The upcoming Gutenberg launch has been a hot topic for the WordPress community since its integration to the platform was announced in March 2017. As people are getting hands-on experience with Gutenberg, Bluehost is speaking with community leaders for their thoughts on how the new editor is changing WordPress.
This week, Bluehost is chatting with Plugin Developer Scott DeLuzio about the WordPress community and how collaboration continues to make WordPress a success.
Scott, what were your initial thoughts on Gutenberg and how have they changed?
“I felt like it was a kind of a scary change. Anytime there is any type of change there is some level of growing pains. I knew there would be people who had issues with compatibility or the way their site has been set up. But, as I’ve seen it develop over the past few months I feel like the team has done a lot to alleviate the issues. There is still work to be done to remedy the bugs and make people comfortable with integrating it onto their sites, but I do feel better now than I did six months ago. Now it’s in a better place and headed in the right direction.”
We couldn’t agree more, the reaction and sentiment of people who have used Gutenberg has gotten better as the editor continues to be improved by the community members working on it.
As an active member of the community, what do you think the community can do to better support the process? And what do you think people should do before installing the current Gutenberg plugin?
“I think user testing is a good way to go and it’s the best thing you can do to help. An average WordPress user (not a designer/developer) who uses WordPress professionally doesn’t know that installing Gutenberg can drastically affect their current site. Some people saw an action notice and just clicked “Install,” without knowing how it was going to work with their site.
My concern has always been that people are testing Gutenberg on their live sites and it could affect their livelihood. Your local mom/pop shop is relying on their site to work and they aren’t going to have the immediate resources or IT team to make that quick fix.
For designer/developers who are more familiar with the background of software and updates, they decide to click “Install,” because they are more understand what is happening. I think people should have been encouraged to try the staging environment or a local development site as opposed to a live site. I think that could have diffused some of the initial backlash.”
What are your thoughts on the ease of use of HTML blocks? Do you think this will be easier for developers or novice users?
“When you combine the ease of the drag/drop block with advanced stuff like HTML editing, it can be a problem for an agency used to custom HTML. Imagine they hand it over to their client who tinkers with it and then their layout doesn’t work. There has to be consistency across the board for how the agency uses the blocks so a client can successfully manage their site alone.
I can see an agency, developer, or designer looking to make small tweaks to a site and then a client interacts with it and because of their experience, the work is undone by accident. It should be one way or the other—either use the custom HTML and let the client know any changes made will be done on their behalf or use the blocks that the clients can easily update themselves.”
You make a great point Scott! Agencies definitely should decide on the best way to use the blocks and then teach their clients how to avoid any future problems with their site. Do you think that Gutenberg will eventually lead to a page builder for WordPress?
“I don’t see it replacing WordPress like Beaver Builder or other page builder tools whose focus is the overall layout of the site versus content. Could it go in that direction? Sure, it could. But, I feel that is going to encroach on theme territory and that’s an overreach of its intended purpose.
The customizer section could be extended to do more Page Builder type stuff which is different than Gutenberg. For example, you could just do the design of your site and upload a style sheet, but could that make themes a thing of the past? I’m not sure. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.”
How are you preparing your clients and business for Gutenberg, have you already done it or are you waiting?
“I haven’t really started prepping my clients because the current plugins I use (I develop plugins) don’t have too much to do with the editor. Some have shortcodes that could be used in the editor and be converted into blocks at some point. I also don’t have much experience with React so for me that’s a learning curve I need to invest time and effort into. However, there are lots of tutorials and information available on how to create the blocks.
Some of my plugins could be better when it comes to the Gutenberg integration blocks, but I’ll work on them soon.”
Gutenberg is the collective effort of everyone (volunteers, developers, contributors) in the community, how does the community help push it forward?
“You look at WordPress core, plugins, themes, and everything else that has been developed—It’s community driven, all volunteers, with the exception of those who may be sponsored or paid by third-party companies.
I look at the success that WordPress has had over 15 years and its because the community has continuously come together to make this thing better. The only way Gutenberg is going to have that same level of success is if it continues to be a collaborative effort where people are sharing ideas and feedback. I think as everyone continues to share constructive criticism it will only get better.”
Have you heard any myths or misunderstandings about Gutenberg?
“I think the biggest myth is that people think it’s going to be a page builder model and that is not the case. It will control the layout of your content depending on the blocks you are using or how your theme integrates with it, but I feel like people think it’s going to take over the entire site and that’s a misunderstanding of what Gutenberg will actually do.”
From your experience, what is your favorite feature of Gutenberg?
“I do like the clean and sleek layout. It has a crisper design than the current text editor. For me, it’s modern and a step in the right direction.”
Any final thoughts Scott?
“I think for Gutenberg to really be successful and push WordPress forward it needs to have the community working together. I’ve seen a lot of negative comments and I don’t think those are necessarily productive, especially those criticizing people behind the effort.
If we’re going to make this work…let’s make it work and do it as the WordPress community who has been supporting the platform for the past 15 years. That’s what will make it successful!”– Scott DeLuzio
Thank you for sitting down with us Scott, we are looking to forward to seeing how the community comes together to support Gutenberg as the launch date approaches. Learn more about Scott below!