My Gutenberg Experience Thus Far

Ive used Gutenberg for several months and during that time, there have been moments where I love it and situations where I’ve had to disable the plugin because of frustrating bugs.

One of the most frustrating aspects of using Gutenberg is the lack of support from the plugins I depend on.

Publish Post Preview

I use the Publish Post Preview plugin to generate a preview link for posts so that people can see what it looks like before it’s published.

Publish Preview Checkbox in the Current Editor

In the current editor, the checkbox to generate a link is in the Publish meta box. In Gutenberg, that option doesn’t exist. According to a recent support forum post, the author does not plan on making it Gutenberg compatible until there is a finalized API to extend the sidebar.

Telegram for WordPress

We use the Telegram for WordPress plugin to automatically send published posts to our Telegram channel. The plugin adds a meta box that has options to send the post, configure the message structure, send a file, and display the featured image.

In Gutenberg, the meta box is open by default which provides access to those options. However, when I edit a published post, there are times when the meta box is closed and clicking the arrow to expand it doesn’t work. Since the Send this post to channel option is on by default, saving changes to the post will resend the post to Telegram subscribers. Something I don’t want to happen for simple edits.

Edit Flow

We use Edit Flow to collaborate on posts and often use the Editorial Comments feature to provide feedback. In Gutenberg, the meta boxes for Editorial Comments and Notifications do not open when clicking the arrow. Therefor, we can’t use those features.

Edit Flow Meta Boxes are Broken

After the Deadline

I’m a fan of After the Deadline which is a proofreading module in Jetpack. It checks posts for spelling, grammar, and misused words. When activated, a button is added to the visual editor to perform the checks. This button is not available in Gutenberg, so those features are not available as well.

Adding Images to Paragraphs is a Pain

Adding images to paragraphs in Gutenberg is more cumbersome than it needs to be. In the current editor, all I have to do is place the cursor where I want to insert an image, add media, choose image size, align it, and I’m done.

In Gutenberg, you need to create an image block below the paragraph block, move the image block to the paragraph block, align it, and use handlebars on the corner of the image to resize it.

I realize that there are a few workflows that I’m going to have to change because of how Gutenberg works, but this workflow doesn’t make any sense to me, especially when I can’t insert images without creating a new block. Thankfully, the Gutenberg team is on top of it and is working on a solution to add images within a paragraph block.

Random Blank Paragraph Blocks

I recently copied a large amount of text from a Google Doc and pasted it into Gutenberg and was surprised by how well it worked. Blocks were created in the right spots and I didn’t have to edit it much.

I opened the post in the classic editor so that I could use the proofreading feature and it mangled the post. I opened the post in Gutenberg again and noticed a bunch of empty paragraph blocks created in-between paragraph blocks.

This resulted in having to spend some time deleting the empty paragraph blocks and questioning whether I should avoid transferring posts between editors in the future.

Tags Sometimes Appear Blank in the Meta Box

When adding tags to posts, sometimes the tags appear blank although they show up on the front-end. Also, deleting tags sometimes doesn’t work. I click on the X and nothing happens in the back-end, but the tag will be removed from the front-end.

Blank Tags in Gutenberg

Gutenberg Has a Lot of Rough Edges

If this version of Gutenberg were merged into WordPress today, it would be a disaster. It’s clear that the project has a long way to go before being considered for merge into core. Most of the issues I’ve outlined in this post are known and are being addressed. 

Gutenberg is supposed to make everything we do in the current editor easier and more efficient. If it doesn’t, then I have to ask, what’s the point?

What concerns me the most about Gutenberg is plugin support. Some of the plugins I mentioned above are active on 10K sites or less but are important to the way I craft and publish content in WordPress.

Without them, using Gutenberg is not a great experience and instead, makes me want to use the current editor where things simply work.