GutenTalks: Bluehost and Co-Founder Eric Debelak

The WordPress community has been buzzing with excitement over the new Gutenberg editor that will revolutionize the platform this fall. Bluehost will be interviewing agencies, web developers, and bloggers to get their opinions and thoughts on their experience with Gutenberg.

Let’s start with Eric Debelak. Co-founder of 11Online who shared his thoughts and experiences on the development of Gutenberg. Check out more from our interview below.

Eric, what aspects of Gutenberg’s functionality are you excited to share with your clients?

“I will say, I wasn’t sold on Gutenberg until I started building my own blocks that I could adjust in real time. My first block was a pie chart and I saw the power of being able to rotate it, change colors, etc and be able to see it immediately on the front end. Page builders aren’t always user-friendly and you don’t get to see the preview of your page prior to publishing. In past, we’ve been working with short codes and custom fields that you save and then preview, but they don’t offer this new page building experience.”

What have you heard from the community about Gutenberg?

“First, that the default blocks don’t feel that different than the TinyMCE. They don’t fully demonstrate what’s possible in Gutenberg, but once you build custom blocks, you’ll find it’s a game changer!

Also, for PHP developers there could be a learning curve that makes them not want to learn and build in this new way. Although, it’s not unmanageable, it’s just not what people are used to. I’m mainly a React developer, so this is not a language I am afraid of. And while I think it could have been built on many things, React is popular and it’s performant, so it makes sense.”

Have you tested current client sites with Gutenberg? What are some of your favorite enhancements that you have noticed?

“Yes, we are currently building Gutenberg sites and we are doing a lot of experimentation and trying things. A current project we are working on is with Gutenberg and AMP and the results have been exciting and interactive.”

Some people in the community are waiting for Gutenberg to be live in CORE, what do you think?

“We’re not waiting! We have custom blocks that we’ve built and clients see them in action, they are excited to see what’s possible. We also do technical work with creative agencies for our clients and they immediately see that Gutenberg is going to be a big deal. They are tired of short codes and custom fields because they aren’t intuitive, but they can easily see that blocks are.”

How will Gutenberg change how we build websites?

“Look, seeing an empty page with a bunch of fields isn’t inspiring for people.

For example; a large company may have a variety of content creators, but the people who are creating, aren’t technical. Now with Gutenberg, you can build fully branded custom blocks. Blocks that allow those people who are not technical to truly let their content shine by focusing on just that: content. You have the power to make every page and every block on brand 100% of the time.” 


Eric Debelak is a co-founder of 11 Online, Block Party, and Rendr Consulting. Eric first tried WordPress in 2004 and has been building plugins and themes since 2013. Eric’s experience includes building software for digital scoreboards, a medical wearable device, and a variety of business process software.

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