Where Alberon stand with the Gutenberg WordPress block editor update, 5 months on

WordPress is our recommended CMS of choice. We get great results with it every time. Clients also like it as it is user-friendly, meaning copy and image changes are quick and simple to make. In November 2018, the new standard WordPress editor was changed to Gutenberg.

Gutenberg is an editor designed to enable users to effortlessly include different types of sections on a page, in whatever order they desire. Pre-determined sections are made mobile friendly too. Therefore, sites are automatically responsive. If you shrink your browser down slowly, you will see how images scale appropriately. This is because they are predetermined, your browser knows what to do. So, 5 months down the line, where has this change left the web design and development world?

At the end of last year, we outlined what we thought the change might mean, what Gutenberg offered and our general verdict. There is still no doubt it is a handy tool and it has bags of potential to make copy editing and page building easy for the most novice of WordPress users. But, there are still doubts.

How far has Gutenberg come?

Most of the Gutenberg issues have been addressed since our last post. This has been shown by it going from a one-star rating to a two-star rating on WordPress. However, it is still not something we are rushing to update to. Most of our clients manage their websites using Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), which allows the same flexibility Gutenberg is trying to. However, as we have always used it, we know ACF is not going to cause bugs or break the website. Not a guarantee we can make with Gutenberg for the time being.

Gutenberg is easy to disable, with multiple ways to turn it off. Many website managers are put off by reviews and the difficulty in knowing the effect it may have on their websites. If you’d like to use it, it takes time to test, fix and test again. If something is broken and it’s missed, it could have a more serious long-term effect on your website. This makes disabling it the obvious choice at the moment.

What to do next with Gutenberg?

Again, the decision to update is completely up to you. At the request of one of our recent clients, we updated their WordPress website and used Gutenberg as the editor. Although, they still use it with ACF. Gutenberg didn’t have the back-end coding flexibility to create the layouts that we wanted to use as well as integrate them with other plugins. This meant using ACF with Gutenberg to achieve the desired results. This shows it is possible to use, however still requires some customisation. Gutenberg is still not proven itself as one of the big-hitting page editing plugins.

Therefore, we recommend to our clients to remain with what they have for the moment. We continue to create most new sites with the ‘old’ WordPress standard editor and ACF. We get the desired user-friendly results, every time.

However, Gutenberg is always advancing and being updated. It has come some way in a short amount of time. The job is trying to achieve is more user-friendly than the previous standard editor. The future is bright. Watch this space, web development world.

How can Alberon help?

If you want to get to know Gutenberg, we can help incorporate it into your website. Alternatively, if you would like to stick with the classic editor, we can help you develop a bespoke, user-friendly website. Get started by contacting the team.

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