This post is being written using Gutenberg – I will give you my honest thoughts at the end of this post. This is the first attempt at using Gutenberg in the last 2 months or so.
My first try with it – I hated it on every level.
It sounds like WordPress 5.0 is coming soon to a WordPress near you.
Unless you have been under a rock – this is the release that will include Gutenberg as the core editor for your WordPress website.
On October 2, 2018, Matt Mullenweg announced that he believes the launch will be in about a month, a few other people have also noted an upcoming launch – so you can probably expect Gutenberg to be coming in November as part of the core.
Why This Release Timing Is Just Stupid
Not sure why they decided on this as a good time for launch – but doing a MAJOR release of a CMS a week before Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping days of the year are just stupid in my opinion.
Clearly, I am not alone as noted in the comments on this post.
As a web agency our biggest concern is that we are working with limited humans around the holidays – and while we know our hosted clients will be taken care of – those that do not host with us may have problems with this update that we cannot fix right away. This is an issue across the board for developers…..
But it is also clear WordPress does not really care – so we need to suck it up and deal with it. I guess when a CMS is free, that is what you do – suck it up.
If you are using WordPress as an e-commerce website and expect a lot of traffic – we highly recommend you do NOT do the core update until after holidays – unless you have someone who can help you!
Below are some easy options to handling the Gutenberg transition so you can implement when YOU are ready!
While we are not fans of installing plugins for core functionality items, we do understand the need for these options so WordPress users can have time to migrate to this new core version.
1. Gutenberg Ramp Plugin
This may be the best solution we have found yet for helping website owners transition to Gutenberg – and the one we are currently using. This is the more advanced option though!
Basically when you install it – by default it will turn Gutenberg OFF and you will be left with the classic editor to work with.
But then you can amend things and have Gutenberg activated on specific post types – pages or even single posts. For example, I currently only have Gutenberg activated on this specific post since I want to start playing and testing a bit. No other post is using Gutenberg at the moment.
I will have a couple of pages setup as well and will activate Gutenberg so I can begin to utilize our more advanced functionality and see how it all works together.
Installing Gutenberg Ramp
Here are some basics to installing and using Gutenberg Ramp.
Install the plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/gutenberg-ramp
Activate Gutenberg On Specific Posts
If you only want to activate Gutenberg on a specific page or post so you can begin playing and testing, then you need to install the below code in your FUNCTIONS file. (Please do a backup of this file before making edits!).
The code below the image is an example of what we used for our own website – and is specific to this post. It is basically saying – hey, let’s use load Gutenber for the post with the ID number 13445.
Simple add the code below to your functions file – putting it right at the bottom of the file should work and not break anything!
gutenberg_ramp_load_gutenberg( [ 'post_ids' => [ 13445 ] ] );
The post ID number you will see in the URL as shown in the image below and can be seen when you add a new post or page in the admin – so that is the numerical value you will enter in the code you will add to your functions file.
To enable Gutenberg on several post or pages, just enter additional ID’s as shown below.
gutenberg_ramp_load_gutenberg( [ 'post_ids' => [ 13445, 13446, 13447 ] ] );
Activate Gutenberg On All Posts or Pages
If you would like to activate Gutenberg on all posts – simply go to SETTINGS > WRITING in the WordPress menu.
In the writing area you will see a new area called Gutenberg Ramp with 2 checkboxes. By default they are not checked, indicating Posts and Pages are NOT currently using Gutenberg.
To activate Gutenberg on ALL of your posts – check the posts option.
To activate Gutenberg on ALL of your pages – check the pages option.
Activate Gutenberg On Specific Post Types
At some point we may want to activate Gutenberg on our post type we have called Project. This is our custom post types for our portolio page posts and are all currently done using ACF Pro and custom HTML code.
We may attempt to recreate these with Gutenberg and see what magic we can make happen! If we do this then we would need to add a line of code to our functions file for this as well since there is no option to ONLY activate Gutenberg on a specific custom post type in the Settings option area as shown above.
The code we would need to install in our functions file is as follows (of course you would change “project” to whatever your custom post type is):
gutenberg_ramp_load_gutenberg( [ 'post_types' => [ 'project' ], ] );
Another Reason We Love Gutenberg Ramp
Because it works NOW while we are using the Gutenberg plugin – but it will also work when Gutenberg is included in the WordPress core!
So nothing will need to be changed once the WP Gutenberg version releases.
2. Classic Editor Plugin
Classic Editor is another plugin that is similar to the above, but with a bit less functionality.
Install the plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/classic-editor/
Then go to SETTINGS > WRITING menu area to access the settings. There are 2 options with this plugin:
- Replace the Gutenberg editor with the Classic editor.
- Use Gutenberg by default but offer a link on the posts list page to access the Classic editor instead.
If you choose 1 – then the Gutenberg editor will disappear. (We have Gutenberg plugin installed – and can attest that one this was installed and activated, all of the Gutenberg editors did in fact disappear!
If you choose 2 – then Gutenberg will be your default editor, but you will see a new “Add New (Classic)” link in the Post and Pages area as well as a “Edit Class” link when you hover over a post as shown in the image below.
Activating Classic Editor on a current site should not hurt anything, and it should prevent Gutenberg becoming the default editor when 5.0 comes out.
3. Disable Gutenberg Plugin
Another great option that offers a bit more in terms of options for who can use Gutenberg and where it can be used.
Install the plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/disable-gutenberg/
You can access the settings in the SETTINGS > DISABLE GUTENBERG menu area in your WordPress menu.
You can completely disable Gutenberg by checking the box as well as remove the nagging notice you will get to Try Gutenberg. If you select the disable Gutenberg everywhere option – no other options will appear.
If you you do want to use Gutenberg in some areas – then uncheck the disable Gutenberg everywhere option. Then you will see options for who you can disable Gutenberg for as well as what post types or specific posts you can remove it from.
This is a good option to Gutenberg Ramp if you are scared about touching the functions file.
How to Handle the Transition?
Because we know so many WordPress website owners are small guys who have no technical support to assist them, we wanted to make this easy for you!
Before you do your WordPress update that has Gutenberg as the core editor – BACK UP YOUR WEBSITE!
Want to try Gutenberg but not activate site wide?
Then install either the Gutenberg Ramp or Disable Gutenberg plugin to remove all instances of Gutenberg EXCEPT on a page you specify.
Want to NOT have Gutenberg activated at all?
Just install the Classic Editor plugin and choose the replace Gutenberg option in their settings. Now you will only have the classic editor.
Want to have Gutenberg activated site wide?
Then do nothing – once WordPress 5.0 comes out you will be ready to roll.
If I Update To Gutenberg Will My Website Break?
So, we cannot answer this for sure since there are just too many variables with every website to know whether or not your website will be OK. This is why we HIGHLY recommend doing a backup.
In our own tests – I added Gutenberg to the 2 Dogs Media website and everything went fine. All the pages had Gutenberg activated – but my custom pages still remained in tact.
When I deactivated Gutenberg everything went back to normal.
What Do We Think of Gutenberg?
As I mentioned earlier – we tested Gutenberg a few months ago and hated it. It was incredibly buggy and had a lot of usability issues – so we put it aside and walked away.
Today – while writing this post – I saw a better version of Gutenberg with a lot of POTENTIAL to be kind of cool.
We did run into a few issues when trying to save posts where it would lock up on us — and one time the post actually wound up in the trash when we saved it, so there are still glitches.
I tried to use a Twitter feed block, that did not work – so how many other blocks do not work properly?
We LOVE the ability to create and duplicate/reuse blocks. This will be a great time saver! We like that you can easily create background colors for text areas and have a little more freedom with fonts without being stuck with needing CSS knowledge.
While we may give clients access to Gutenberg on their blog posts – we think there is a LONG way to go to use this as a page builder.
I still think Gutenberg should not be core – and the impact this has had on agencies, website developers, plugin developers and so many others – is so much more than the value of the functionality offers.
There is still also a big concern with accessibility as noted by Rian Riatveld who quit this week because of the issues surrounding accessibility. Oh – she is the WordPress Accessibility team lead – so her leaving is a big red flag for us. You can read more about accessibility in the latest post from WP Tavern.
Since nonprofits are such a big part of our client base – we are in no hurry to push Gutenberg through just for this reason.
Take A Peak At Gutenberg In Action
What Can 2 Dog Media Clients Expect?
If you are a hosting and maintenance client, we will be installing Disable Gutenberg on your website to have Gutenberg completely deactivated.
If you choose to have a post or page that you want to use Gutenberg on – then just simply enter the ID of the post in the settings area for the plugin.
We will do our best to address any questions – but any support or modifications to your website due to the nature of this update will have to be quoted and billed. We hope our clients understand!
We are still working on delving further into Gutenberg from a development perspective and will try our best to keep your guys updated on where this editor is going!
Questions? Concerns? Frustrations?
Have you tried Gutenberg yet? What do you think?
Do you have an stories or examples of successfully using Gutenberg in complex ways? Please share them (because we could not find any!).
Jill Caren brings over 12 years of WordPress and SEO experience to help you improve and grow your website. She has spoken at several events on SEO and has been published in several top SEO publications. You can contact Jill here.