”, the “New Posting Experience” (which is the one that maintains the look and feel of the current Reader and Stats pages, and which does most of the same things as wp-admin but not quite as well in my experience) and Gutenberg. I still use wp-admin because that’s what I’ve always used, and something really rubbed me the wrong way about the “New Posting Experience”.

    I have used Gutenberg a bit for a site that is currently dormant; this was back when it was in beta and had a few issues, but I quite liked it. I haven’t made the switch with MoeGamer as yet because I was concerned it might make things difficult for whatever reason — particularly as some of the things I do are just raw HTML rather than WYSIWYG edits — but after hearing your positive words here I might experiment a bit. We’ll see! Either way, thanks for the informative breakdown.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, not sure which is which. We use wp-admin on Ecchi Hunter and it’s a block editor that’s definitely Gutenberg, only not exactly the same as the one on Calypso (WordPress.com dashboard). I thought that the “new posting experience” WAS Gutenberg, but perhaps I’m wrong on that too. I’ve only ever known Classic and Gutenberg, Classic being the old Microsoft Word style editor, and Gutenberg being a block editor.

      Maybe your site is on an older editor, or different editor or something.
      Anyways, glad I could shed some light on something at least!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, Gutenberg. I jumped into it as soon as possible and haven’t looked back.

    Reusable blocks are a massive time saver and getting rid of the self pings is so nice.

    Being able to move the blocks around and duplicate them is great too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tested Gutenberg and abandoned it. Why?

    It doesn’t allow you to make templates (blank posts with tags and categories to be copied and re-used).

    Nor does it allow you to move things about with abandon anymore. Right now, I can put an image anywhere and move it anywhere I want. I can’t do that in the block editor. If this reply is one block, I can’t just plop an image down between the paragraphs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am able to create and copy / clone templates both on Calypso as well as the wp-admin dashboard. Maybe there’s some detail regarding this that I’m missing there though.

      And your reply would actually be three blocks, allowing you to put an image in-between any of the paragraphs. The one thing you can’t do is place an image in the middle of a sentence, but I’m not sure many people would want to do that.

      Mind you, your reply COULD be one block if you wanted, instead of just pressing “enter” for each new paragraph, you press “shift + enter” to create a new line within the block.

      Anyways whatever works for you is best. I had my issues and they were fixed, so maybe this could be the case for you too.

      Like

      1. >And your reply would actually be three blocks, allowing you to put an image in-between any of the paragraphs.

        That’s my point. Rather than just positioning my cursor and clicking the mouse. (Or cutting and pasting.) I have to go from one block to three blocks… It was a lot more work to accomplish what was a simple task in Classic.

        >I am able to create and copy / clone templates both on Calypso as well as the wp-admin dashboard. Maybe there’s some detail regarding this that I’m missing there though.

        The wp-admin dashboard is much more difficult to use than the Classic system. In the Classic system, drafts (& drafts used as templates) are on their own screen. In wp-admin, they’re sorted by date of creation / last edit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s three blocks but it appears the exact same as if it were one. Hitting enter creates a new block, and it defaults to text. I guess you could say it takes more work to have to create the image block, but even then it doesn’t take very much effort because you can just type “/im” and hit enter in a new block and you have it without having to use your mouse. It’s just something you’d have to try out to come around to I guess.

        And the classic system (Calypso, wordpress.com dashboard) is what I was referring to. At least I think that’s the classic system, unless you’re talking about something different… I didn’t have any issues making a blank template that I can copy from the drafts page that keeps tags and categories.

        Anyways not trying to shove Gutenberg on you or anything, just want to clear up any possible misconceptions. I used to be very frustrated with it, but looking back I am grateful I went through with using it.

        Like

  4. I still use Classic (well, what Pete calls the New Posting Experience), but that’s because my page jumps are HTML. WordPress is trying to convince me to switch because it changed my post template to blocks at one point (because I do occasional quick edits on my phone and that defaults to Gutenberg – which I assume means also converting posts to blocks – but you can manually change to Classic), but I don’t want to have to test if the Gutenberg blocks actually work since coding the HTML is always fiddly.

    I don’t know if the timezone problem I had in the last post exists anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that Lynn has page jumps setup in Gutenberg on our Ecchi Hunter reviews page, so it’s definitely possible. But I’ve never done it myself.

      What was the timezone problem, out of curiosity?

      Like

      1. Gutenberg used a different timezone to my own and since I normally schedule posts at particular times of day (the most notable being 9 am), the only way to get around it was to either 1) figure out which timezone it was and act accordingly for scheduling every post or 2) abandon it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No kidding. I remember a ton of wonky things happening when I was switching back and forth between Gutenberg and classic, mainly in my posts. Definitely sounds annoying.

        Like

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  6. Keiko

    I tried using it and it does have has it’s good points but I don’t like it. Normally I use the classic editor just because of how I do my post layouts. I have tried using the Gutenberg to make some of my posts but the pictures never end up where I want them so it takes forever to format. For certain posts though it is useful so I find myself using the block editor for certain posts.
    It’s not ideal switching between the two though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Switching between the two is awful, I did that for a while too. Especially do not convert a post between them, because it really screws things up!

      There’s definitely a bit of nuance and getting used to with it. I eventually got used to it only because I was using it for all my posts on Ecchi Hunter.

      Instead of switching back and forth, are you able to do something like use the block editor on wp-admin, and then the classic on the wordpress dashboard?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Keiko

        It sure is. Oh yeah I’ve experienced that. Spent forever reformatting everything afterwards.
        That makes sense. I should try and use it for my challenge posts that I plan to do this year and see if I can get used to it that way.

        I’ve not tried that. Maybe I should see if that works. Thanks for the suggestion!

        Liked by 1 person

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  8. I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who experienced the freezing text block issue. Also that there’s a bit of discord when working with block editor on the posts that you edited with classic, which could also be annoying too. Other than that, everything else was pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I had some big issues when flipping from classic to block and vice versa. All the images glitch out and things like that.

      I forgot to mention the tags thing too. You ever go to tag a post and it disappears, so you have to enter it again, or sometimes a third time, just for the tag to stick?

      Liked by 1 person

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