Trying out the Gutenberg editor

There seems to have been a few stories appearing recently about the upcoming release of the Gutenberg editor for WordPress. Many reviews have been mixed, and some are downright negative. But rather than relying on someone else's opinion, I thought I'd give it a go myself.

So what is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a new post editor for WordPress. It has been designed to replace the existing post editor – also known as the TinyMCE editor – with something a bit more powerful and useful.

Existing TinyMCE Editor

The existing editor will be very familiar to everyone that's used WordPress, and the change over to something new takes some getting used to.

Gutenberg Editor

The biggest change, apart from the cleaner lines and improved layout, is that each title, each paragraph, each quote, and each image on the page are in their own 'block'.

Each block is created by clicking on a little plus symbol (+), and then you select the type of block you want to add. There are a whole load of different types of block:

  • Headings
  • Paragraphs
  • Images
  • Quotes
  • Lists
  • Tables
  • Code blocks
  • Videos

There's also the option to embed things from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and many more sources.

So the idea seems to be to replace a whole lot of extended functionality that was previously achieved using plugins and short codes in the middle of text.

So is it any good?

Well this is the first post I've ever written using Gutenberg, and I like it already. For just writing a normal post full of text, I suppose it's a bit more complicated. But the real power of the editor comes when you want to start adding to the text.

Adding images suddenly becomes easier and more intuitive. And I have a lot more confidence that moving stuff around the page isn't going to mess up all the formatting.

And if I want to do anything fancy like embed a tweet, such as the one below, then Gutenberg really comes into its own. 

So how do you try it out?

It seems that WordPress is gearing up to roll out Gutenberg as its editor in the next major release of the software. Until then, it's available to add to your WordPress install as a plugin, so that you can try it out.

I believe the plugin is still in beta testing at the moment, so maybe don't use it for any critical production sites. But as this blog only gets about 40 visitors a day, I feel pretty safe in using beta code!

Why not give it a go, and let me know what you think in the comments below.