Since the official release of WordPress 5.0 (6 December 2018), the Gutenberg editor has been part of the WordPress core. This means: Gutenberg has now been in use for over a year. That's why we're taking a look at what has happened in the meantime in this post.
In addition, today we will look into the question of whether something has changed in the comparison of the Gutenberg editor with the already established WordPress page builders.
I think by now everyone should know "what the Gutenberg editor is". But in case you don't know the new WordPress editor yet, here is a short review of the most important features:
- The Gutenberg editor replaces the TinyMCE editor.
- The new editor relies on individual blocks, instead of the single large text box of the old editor.
- A block can contain text, an image, a button, a quote or much more.
- This makes it easier to create multi-column layouts.
- You have drag and drop features to arrange the blocks.
- It is designed for compatibility with existing WordPress functions.
You can try out the Gutenberg editor directly in the official live demo at WordPress.org .
If you want to learn more, you should read the article WordPress 5 and the Gutenberg editor. Then you will know what to look out for in the new editor.
Without a doubt, the new editor brings flexibility to the creation of content. You can use it to create individual post and page content even without programming knowledge.
The editor is just the beginning
The editor is just the beginning of three planned phases. Gutenberg is more than an editor. It is also the foundation that will revolutionise the customisation and creation of websites in WordPress.
Gutenberg has three planned stages. The first, which is geared towards integration into WordPress 5.0. These basic elements pave the way for further stages two and three, planned for next year, to move beyond the post into page templates and finally full customisation of the website.- Source: en.wordpress.org/plugins/gutenberg
On this topic, WPCrafter's interview with Matt Mullenweg (the founder of Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com) is highly recommended. In the interview, the two talk about Gutenberg and the future of WordPress, among other things.
The developers have big goals for the project Gutenberg. But just as they write, this is only the beginning. Gutenberg is still in its infancy. That's why we should clarify a few things.
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Gutenberg compared to page builders – what is still missing
It is a backend editor and not a live editor
In the Gutenberg editor, you cannot see the complete design of the website when editing. You have to use the preview, which can make the adjustment a little trickier in some places.
Gutenberg is an advanced content editor, but not (yet) a page builder
Phase 1 of Gutenberg focuses on the editor and thus on the creation of content for posts and pages. At least in its current form, you cannot customize the complete design of your site with Gutenberg, as you can with page builders.
The following illustration should make this big difference a little clearer. With the Gutenberg editor, you edit the white area of the blog post or the site, i.e. the content. The orange part, i.e. the layout, can be completely adapted with page builders such as Elementor. (The blue part is only the interface, which we will ignore here).
The basic design for Gutenberg is based on the Theme
If you don't use a page builder, the basic design of your website is based on the theme as usual. So the orange part on the picture above is determined by the theme.
Even with the use of the new blocks, the style possibilities with the Gutenberg editor are still quite simple. Basically, the Gutenberg editor in its current form is an advanced content editor.
Gutenberg is not (yet) accepted by the community
If you look at the current reviews of the Gutenberg plugin, the vast majority are not taken with the new editor.
Or many simply don't want to get used to a new workflow that requires some training. Whatever the case, with over 200,000 active installations, only a little more than 1% have rated pluginwith one or two stars.
Personally, I can't quite understand the bad reviews. I updated my website on the day of publication and have had no problems so far with Gutenberg. Well, I didn't have too much content either. With the wrong themeand a lot of content, there may be complications with the update. But I think this is where the pluginand themedevelopers have to step in and ensure compatibility. In my opinion, you can't blame WordPress for providing our beloved CMS with new features.
The further development of Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg will receive features in phases 2 and 3 to also adapt the complete design of your website. However, the developers are talking about development over the next few years. So it will still be a while before you can call Gutenberg a page builder. In the meantime, of course, the page builders will continue to develop.
The strength of Gutenberg lies in the large WordPress community.
Due to the open source mentality of WordPress, in principle every developer can participate in the extension of Gutenberg . Even at this stage, there are already some plugins that provide Gutenberg with further functions and new blocks.
A few of them would plugins like to mention at this point:
- Advanced Gutenberg
- Gutenberg Blocks - Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
- Atomic Blocks - Gutenberg Blocks Collection
- Kadence Blocks - Gutenberg Page Builder Toolkit
- Stackable - Gutenberg Blocks
- Premium Blocks for Gutenberg
- Page Builder Gutenberg Blocks - CoBlocks
If I have forgotten an important plugin, please let me know in the comments below. On this topic, you should watch the video by Income Mesh, which presents 10 essential plug-ins for Gutenberg .
If you use a number of plugins, you should also take a look at the Block Manager, which has found its way into Gutenberg with the recent release of WordPress version 5.2. This allows you to deactivate blocks, as there are inevitably overlaps between the plugins. In addition, the workflow is not disturbed by too much choice.
Page builders such as Elementor or Beaver Builder also allow the use of plug-ins from other developers. But others, such as Thrive Architect, do not offer this possibility. Gutenberg can only benefit from the community.
Compatibility with existing WordPress functions could slow down development somewhat
The WordPress core is designed for high compatibility with the lowest possible access barriers. This is one of the special features of WordPress, but at the same time the high compatibility also restricts free development somewhat. But here, too, the extensions from the WordPress community can shine.
Conclusion: Will Gutenberg soon replace Page Builder?
So in my opinion, you should approach the question differently. Instead of asking where competing points can be found, one should rather consider how Gutenberg and Page Builder can benefit from each other.
A good example is once again Elementor with their Elementor Blocks for Gutenberg plugins. With this pluginyou can insert Elementor templates as a block in Gutenberg . This allows you to use the templates you have created with the Elementor Page Builder in Gutenberg as well.
In my opinion, casual users will benefit greatly from Gutenberg to create engaging content. After all, many websites don't necessarily need the use of a full-fledged page builder. The WordPress page builders will be geared more towards power users. This will also allow developers to look at more extensive functions that are specifically tailored for professional users.
I think even in the long run, page builders will not be replaced by Gutenberg .
If you would like to take a closer look at WordPress page builders, I recommend you read the review of Elementor Pro on my blog. There you will find out what one of the most popular page builders has to offer.
In closing, I'd be interested to hear your take on this. Will Gutenberg replace page builders in the long run? Tell us what you think below in the comments.