Interests Personal

Playing with Gutenberg

Embedding tweets, extraordinarily simple.

Adding example HTML code, also really simple, great way to demo code without having to write all the annoying < and > html entities.

<!doctype html>
<html lang="en">
   <title>Title of page</title>
   <p>some text in a paragraph</p>

Imagine if you wanted to enter your own HTML code, perhaps to embed something not already covered with Gutenberg’s blocks.  You can do that too.  Very convenient. 

<div style="border:1px solid white; padding:5px;">My own html in a div. The code above generated this block</div>
My own html in a div. The code above generated this block

The one thing I did not see at first was the lack of the “insert Read More tag”, but that is now a block by itself found under layout elements.  Best of all, if you really miss the old editor, you can insert that as well.  It can be found under formatting. 


Using Gutenburg

Image of Mac keyboard with a quarter of apple above it.
The new printing press

I’ve watched with anticipation the release of Gutenburg for WordPress.  The concept seemed fresh and made sense from a blogging perspective.  The only issue is, I’m a horrible blogger.  I don’t sit down and write on a regular basis, and most of the things I have to say or blog about, have already been covered a thousand times over – this being such an example.  But, I wanted to experience Gutenburg first hand and see what it’s like.  First impressions are good.

Example by default

The first thing I noticed was the build in tutorial and example, you can see the default example here .  It gives plenty of examples, what wasn’t clear at first was how to move the blocks around. I found this icon for moving blocks little gem.  It shows up as you move the mouse to the left of the text or block and by clicking and dragging you can rearrange the blocks on the page.  Pretty ingenious I say.

Oh, and pressing enter, gives you another paragraph block by default.  The nice thing about that, if you wanted to get really creative, is you can easily customize each paragraphs background color.

contextually sensitive image block
example paragraph settings block
contextually sensitive paragraph block

And with each new paragraph, it goes back to default. To the right of the screen, you will find a contextual sensitive setting blocks (image for reference) allowing you do such things as change the background color and text for paragraph, and details, alt text, and captioning for images.  This is pretty slick.

And that’s just three of the multitude of blocks available in the new Gutenburg editor for WordPress.  I can see this becoming the start of something new and refreshing.  Certainly makes the task of writing more enjoyable. 

The one drawback I see so far, and this is really quite minor because the other editor didn’t have this either, is the lack of ability to pick up on the CSS of the theme.  This could also be a shortcoming of the theme I am using since I seem to recall something about some code needed to be included in the theme to fully support Gutenburg?  Regardless, not a deal breaker at all, and the preview allows for easy viewing to see if things look okay.

Good work developers!


Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

Below is the default example post with Gutenberg for WordPress.  Having just started using it, I wrote a quick first impressions.

Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.

Thanks for testing Gutenberg!