Gutenberg (Block) Editor Deflectors Retreat!

So there’s been quite a bit of “deflection” centered around the Gutenberg (Block) Editor that’s been adopted into WordPress Core.  Some of this makes sense in certain cases, but doesn’t in others, so it seemed worthy of jotting down some thoughts on.

If I have a few minutes to spare, I’ll typically scan the handful of Facebook Groups that I belong to and try to lend a hand if there’s something that isn’t too time consuming (and there might be some quick information that I can provide).  In doing this, I again started to think that some fairly prominent professionals are really pushing people particular directions without much discretion as to the situation.

This Case:  A User had come onto the Group and was pretty diligent in documenting what she was asking.  She had made a quick video of her screen to document particularly what she was asking. The question was pretty simple:  “How do I edit html with the Block Editor?”

So this is a very simple question as I had stated.  HTML can be edited a variety of ways:

Toggling the Block to HTML

Inserting a Classic Block and doing the same toggle

Using a Custom HTML Block

So those are what came to mind as the pretty well supported, obvious choices.  Ok, so simple enough right? Let me check the comment stream for people helping this young lady understand how to find these options in the Editor.  This is the reason I’m writing this post. Didn’t observe that.

What I observed were a couple comments, some short one liners.  “Activate the Classic Editor.” This being a new User and having seen that, thought this was the correct course of action.

So I jumped in and posted how to pretty easily do this a number of different ways with a screenshot of the best way, which in this case was likely to toggle the Paragraph Block.

Now on to the Deflection…

Where it Makes Sense:  So the editor is not a “one size fits all” at this point for a few different reasons.  There are some compatibility issues with older themes, possibly some plugins that don’t work as they were designed to integrate features into the TinyMCE Classic Editor (previous editor) or there may be cases where the User just isn’t of the technical level to adopt change.  The two editors are different. I’ve used both myself on my sites for specific reasons and have activated it in quite a few Client situations in order to not bring one more thing into a tightly budgeted time.

Where the Deflection Doesn’t Make Sense:  So I’m lucky enough to have been able to connect with the Gutenberg Team Members (both the Design Developers and Developers working on Documentation) at the last WordCamp US Contributor Day (Nashville, TN).  I’ve been following the Development from when the Editor was a Plugin and testing this. I totally get the concept. It’s all working now. Developers (Plugin) are adding Blocks with features of their Plugins (similar to how Widgets work, but in Page).  There’s maximum flexibility with each element going to its own block. There are MANY MORE features than the previous Editor (which was one box with features in a toolbar). There’s custom blocks to do neat things that all (or most anyway) major plugin developers are providing styled components for (that appear on the frontend in the page).

So the point is, deflecting something that offers so much more than the previous solution makes little sense.  Hey, I get it, simple is good. But you can still go simple. To me, not learning just because you’re used to something or feel a certain way, it’s just bad form.

If there’s a reason for the action of going with the Classic Editor, I totally get that as well.  What I don’t understand is at the least slightest hint of trouble, why some are pushing just go with the Classic Editor.

The Classic Editor is set to be phased out.  It was supported for continual time due to some of the cases above, but mainly to allow Developers a chance to adapt to it, re-theme if necessary, make theme adjustments or solve those last remaining issues.  Those continually deflecting are just going to be at the same place as when the Block Editor launched at the end of the carry over period. It’s not an “opt-out” to be able to active the Classic Editor.

I still do use it myself when the case warrants as well as if I may just not yet have time to get to relative issues, but it seems like it’s not a good preventative measure to get away from using the Block Editor altogether as some type of solution to avoid problems.  If anything, since there’s now starting to be quite a few additional features coming with using the blocks, this type of approach may even be irresponsible as professionals.