Podcast Episode

421 – WordPress 5.0: Gutenberg vs. Classic Editor


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Mortgage Calculator Plus allow your users to calculate their estimated monthly mortgage payment with this plugin. The calculator can be used as both a widget and a shortcode and offers a multiple customization options.

WordPress 5.0: Gutenberg vs. Classic Editor

The Gutenberg editor is based on drag and drop blocks and makes it really easy to create a page or post exactly the way you’d like it to look. It may even help you eliminate plugins on your site since it has a image gallery, contact form and table layout built into the interface.

On the other hand, the Classic Editor is a plugin that can be installed to change the editor back to the old style editor.

This might be a great solution for very simple sites or website owners who don’t want to experience the learning curve right now.

Thank You!

Thank you to those who use my affiliate links. As you know I make a small commission when someone uses my link and I want to say thank you to the following people. For all my recommended resources, go to my Resources Page

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

This month on Your Website Engineer podcast, we’re gonna take all about the differences between Gutenberg and the Classic Editor and some of the new features in WordPress 5.0. So, we’ll start that series today right here on Your Website Engineer podcast, Episode No. 421. Hello, and welcome to 2019. Happy New Year. It is time to start a brand-new year. And, what better way to start and kick off a new year is to talk about all the new features of WordPress 5.0 and getting our sights ready to hit that update button and move into the future and use this brand-new editor in WordPress 5.0. We’ll get to that in just a couple minutes. I have a couple announcements and a plugin to share with you today. The first news is if you’ve updated to WordPress 5.0, there is a maintenance release. It’s WordPress 5.0.2. The maintenance release addresses 73 bugs.

And, the main other point that they worked on is performance. It says you can see performance gains up to 330 percent faster for a post that has 200 blocks. If you haven’t updated, I recommend updating to the latest version. If you’ve already updated to WordPress 5.0, I recommend getting this 5.0.2 maintenance release and making your site run even faster. Also in Gutenberg news, there was a swag gift at WordCamp US. And, it was a Jenga game called Gutenblox. It’s now available for sale. There’s a link in the show notes. But, you can go over to gutenblox.fun. And, it is a store running big commerce with the new 2019 theme. It basically has Jenga blocks. It’s the blocks that you stack three by three. And, then you pull the certain ones out. And, they all have different block names from WordPress – so heading, video, shortcodes, and all those things.

It’s really kind of a cool thing. It probably would’ve been a good thing to mention before the holidays if you had a WordPress fan that you wanted to get a present for. This is something cool if you’re interested in a Jenga game. I recommend checking out gutenblox.fun. And, lastly in the news, you can see a new section in the WordPress repository that feature the WordPress block-enabled plugins. This is something if you’re interested in adding new plugins that are specific for this new WordPress system with WordPress 5.0, I recommend checking out this section in the WordPress repository. As we’re talking about WordPress today, I wanted to let you know that WordPress 5.0 has been downloaded 17 million times. There’s an active counter if you go over to wordpress.org/download/counter. And, you can see that number going up. As I’m recording here, it’s going up about 15 or 20 every five seconds or so.

There are tons of people that are already using WordPress 5.0. That’s kind of why we’re gonna talk about it today. Let’s move on to is there a plugin for that section of the show. And, there is one today that I found that’s called Mortgage Calculator Plus. And, this allows users to calculate their estimated mortgage payment with this plugin. It can be used as a widget or a shortcode. It offers multiple customization. You can have customization fields like loan amount or down payment or interest rate and loan payment, annual property tax, annual HOA fee, annual home insurance, and private mortgage insurance if you have that. This is a really timely one for me as we just kind of closed and got moved into our new house.

So, if you were running some sort of financial site or you’re trying to help people get out of debt or want to help them figure out if you pay an extra $200.00 per month towards their mortgage, they could save this amount of money in interest. That’s what I wanted to share with you is Mortgage Calculator Plus. And, you can find it on the WordPress repository under that name. Or, there’s a link in the show notes for Episode No. 421. I wanna talk today about WordPress Gutenberg Editor versus the Classic Editor. One of the cool parts about WordPress 5.0 release is it comes with this new editor that we’ll talk about. But, it also comes with the ability to kind of run the new software but keep the Classic Editor. I wanna talk today a little bit about which one should we use and which one should we enable on our WordPress site. By defaults, when WordPress 5.0 is installed, all sites will use this new editor.

But, you still have that option of using the Classic Editor instead. You have to decide which version do you want to use? Which editor is the best choice for you? To do that, you probably need to know how each option works. It’s important to understand what the visual editor’s interfaces look like and what sites it’s best used for. If you’re having a very media-rich site or maybe your posts and pages have a lot of media and a lot of content, block quotes, all kinds of shortcode, and things like that, you probably may benefit from the Gutenberg Editor. But, if your site is a very simple setup, maybe it’s just a lot of text or maybe one or two images per post, maybe it’s very, very simplistic, you may prefer the pared down Classic Editor for its simplicity. We’ll talk about the differences between the two. And, we’ll help you decide which one’s right for you.

And, in case you’ve already updated to WordPress 5.0 and you’ve got Gutenberg and you don’t like that, we’ll talk about how we can downgrade or change back to the Classic Editor. The introduction to the Gutenberg Editor is back in 2017, the WordPress team announced that work has begun on a new editor based on moveable blocks. And, the editor was given the name Gutenberg. It is the default feature now. The name Gutenberg comes from – and I talked about this earlier on the show when we started installing the plugin and checking it out – the name of Johann Gutenberg, who created the moveable- type printing press. The basic kind of idea there was when they created newspapers and books, they could move the type around pretty easily to create the words and the layouts that they needed for their books; that’s kinda where the codename Gutenberg came from.

It’s kind of stuck. And, people still refer to it as Gutenberg even though it is the block editor that is in WordPress 5.0. The Gutenberg Editor is designed to help users create those dynamic layouts. It lets you use drag-and-drop systems to build pages and posts using a variety of prebuilt block. Each block is customizable with its own unique set of options such as size, placement, if you want drop cap or different colors and whatnot. It offers a huge number of advantages. It is so much better when you’re trying to formulate and create a post exactly the way you want it. I can remember when first using WordPress with the Classic Editor. It was like how do I change the font? Or, how do I change the color? And, you couldn’t ever do that kinda thing. But, now you can with Gutenberg. Some of the advantages of using Gutenberg are that it does use this drag-and-drop system.
This means you can place a block anywhere on a poster page, and all the other blocks will shift around accordingly. If you have an image at the top and then you have some text and you decide maybe the image should be down a couple lines, then you just can pick up and drag the image and drag it down two or three blocks. And, it automatically shows up down there. You can do some very interesting things. You can use that for your image placement. With the drag and drop, you can drag it so it’s on left justified or right justified. The visual editor will look very similar to what that page will look like when you are using the Gutenberg Editor, which is really nice. You can do more with multimedia events if you wanted to have a video or imbed a shortcode or use widgets. Those all can be used inside of a post and page now, which is really nice. It makes things a lot easier.

When I talked about Gutenberg a little while ago, it’s a little bit of a learning curve. It may take you an hour or two to understand every paragraph has its own block, which I think is kind of confusing. If you’re writing text, why does each paragraph have to be a block? But, that’s the way the WordPress core team developed it and set it up. Once you get over that fact that everything is gonna be in a block, every individual paragraph, every sentence, every block quote is all in a block, you just kind of roll with it. And, when you automatically hit enter, it creates a new block for you. The other cool thing about Gutenberg is it may help you reduce the number of plugins you’re using on your site. If you’re using a shortcode plugin or an image gallery plugin, the plugin may no longer be necessary. This also goes for plugins that are for contact forms or tables because Gutenberg offers both built right in. It’s worth noting that the Gutenberg versions may be more simplistic than what the plugin is.

But, they’re perfectly functional if you’re not looking for any big features or whatnot in a contact form or in a table. If you’re using WordPress, it’s kind of standard state and you’re just typing a bunch of text and maybe adding an image here or there, then you may find that Gutenberg is a little overkill. And, maybe there are too many features. And, it may be more frustrating than helpful as you’re trying to navigate this new water of now it’s in blocks. And, every sentence is on a new block. Every time you hit enter, it’s in a new block. That may just be overkill for the simple site that you may be using. If you don’t want to just sit down and use the Gutenberg Editor and learn it, you can always use the Classic Editor. And, we’ll talk about that in just a second. Another downside of using Gutenberg is it’s not 100 percent accessible yet.

If your site serves the population with special needs and needs that accessibility feature, then Gutenberg will cause some problems for them. I did read an article that I didn’t mention in the announcement section. But, Automattic is helping to fund this accessibility audit so they can go through and find all of the issues within Gutenberg. That’s coming soon. All the sites running Gutenberg will be 100 percent fully accessible. It’s just not quite there yet. You also may not want the Gutenberg Editor if your theme is going to run into some conflicts. Some themes or plugins may not work well with Gutenberg if they haven’t been updated yet to work with this latest version of WordPress. If you’re using that, this may be the reason to hold off on updating to the new editor.
I am recommending and personally working on ripping the Band-Aid off, if you will, and going straight into the new editor using Gutenberg for everything and just learning the quirks of it and trying to figure how it’s best going to work when I create show notes for this podcast and how I’m gonna create blog posts on other websites and whatnot. I’m going to convert my wife’s website over as well and see what she can do with Gutenberg. Maybe that will allow me to be a little bit more hands-off as she can add that table that she needs or add this if she needs and whatnot. I think that it’s a good thing to experiment with. It’s a good thing to try to go through and see will it work for my site. Will it work? Are there any conflicts? I always recommend doing this on a staging site. I talked about this a few episodes ago about how I keep my site updated. I test everything on a staging site and make sure that nothing breaks and make sure that everything looks good before I go ahead and do this on a live site.

That’s again a very big recommendation to me to make sure that you’re not doing this on a live site. If you happen to have done it on a live site, you’ve updated to WordPress 5.0 or you want those performance increases and want to make sure that you’ve got those security bugs and everything fixed and you want to roll back because you’re just like this is too frustrating. Maybe you’re working with a client and it’s just gonna be too hard to teach them or you haven’t quite built out your system to teach and let people know how to use this new editor, then you can always go back to the Classic Editor. It’s important to note that this Classic Editor is not something that’s just gonna be kind of a thing that’s not maintained. [Inaudible] [00:11:26] said up until – I think it’s 2021 – they’re gonna continue to provide support and bug fixes for the Classic Editor. If you go to the WordPress repository, you go to add plugins, search for Classic Editor.

It’s gonna pull up the Classic Editor. It’s got probably more than a million active installs right now. And, it will allow you to install it and activate it. Once it’s installed, it automatically disables the Gutenberg Editor for WordPress 5.0 when you activate it. If you’ve created a few posts or pages with Gutenberg, it’s going to have all that Gutenberg markup. If you ever deactivate the Classic Editor, you can go back. And, it will have everything in blocks once again. It’s also important to know that once you update to WordPress 5.0, none of your previous posts will be affected. None of them are gonna be Gutenbergified I guess. They’re not gonna turn into blocks. They’re gonna work. When you open those up, it’s going to show one big block with all of your text in it. If you really wanted to, you could go through all your old posts and update them to Gutenberg blocks. I have a feeling that I’m not going to do that for 421 episodes.

But, that option is there, and that option is available. As we get into the New Year, I’m really excited to get diving into WordPress 5.0 and finding all the quirks and finding all the things that I could do easier or maybe faster. Or, this is a different way to do this. And, this is probably a little better. Or, maybe this is a little slower. But, I like the way I can rearrange and whatnot. It seems like I’ve been off the whole month of December with a couple travels and moving and the Christmas holiday and whatnot. It seems like I was at WordCamp US, and I pretty much took a break from WordPress for a couple weeks. I’m really excited to get back in and learn more and dive in. I’ll probably talk in a few weeks about how you can create your own blocks. If it’s content that’s in every single post, maybe it’s a disclaimer at the bottom of every post and page, we can talk about that and figure out how we can set those up so you don’t have to type those every single time.

And, you can just add your disclaimer blocks or if you wanted to add some sort of products. We’ll talk about these blocks and how we can add them to posts and pages and really make them easier to create those posts and pages and really create it exactly the way that you want it to be created and look exactly the way that you want. We talked about Gutenberg today and the Classic Editor. If you update to WordPress 5.0 and use the Classic Editor, nothing is going to really change when it comes to your day-to-day interactions with WordPress. It feels so much faster. And, it feels so much newer. I really like the experience of using Gutenberg. I’m working this week on getting all my sites updated to Gutenberg. It seems like none of them auto updated just because it’s such a big change they wanted to make. I looked this morning at all of my sites that are on Pressable. And, the hosting company said they won’t update anything until February.

I’m kind of waiting for all the bugs to auto update all of the sites. But, we can go ahead and update now. I’m gonna do that this week and make sure that all of my sites are updated and ready to go. And, that’s what I wanted to share with you this week. Remember that this month we’ll be talking all about Gutenberg and all about WordPress 5.0. If you’ve got questions, let me know. You can email me at dustinatyourwebsiteengineer.com. And, I’ll be sure to cover it on an upcoming show. Until then, take care. And, we’ll talk again soon. Bye-bye.