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A peek at the new WP Gutenberg Editor!

01/01/2019 | |0 comment
I’m a very lucky subscriber of WP Courses at WP specialist Kirk Biglione of California’s WPApprentice online site. I ended up doing all of his courses during the summer breaks of 2015 and 2016.  Beauty of it is that once you’re subscribed you keep your tutorial account for as long as it is around and you get all kinds of neat e-mail updates like for example the Gutenberg Editor.  Best of all Kirk gave us a complimentary and very detailed course on the Gutenberg Editor in mid-December – so I spent New Years Day working through all of the lectures – had great fun doing that.

I’m not an expert on Gutenberg by a long shot – that can only come with experience, but have enough familiarity with it to work my way around it.  One thing is for sure, it’s here to stay, so if one’s serious about WordPress it may be a good idea to get familiar with it.

The Gutenberg Editor is not very user-friendly.  Most of its tools are hidden away so a course to familiarize oneself with the tools as well as learn how they work and where they are is invaluable.   Previous to doing the course all of my WordPress sites had the Classic Editor plugin installed as I was concerned that the new Gutenberg Editor that automatically comes loaded with the last WP 5.0 update would break my themes.  I still have most of my WordPress sites on the Classic Editor, but I’m not as concerned as I was before I did the course.  Those who need to be concerned are Website owners with more complex themes and sophisticated editors that may conflict with Gutenberg.  So the recommendation is that if you have a more complicated WordPress site to test the new Gutenberg plugin first before you apply it to your website.

In the meanwhile there is absolutely no harm in trying Gutenberg out, as it has all kinds of layout tools that are very powerful and can save lots of time.  Nice part of Gutenberg is the developers have included options for you to opt out of Gutenberg. Also when you work with an old WordPress installation if you click on the Gutenberg Blocks for editing they all are in Classic Editor mode by default.  You have to enable the Gutenberg Editor for the post first.  You can even revert back to Classic Editor if you want to.  There’s also a few plugins you can use – a popular one being the Classic Editor plugin – not sure how really necessary they are.  Fact is that Gutenberg is here to stay, so it may be a good idea to become familiar with it.

If you are really concerned about Gutenberg and want to avoid it at all costs, the WordPress developers have created a plugin – the Classic Editor – with which one can switch between the themes with great ease.  And it really works as I have the plugin installed in some of my blogs.  The plugin works with the “Writing” setting of the WordPress Dashboard.  Where you can switch between Gutenberg or Classic Editor.  I can recommend this plugin with confidence.

Once I started to try out Gutenberg, I found the greatest challenge is to figure out where the tools are.  Gutenberg is primarily a block editor.  So once you’ve loaded a WordPress Installation, and you’ve started a page or post, your first block is a header.  This block doesn’t show any of the tools on the right hand side or top of the post window, as the editing will be default header style.  Then after you’ve clicked on the return, the next block is a default text block.  Secret now is to click in that bloc, and you’ll see a tiny menu on top of it.  If you hover your mouse over the first tool in the little menu, you can change the block to take on different attributes.  You can also add other layout elements by clicking on the plus sign in the circle above the block.

Another “hidden tool” is when one wants to load an image you have to click on a little circle with a plus sign that is in the top left hand corner of the post window.  Not directly above the block.  You can then click on a variety layout elements.

Finally, one also has to figure out that in the right hand column of the dashboard in post or page view, you can click on either the default document editor or block editor.  The document editor is the same as before, where you can save the post as draft, or schedule its publication, add tags etc.  With the Block Editor you can change fonts, color of background and font colors and a whole host of things.  There is also a limited little CSS and HTML option.  However for the greater part the Gutenberg Editor is a WYSIWYG Editor, with limited CSS capability from the dashboard.

I’d say my learning of the Gutenberg editor so far has pretty much been the same as when I first tried to master the WordPress Dashboard in 2012.  Everything is hidden, and whereas usually I do things intuitively, I needed step by step guides to discover the tools that were hidden.  Otherwise I’d not have had a clue where they were or able to use them.  So a thank you to Kirk Biglione and his WPApprentice training course on Gutenberg and his diligence with keeping us informed by e-mails.

Genesis