GutenTalks: PHP Developer and Freelancer David Bisset

As we continue the conversation surrounding Gutenberg, we are speaking with leaders to get their insight on how this is shaping the community who continues to express opinions and thoughts as the update develops.

This week, Bluehost is chatting with David Bisset who is a Freelance WordPress and PHP Developer sharing his thoughts and experience with Gutenberg so far. Read more from his interview below.


David, is there any sector of the community (web developers, bloggers, businesses) who you think will have to adapt to Gutenberg the most?

“A good portion of regular users won’t see it coming because they haven’t had time to adapt to a new way of thinking about their content. I’ve witnessed in local meetups that developers either accept the new features quickly or take their time adjusting.

Onboarding is a big issue for Gutenberg, and I think it’s going to be the most challenging because people don’t like change. With any new concept, it takes time to adjust and Gutenberg will need to develop a smoother transition for all of its users. Agencies, users, and educational centers with page builders will potentially experience hiccups depending on the plugins they are currently using on their websites.”

As a community leader, how do you think we can better get behind the people who are building and fixing Gutenberg?

“The first tip I would suggest to the community is to provide constructive feedback. It’s not common, but I have seen people just make blanket negative statements or worse…attack or belittle developers building Gutenberg. You can be critical of Gutenberg and provide helpful feedback at the same time. The best way for developers to implement adjustments to any bugs is from users that describe what they do and don’t like about its features.”

We fully agree that positive communication and suggestions regarding Gutenberg’s launch is the best approach to improving its functionality for all WordPress users.

Social media is a popular platform where people express their opinions, how has this impacted how Gutenberg is received by users?

“I think some members of the community realize the “classic editor,” is outdated and not a good experience for new users. Sometimes people use social media to vent frustrations about their customers or clients not providing good feedback for projects but then tend to provide a similar level of feedback for Gutenberg. I think sometimes we can do better.

Not everyone’s ideas can be integrated into the evolution of Gutenberg, but since WordPress 4.9.8 was made public, you can see that the WordPress team is listening to the community in general. At the end of the day, if people provide instructive and approachable feedback, that goes a long way for Gutenberg’s expansion in the future even if that feedback can’t be acted on in the short term.

However, at the same time, there are some legitimate concerns regarding communication and integration plans— I think there’s some frustration there. In terms of tweaking, communication and deeper information going forward might be something to think about.”

Building good avenues for communication is always important when developing an update of this magnitude. How does the ability to create custom blocks bring new opportunities to JavaScript and PHP developers?

“JavaScript developers have the edge now, but there’s a number of projects that aim to extend Gutenberg and blocks for PHP developers. I think it’s great to give as many developers as possible, regardless of their current skill sets, chances to work with Gutenberg.”

That’s completely understandable, the more interaction developers have with Gutenberg, the more comfortable they will become with the javascript format. Has the community involvement with Gutenberg affected other open source projects?

“It certainly is the biggest community involved project that WordPress has attempted and is a great example of how open source allows for global collaboration. Drupal is one of the largest open source communities in the world and their consideration of Gutenberg shows the impact it’s having worldwide. Gutenberg Cloud looks to be an exciting project as well, and I would urge folks to check it out.”

We love that other communities are getting excited about Gutenberg! There were several javascript UI options for Gutenberg to be built on, do you think React.js is a good fit?

“I know many wanted it to be Vue or other choices, but while React isn’t perfect or as easy to use, I think it was a logical choice. It will be interesting if in five or eight years if it remains the preferred or popular choice among developers.”

As Gutenberg evolves, what are you most excited to see developers create with this update?

“I’m excited to see how developers will create new things for Gutenberg that we haven’t imagined yet and how it will impact users (both current and future WordPress users who might not have even know about the classic plugin). I think plenty will still use the classic plugin for quite some time – probably years – and since it will be supported, I think this path is just fine.”

The sky is the limit for what all users will create when Gutenberg launches, what would you say to those who are concerned about the future of WordPress?

As someone who has been working with WordPress for over a decade and a freelancer for nearly two decades, I believe it’s important to have a healthy view of emerging technologies. Try to look at big pictures but at the same time determine how you want to adapt, because at the end of the day how you react to change is how you determine how you survive.”


Thank you for sitting down with us David, we are looking forward to seeing Gutenberg in CORE. Learn more about him below!

David is a full-time freelancer developer living in South Florida (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area). He is a WordPress developer and also specializes in BuddyPress sites/applications. He is also a speaker, meetup organizer, conference organizer (over a decade with WordCamp Miami, one of the largest non-regional WordCamps), and father of three.



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