Writing with Gutenberg

This is a first step into using the new Gutenberg editor.  I am typing this content directly into the WordPress page and I will do any formatting here and see how straightforward or confusing it turns out to be.

Headings, Paragraphs and Other Blocks

It turns out that headings, paragraphs, etc are all separate blocks. While typing, when I hit the Enter key, I get a new paragraph block again, ready for typing, which is quite convenient. 

So to add a heading, I just have to hit enter at the end of a paragraph. Then by clicking on the + which appears (indicating a new block), I can choose what kind of block to use eg Heading, Image whatever (popular block choices also appears on the right for faster selection).

Block Options

Most blocks offer editing options such as left, centre or right alignment, via a fairly intuitive interface.  This option interface appears when I click into the block, either initially, or if I return to edit that block later. 

I can also move blocks up and down, using arrows which appear on the left of the block.  And there are further handling options available via the More Options menu (3 dots on the right of the block), which allow me to duplicate or delete blocks, plus a few more advanced options.

Paragraph Editing Options

Within a paragraph, I can:-

  • left align
  • right align
  • centrally align
  • make text bold
  • italic
  • strikethrough
  • add a link

I can also convert the contents of the paragraph block into a:-

  • heading
  • list
  • quote
  • preformatted
  • or verse (whatever that is)

So I just converted that last paragraph into a list, which was a relatively simple process.

Negative Thoughts

Hidden Menus

One thing I have noticed, however, is that many options don’t appear until you hover the mouse over them, or over the “block” which they apply to. While that keeps the screen tidy and removes distraction, it also means that it’s often not clear how to do something until you make a start. And it also makes for various menus and options suddently popping up then disappearing as you move the mouse around.

Links

The “add a link” icon within Gutenberg does not behave as well as “add a link” within the current WP editor.

Selecting some text and clicking on the link icon, brings up the box for selecting or pasting the link URL.  Starting to type causes a list of suggested posts or pages within the current website to show up.

In the current WP editor, this is a list of posts and pages.  However within the Gutenberg editor, only posts are listed, which is a little annoying.  I hope that will be fixed in the future.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this initial foray into using Gutenberg has been relatively painless and quite interesting. At least for for someone like me, who is very familiar with computers in general and WordPress in particular, it all seemed fairly straightforward. I wonder what it might be like without that kind of familiarity?

For simple content like this, written within the editor, it is a pleasant process, and may encourage the use of headings, lists etc rather than just a long flow of text.