On December 6th, the core WordPress team released it’s 5.0 update, and with it a radical shift in the way designers use the popular tool for developing millions of websites used around the world.

Christened Gutenberg, the new visual, block-style, editor was introduced to make WordPress more user-friendly. Designed for both novice and professional programmers, Gutenberg’s “blocks” can be inserted, rearranged, and styled with very little technical knowledge. Instead of using custom code, developers can simply “add a block” and focus on creating media rich pages and posts.

After working past the initial kinks and having accrued five months of practical experience developing in the new editor, we thought it was a good time to check in with the people who use Gutenberg everyday — namely our designers: Tyler, Rebbeca and Katie, and account service specialist Erika, to review Gutenberg and learn how they feel about the big WordPress changes:

How do you feel about Gutenberg?

Tyler

I make a killer…
Pizza. Seriously. I’m darn good at making pizza.

My catchphrase is…
Fair enough… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

My family pets are….
Two pups: Mike and Sully.

My favorite vacation spot is…
Somewhere all-inclusive.

My top sports teams are…
The Chiefs and Royals, since the day I was born.


Let me start with a disclaimer: I like Gutenberg A LOT more than I did at first, but still feels a little lacking.

I see what WordPress, as a whole, is doing with Gutenberg — and I respect it. That being said, I’m still not a fan.

I think the bulk of my frustration comes from knowing how something should be built, but having to rely on Gutenberg to build it. So, it ends up feeling like more of a hindrance than a tool. However, it does work now — which is in itself no minor achievement. For the everyday WordPress user, or even the less experienced developer who doesn’t really know (or care) what the html of the site is doing, it’s fantastic. So in that regard I fully understand that is a personal problem, not necessarily a Gutenberg problem.

The gripe I do have is consistency.

I’ve noticed Gutenberg has a tendency to sometimes do things one way… and sometimes to do things another way…

For example: when you are editing text in a paragraph block and press ctrl + a, what do you expect to happen? I would expect it to highlight all the text in that one paragraph block, which it does… sometimes… SOMETIMES it just decides: “ctrl + a, cool man, I’ll just highlight EVERY SINGLE BLOCK ON THE PAGE! CAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE!”


AND IT’S COMPLETELY RANDOM WHICH ONE IT CHOOSES!!!

*deep breath*

On the positive side, there are way more blocks (and plugins to make more custom blocks) than any one person could ever actually use thanks to the truly amazing community. So it is ever-expanding and improving everyday, and I enjoy that.

Like I said, Gutenberg for the everyday WordPress user is amazing. It does what it says on the tin. You put a block here, you tell it what the block is, and the site matches it on the other side. For the WordPress developer, it’s challenging and frustrating, but ever improving.

Erika

My favorite Harry Potter character is…
Hermione, hands down!

My favorite music album(s) is/are…
“Ways Not to Lose” – Woods Brothers
“I and Love and You” – Avett Brothers
“Gut the Van” – Dispatch
“Be OK” – Ingrid Michaelson
The list goes on and on…

My personal philosophy is…
Be afraid and do it anyways

I wish for the world to be…
Curious and not judgmental

My favorite sports team(s) is/are…
USA Soccer – both Men and Women’s team


Looking at Gutenberg from our client’s point of view, I think it has been positive.

Gutenberg = good.

I have found during training sessions our clients have picked up more quickly on how to update using the gutenblocks in comparison to the classic editor. There are some features like creating columns and shortcodes for page breaks that are now much more streamlined. Overall, for making the smaller updates to text and images I believe Guttenberg has been a plus, though I have a feeling our developers, who work within WordPress a bit differently than the average user, will have a different opinion on the new update.

Rebecca

If I were an animal, I’d be…
A dik-dik (Google it)

My personal philosophy is…
If you’re not happy, make a change.

In my former life, I was…
A Circus Performer

My passions are…
Art, Dance, Comics and Animation

My personal hero is…
My mother


Shy of being uber critical, Gutenberg isn’t awful. Buggy as hell yes, but not awful.

Gutenberg isn’t awful.

Mind you, this is coming from a dual designer and coder. I was very used to a specific process and how we get our sites to look the way they do pre- WP 5.0.

Part of the problem is learning how to use it. Gutenberg is new so of course there’s some grief in learning the UI (user interface). The other part is… also the UI. Mostly how it has a tendency to be a complete hassle to add or select certain content. Specifically: boxes inside boxes.

Boxes inside boxes — not easy to select.

Or, getting lists to either show up, or stop showing all together. And don’t even get me started on the in-site capability to effect padding and margin… While it has many capabilities, and aspires to be easy to use — it still has a way to go before it reaches that particular achievement.

To be fair, it still has its merits. Easy reordering of content, hundreds of custom add-ons for all your designing needs and desires, with a more aesthetically pleasing interface. It just takes some playing around to understand what you can do with all the new tools and tricks it offers. A major help is the community, and the active conversation on Gutenberg’s continued development.

So yeah, not awful.

If I had to rate it now, which I don’t, I would give it a passable 6/10 rating. Could use some work, could be worse. This has been Rebecca Thomas, with “Faint Praise Reviews”.

Katie

My personal philosophy is…
Don’t take yourself so seriously, no one else does.

My favorite Harry Potter character is…
Tough, but if we’re talkin’ character development, Neville Longbottom, without a doubt.

I would love to have…
A personal recording studio. Or vertical climbing gym.

My greatest accomplishment is…
Surviving natural childbirth and actually enjoying it

My favorite music album(s) is/are…
“Aeroplane Over the Sea” – Neutral Milk Hotel
“The King is Dead” – The Decemberists
“Later That Day” – Lyrics Born
“Love and Hate” – Aceyalone
“Luck of the Draw” – Bonnie Raitt
ABBA Gold
Bill Wither’s Greatest Hits

…just to name a few.


Coming from someone who’s strong in design and has a knack for coding but knows only the absolute basics of CSS, I LOOOOVE Gutenberg.

It’s a bit buggy, but what isn’t anymore, ya know?

As a highly visual person, I think Gutenberg is so totally awesome. The way I use it helps me feel more in control of what visitors see on the front end of a website, and it also provides me the opportunity to accomplish certain kinds of functionality I can’t build programmatically — cause hey, we can’t ALL be as highly skilled of a programmer as Tyler… 😉 Thankfully, there are tons of Gutenberg block plugins we can use to put some flashy fanciness in places that are otherwise lackluster and bland.

Flashy fanciness — it’s what I do. (With Gutenberg.)

I think of Gutenberg as a sort of personal aid or assistant that I can use to format website content without having to completely rely on my limited CSS skills. Thanks Gutenberg!

The downside to using this drag and drop editor is that I don’t have the same opportunity I had before to learn the CSS tools or tricks of the trade. But ultimately for MayeCreate, using Gutenberg actually helps streamline our web design process because I don’t have to interrupt myself during page building to learn a simple code that’s required to efficiently, and more importantly — correctly, get the task done.

The Verdict

How does MayeCreate Design feel about the 5.0 update, Gutenberg and the future of WordPress in general? Cautiously optimistic.

Hope you like mixed reviews!

We feel the visual editor largely achieves what it set out to do, making WordPress even more accessible and user friendly. Are there some growing pains to be worked through? Definitely. But, taking into account the tremendous community support, and judging based on where WordPress is already, these are minor issues that will be addressed in time.

What do you think?

Have you had a chance to deep dive into Gutenberg? What works and what doesn’t? What do you wish simply worked better? We’d love to hear about your experience. As always you can reach out to us on social media anytime. We are @mayecreate.

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