WordPress’ Gutenberg editor

Screenshot of the new Gutenberg editor for WordPress

The content management system WordPress has been around for fifteen years. Since its inception, it has been based around the established principle for editing content which office workers know well. A white screen with a toolbar at the top of the window, into which we write all of our text and add our images and other content.

Manipulating the order and placement of things like images or videos can be a fiddly process for those who don’t spend their lives in front of a screen. Which, to be fair, applies to a great many people who run websites.

For WordPress’ 15th anniversary, the team of programmers and designers who have responsibility for leading the development of WordPress have set a goal of a new editing interface – one which primarily improves and streamlines the experience for content creators, but which also allows new, much faster technology to be implemented for simple tasks like saving an article or adding a photo. The new interface is called “Gutenberg” and is currently available as a plugin for anyone using WordPress. Once the final bugs have been dealt with, Gutenberg will become part of WordPress Core and will be the default editor for everyone.

Aside from improved technology, the main change to the editor is that the content of the page – such as the text you’re reading right now – is split up into blocks. Although text like this article is split into paragraphs, these have always been a part of a single “lump”. Now, with Gutenberg, the paragraphs (as well as images, lists or other types of content) become individual “blocks”, which can be manipulated independently. You can drag them and drop them quickly to change the order of the content, you can insert a new block between pre-existing ones, or you can even insert special pieces of content like a gallery, a video, a slideshow or a more complex element.

Dominik from Swiss WordPress agency Required has written a fuller and more detailed blog post about Gutenberg for their website. If you want to be brave and take the beta version for a spin on your own WordPress website, you can check out the development version of the plugin in the official Plugin Repository.

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