Gutenberg vs. WordPress Page Builder: How Did the Editor Develop?

Tariq Baig Last updated 21.10.2020
6 Min.
Gutenberg vs. Pagebuilder
Last updated 21.10.2020

Since the official release of WordPress 5.0 (December 6, 2018), the Gutenberg editor has been part of the WordPress core. This means: Gutenberg has been in use for over a year now. That's why we take a look at what has happened in the meantime in this post.

In addition, we are now looking into the question of whether anything has changed between the Gutenberg editor and 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.

In the official live demo at WordPress .org you can try out the Gutenberg editor directly.

the new Gutenberg editor
On de.WordPress.org/gutenberg you can test the Gutenberg editor in your browser.

If you want to learn more, you should read the article WordPress 5 and the Gutenberg editor article. After that you will know what to look for in the new editor.

Without a doubt, the new editor brings flexibility to content creation. You can use it to create custom post and page content even without programming knowledge.

But...

The editor is only the beginning of 3 planned phases

The editor is just the beginning
Gutenberg is more than an editor. It's also the foundation that will revolutionize website customization and creation in WordPress ."
- Source: en. wordpress.org /gutenberg

Phases of Gutenberg
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 go beyond the contribution into page templates and finally the full customization of the website.
- Source: en. wordpress.org /plugins/gutenberg

On this topic is the interview by WPCrafter 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 definitely have big goals for the project Gutenberg. But just as they write, this is just the beginning. Gutenberg is still in its infancy. Therefore, we should clarify a few things.

Gutenberg compared to page builders – what is still missing

It is a backend editor and not a live editor

In the Gutenberg editor you can't see the complete design of the website when editing. You have to use the preview, which can make the adjustment in some places a little trickier.

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 part of the blog post or the site , i.e. the content. The orange part, i.e. the layout, you can completely customize with page builders like Elementor . (The blue part is only the interface, we ignore that here).

wordpress page builder layout Elementor
With the Gutenberg-Editor you can edit the white area of the display.

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 image 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 Plugins the vast majority are not impressed with the new editor.

Or many just don't want to get comfortable with a new workflow that requires some training.

Either way, with over 200,000 active installations, only a little over 1% have rated Plugin with one or two stars.

Gutenberg Rating WordPress.org
The valuation of the Gutenberg plugins (as of May 2019)

I personally can't quite understand the bad reviews. I updated my site on release day and haven't had any issues with Gutenberg. Good, I didn't have too much content either.

Ok, with the wrong Theme and a lot of content, there may be some complications with the update. But I think this is where the Plugin- and Theme-developers have to step in and ensure compatibility. In my opinion you can't blame WordPress for providing our beloved CMS with new features.

How does the further development of Gutenberg look like?

Project Gutenberg will get features in phase 2 and 3 to also customize the complete design of your website. But the developers talk about the development of the next years. So it will take a while until you can call Gutenberg a page builder. But in the time the page builder will of course develop further.

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 point in time, there are already some Plugins, which provide Gutenberg with further functions and new blocks.

A few of them would plugins like to mention at this point:

If I've 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 Plugins for Gutenberg .

If you have a number of plugins you should also take a look at the block manager that has been introduced to Gutenberg with the recently released WordPress version 5.2. This allows you to disable blocks, as there will inevitably be overlaps between the plugins there. Furthermore, the workflow is not disturbed by too much selection.

Gutenberg Block Manager Screenshot
The Gutenberg Block Manager

Page builders like Elementor or Beaver Builder also allow the use of Plugins from other developers. But others, such as Thrive Architect, do not offer this possibility. Gutenberg can actually only benefit from the community.

The compatibility with existing WordPress functions could slow down the development a bit.

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 the free development somewhat. But here again the extensions from the WordPress community can shine.

Our Conclusion: Will Gutenberg replace WordPress' 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 here is once again Elementor with their Elementor Blocks for Gutenberg Plugins. With this Plugin you can insert Elementor templates as a block in Gutenberg . This way you can use the templates you created with the Elementor page builder in Gutenberg as well.

Or you can go like Brizy with Brizy.Cloud you can go a different way. In the cloud, landing pages can be created as HTMLsites without needing WordPress .

In my opinion, casual users will benefit greatly from Gutenberg to create engaging content. This is because many websites don't necessarily need the use of a full page builder.
The WordPress page builders will be geared more towards power users. This will also allow developers to look at more comprehensive features 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 now, I recommend you read the review on my blog for Elementor Pro blog. There you will learn 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.

Over the course of time, he has come across too many websites and online shops where the foundation was not optimal. The time has come to remedy this. The mission is to help local businesses in particular to finally become successful on the Internet. From building the website and the important settings, it is about laying the right foundation for online success.

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