Is the WordPress Gutenberg editor really easier for the users compared to the WordPress Classic editor? Or does it only contribute to the users’ struggles?

The debate whether or not the Gutenberg editor is indeed an improved writing interface is still going on. Mixed reactions are being received since the incorporation of the Gutenberg as a plugin.

Writing in Gutenberg Editor vs WordPress Classic Editor plugin review

The above photo shows the Gutenberg plugin’s currently received reviews. Apparently, dissatisfied users outnumber the ones who enjoy working with Gutenberg. But should we really judge how effective Gutenberg is based on the reviews alone?

In this article, we will get past all the inhibitions and start reviewing this new editor objectively. Before drawing any conclusions, we will discuss the contrasts of working with the Gutenberg editor. We will also talk about the major differences between the Gutenberg Editor and the WordPress Classic editor.

First off, let us recall why the Gutenberg editor will supersede the WordPress Classic editor in the first place.

The main reasons why WordPress Gutenberg Editor was created

Based on the design principles of the Gutenberg Editor, the main objectives of launching Gutenberg are as follows:

✅ Make rich posts effortlessly

Gutenberg’s ultimate vision is to make it easier for everyone to author rich and astounding contents. One does not need to have an in-depth knowledge about HTML or CSS to create fascinating contents.

✅ Create a unified content through blocks

Blocks are Gutenberg’s puzzle pieces which produce a wonderful content masterpiece when assembled. As what the Gutenberg team states, all blocks are created equal. Working with the blocks should not be that hard. You just have to master a single block interface. By then, it will be easier for you to work on all the other blocks since they just share the same approach of operation.

✅ Embed complex features without the need to install too many plugins

Addition of buttons or tables in the WordPress Classic editor can be frustrating unless you know how to code it. To resolve various editor issues, developers have created different helpful plugins. This makes the writing experience easier for the users.

With Gutenberg, it is unnecessary to install loads of plugins. You can already embed complex features through blocks. The Gutenberg team call these complex features as the “mystery meat”. These are the hidden features in the software that one still has to discover.

Advantages of working with Gutenberg editor

Initially, the Gutenberg editor can be confusing operate on. Working with the blocks is such a huge turnaround from the WordPress Classic editor. But if we start exploring this new editor, we will discover some interesting things as follows:

✅ Insertion of quality images

The Gutenberg editor allows you to add quality images than the previous editor. Take this photo for example:

Adding images on WordPress Classic Editor
Adding images on WordPress Classic Editor

The photo above was uploaded using the WordPress classic editor in which the low quality of the image is noticeable. By default, WordPress reduces the image quality of the uploaded photos to 60% to increase the blog’s loading time. For this reason, users use image compression plugins to correct the quality of the uploaded photos to 100%.

On the other hand, this photo was uploaded using the Gutenberg editor:

Adding images on WordPress Gutenberg Editor
Adding images on WordPress Gutenberg Editor

We can notice how crisp the image is just as how it is supposed to be. Thus, one does not need to compress images or install compression plugins. The Gutenberg editor does not alter the quality nor the size of your images. It just uploads the image as it is.

✅ Ability to add reusable blocks

If you tend to use customized block frequently, converting it into a reusable block can be very beneficial for you. This will allow you to reuse the same customized block to your future posts without starting to tailor a block from scratch all over again.

For the benefit of those who don’t know how to make a reusable block, take this certain customized paragraph block for example:

How to save a reusable block on Gutenberg Editor
How to save a reusable block on Gutenberg Editor

To convert it into a reusable block, click the three vertical dots on the top right of a certain block then select ‘add to reusable blocks’.

How to name a reusable block on Gutenberg Editor
How to name a reusable block on Gutenberg Editor

Rename the block with a distinct block name of your choice then hit save.

How to insert a reusable block on Gutenberg Editor
How to insert a reusable block on Gutenberg Editor

Whenever you want to add the reusable block once again, you can instantly do such by adding the customized reusable block you saved earlier. Just create a new block and type slash (/) + the specific name of the reusable block.

Note that editing a reusable block would cause the same alteration to the previously-embedded reusable block of the same name. This can be very helpful if you want to revise recurring blocks without going over your previous articles.

✅ Actual showing of content output in the writing interface

With Gutenberg, you will not have to rape the preview button many times to see how your content would look on the front end.

The Gutenberg editor practices a WYSIWYG dogma which means What You See Is What You Get. This allows the users to manipulate and customize block layouts without the fear of ruining complicated codes.

Determining erroneous coding or embeds within the content will also be easier for you. Gutenberg will automatically detect and visually display the embeds. So if it did not turn out just as how you expected it to, there must be a need to correct an error.

✅ Less usage of WordPress plugins

Almost all the features you need to create a rich content are already laid out in the Gutenberg editor. This is in the form of blocks.

Seven major block categories on Gutenberg Editor
Seven major block categories on Gutenberg Editor

You have to familiarize the blocks under seven different categories. These are the Inline Elements, Common Blocks, Formatting, Layout Elements, Widgets, Embeds, and Reusable (in case you have saved any reusable blocks).

Common problems with WordPress Gutenberg editor

Though working with the Gutenberg editor is in a positive tune as laid above, one cannot deny that the Gutenberg editor also has its downsides as follows:

❓Working with the blocks can be a distraction

If you are the type of WordPress user who is comfortable with sitting down and writing directly in the classic editor’s blank window, your glory days might be over then.

The WordPress classic editor allows you to work with a vacant virtual sheet. In contrast, Gutenberg lets you deal with possibly bothersome content blocks. The Gutenberg’s user interface seems to be focused more on content lay-outing rather than content writing itself. As a result, your writing momentum might be at stake.

❓Tons of shortcuts to memorize / Some previous shortcuts are not working

Tons of user functions loads the Gutenberg editor. Even so, it can be easier for you to work on its interface through shortcuts. Only if you know those keyboard shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts for Gutenberg Editor
Keyboard shortcuts for Gutenberg Editor

There are 26 usable Gutenberg shortcuts at the moment. These are Global, Selection, Block, and Text Formatting. Some of which are basics while some are totally new and are not that easy to memorize.

On the other hand, previous basic shortcuts in the WordPress classic editor are not working well with the Gutenberg editor.

The shortcut function Alt + Shift + 2 for instance would turn a certain phrase into a Heading 2. Right now, such shortcut function is no longer working. Instead, you can add hash marks at the beginning of a phrase or a sentence to make it a heading.

❓Some important features are missing

It is hopeless to change the font size and font colors with the WordPress Classic Editor. You still need to install visual plugins such as TinyMCE Advanced to make this possible. With Gutenberg, you can do these things without installing any visual editor plugins.

Changing font style and font size on Gutenberg Editor
Changing font style and font size on Gutenberg Editor

The problem though is Gutenberg’s incapability to change the font size or font colors of the selected words or phrases. It adjusts the contents of the whole block instead. This can be very frustrating for users who just want to emphasize certain parts of their paragraphs.

Changing font size of multiple blocks on Gutenberg Editor
Changing font size of multiple blocks on Gutenberg Editor

Changing multiple blocks’ layout in bulk is also not possible at the moment. You still have to go over each block to change the font size of the paragraph blocks.

❓Backward compatibility issues of plugins

Experiencing plugin incompatibilities is one of the significant issues of most WordPress users. In fact, some users are against the full implementation of the Gutenberg editor.

Such backward compatibility issues might be the effect of conflicting codes and functionality of the Gutenberg editor. In effect, the previous posts made with the classic editor can be a total mess when edited through Gutenberg. That is why some users still prefer working with the WordPress classic editor than the Gutenberg editor.

Major differences between the WordPress Classic Editor and the WordPress Gutenberg Editor

Now, let us compare the WordPress Classic Editor and the WordPress Gutenberg Editor based on the following criteria:

✅ Writing interface

The classic editor is a plain and distraction-free window. Whereas, the Gutenberg editor is a busy and occupied framework.

The WordPress classic editor is a great blank writing canvass to work with. The writing experience, however, starts to complicate when complex elements are being added. These complex elements include images, embeds, and shortcodes.

Difference of writing interface between WordPress Classic Editor and Gutenberg Editor
Difference of writing interface between WordPress Classic Editor and Gutenberg Editor

Alternatively, the Gutenberg editor is an overhauled version of the WordPress classic editor. The different kinds of blocks become the main highlight in the Gutenberg editor. Generally, the Gutenberg editor looks more modernized and lively compared to the classic editor.

✅ Ease of execution of the functionalities being offered

When it comes to adding images, embedding contents, and creating complex elements, the Gutenberg editor is undeniably way better than the classic editor. Tons of new functionalities are being offered and the way of execution can be as easy as the idea of the drag and drop feature.

Conclusion

To wrap things up, writing with the Gutenberg editor is indeed easier especially for beginners. The ease of execution of its functionalities can be logical and does not need some kind of extensive technical knowledge.

On the contrary, the Gutenberg editor can be difficult for some users especially if the classic editor memory muscle has already been established into their systems. Web and plugin developers are the ones who are affected the most. The challenge of creating and modifying codes and plugins which are completely compatible with Gutenberg can be a daunting process.

The opportunity for growth, however, is something that can be rewarding in this transition phase. This applies to both the users and the developers.

Final Thoughts about the WordPress Gutenberg Editor

There are things that currently do not work out right as one would expect in the Gutenberg editor. Gutenberg is still on its beta phase so we can still expect for some technical hiccups. Nevertheless, we can see how the Gutenberg team make profound efforts to fix the issues addressed to them as fast as possible.

Though some people see Gutenberg as a curse rather than a blessing, one can’t deny that WordPress has moved a step forward by introducing the Gutenberg editor.

At this point, the possibility of reverting everything back to how the WordPress editor once was is significantly blurry. We can either move forward with what’s delivered to our doorstep or continue working with the obsolete. Either way, the goal to making Gutenberg simpler and easier for everyone is being cooked out and it is already difficult to stop.

Adopting with the changes is something that is not required. One still has the right to choose working with the Classic editor plugin after the full implementation of the Gutenberg editor. Nonetheless, windows of opportunity can be shut once the fear to embrace change overpowers.

4 comments

  1. Nice points Jeffrey. I totally understand the drawbacks of releasing Gutenberg especially to those who are used to creating pages using the Classic Editor. But good that you pointed out that despite the overwhelming speed of change, Gutenberg provides room for beginners to explore WordPress.

  2. The main advantage of the Classic Editor for me is that it seperates the content from how it is displayed on the website. We have a lot of authors that are good with writing, but do not understand the fundamentals of UX, layout and design. They do not understand the concept behind a mobile first design and nor should they. They are hired to create content and that is what they are good at. Leave the theme and usability optimisation to the devs.

  3. My experience has not been WYSIWYG with Gutenberg. Just the opposite – there are extreme differences between the editing pane and the preview.

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