Gutenberg vs the Classic editor – which is best? I wanted to find out if Gutenberg was ready for action, so I used it on this site. WordStamped was a brand new site with no content, when I installed the Gutenberg editor on it in late October 2018.
This was a couple of months before Gutenberg became part of the WordPress core in December 2018.
After only using Gutenberg for an hour or so, it became apparent that it as yet, has very little advanced functionality. There are definitely issues with it, if you want to create anything but the simplest page layouts.
Gutenberg Is Only At The Beginning
If your pages consist of paragraphs of text, lists and perhaps an occasional image, then Gutenberg will be fine. You may even start to like it.
However, if you want to use some of the less familiar HTML tags, like description lists, or use a multitude of inline shortcodes, Gutenberg is less effective.
For technically knowledgeable users, Gutenberg is manageable. To get some things done it may be necessary to break out into HTML.
Gutenberg allows you to break out, but only in a way contrary to the way most coders work. In other words, you’ll find yourself trying to type inside a tiny, impossibly dumbed-down, mini-window.
One of the worst aspects of Gutenberg, for me, has been the fixed editor window width of a mere, 600 pixels. Since I started using it, there have been two or three software updates, but none of these addressed the inadequate window width. Though, the developers did find time to apply weirdness such as spotlight mode, and full-screen mode.
The latter, takes the window full-screen, by increasing the amount of unused white space on either side of the 600 pixels editor window. What a bizarre user-interface design decision!
Apparently you can add code to your WordPress theme to address this, but I don’t think I should have to do that.
I haven’t been able to work out what on Earth Gutenberg’s spotlight mode is supposed to achieve. That said, I can’t believe the editor width issues will not be addressed soon.
For pages where Gutenberg is inadequate or just annoys you more than, say, Brexit, you’ll want to use the Classic Text Editor.
It’s Important To Use Gutenberg
You risk getting left behind of you do not keep up with technology changes. In time this will hurt your ability to build income through blogging.
WordPress editor changes don’t matter to most people, but if you’re really trying to make a living from your blogging efforts on your own WordPress site, you’re not most people.
Rather than ignore Gutenberg, I started using it early to get used to it. Now that Gutenberg is part of the WordPress core, I can for the immediate future, make the decision to use it or not, on an page by page basis.
I say for the immediate future, as I can install the Classic Editor plugin so that I can still use that on certain posts where necessary.
If the page or post is going to be mostly text and a couple of images, then I use Gutenberg. If not, for example say it needs lots of design work, I could use Elementor. Or, if it has some fiddly code that requires I can see what I’m doing, I use the Classic Text Editor.
Can I Upgrade To WordPress V5 Without Using Gutenberg?
You can upgrade and straight away install the Classic Editor plugin. This should ensure you are able to upgrade and use your existing WordPress site.
Once the Classic Editor is installed, you should to go to the WordPress dashboard, and then to Settings/Writing and make use it is set up something like this. So here we are saying, use the Gutenberg editor (Block Editor) for everything, but allow users to switch editors and use the Classic Editor, if necessary.
But, quite apart from Gutenberg, if all the plugins you use have not been made-ready for the latest version of WordPress, there is still a chance that a plugin conflict could cause the site to not work properly. Not all potential conflicts and issues will be to do with Gutenberg.
What About The Future?
You may have invested lots of money, time and effort into page builders such as Beaver Builder or Elementor. You may have spent time learning HTML and CSS.
Any time you’ve spent on theses technologies and tool is not wasted. But there is no excuse for not learning the basics of HTML and CSS. Knowledge of these, will make your day to day life as a blogger, easier.
It has been argued convincingly elsewhere, that Gutenberg will replace most page builders in the long-term. Some people believe that the teams behind page builders will probably end up moving their functionality into Gutenberg blocks over time.
What do you think? I tend to agree as I explained in this post about how to build a blog.
Matt Mullenweg, Aug 28, 2017
The first version will be a page and post builder, and then we will take the block concept to replace widgets, menus, and have themes that allow you to build entire sites.
Gutenberg will start eventually developing into an editor that it capable of changing not just the content, but the entire page design.
But this functionality could be some time away. This looks like it will start happening very soon.
In the meantime, I will continue to use the Genesis Framework with Gutenberg and the Classic Editor. I might also use Elementor or Beaver Builder as the need arises for the occasional landing page, but no more.
Gutenberg may not look like much right now, but it is the future of WordPress.
By the way, although I started out by building the landing pages on this site using Elementor, I changed my mind and re-created them manually.