Benefits and Drawbacks of Gutenberg Block Editor

Upon the arrival of Gutenberg WordPress Editor back in December 2018, we were uncertain about the changes it would bring to the editing environment. Though we did get our fair share of time to explore the beta version, it was still tricky to foretell how the users, developers, or agencies would adopt and adapt to this new editor.

We have witnessed the incredible progress of the Gutenberg editor since. It has progressed from a minimum viable product (MVP) to an advanced stage by expanding its editing capabilities to the extent that allows Full Site Editing for WordPress.

We have revalued the Gutenberg editor in order to keep you up to date on its new features and where it is headed in the future.

Want to explore more about the Gutenberg Block Editor?

Gutenberg, launched on December 6, 2018 – is a revolutionary page builder incorporated in WordPress 5.0 and is commonly referred to as the “WordPress block editor” or simply the “WordPress editor.”

In case you have never heard of it, know that Gutenberg is rolled as the default block editor for WordPress sites unless someone explicitly switches it to a different one.

Unlike the Classic editor or TinyMCE editor, Gutenberg WordPress editor has an engaging framework that uses blocks as tools to add unique design elements to your content.

Gutenberg covers every element of your site in blocks, allowing enhanced flexibility to play around with different designs and layouts for your content. From paragraphs, images, videos, headings to buttons, everything in Gutenberg is a separate block.

Custom blocks can be created by third-party developers, which is gradually putting an end to the use of shortcodes in WordPress.

Previously, you had to use a shortcode in the format (e.g. ‘[your-form-shortcode]’) to add a contact form to your site, but Gutenberg allows you to simply drop in the appropriate form plugin block and you’re done.

Moreover, the block-based approach lets you add advanced and attractive layout elements to your sites, such as grouping multiple blocks for a unified section or a gallery block to showcase beautiful images.

As we explore more about how the block editor is used, you will gain a better understanding of how you can use it to not only improve content creation but also enrich the visual elements.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Gutenberg Block Editor
Illustration by Johanna Jonasson via Dribbble

Gutenberg Is More Than Just a Content Editor

It’s worth mentioning that Gutenberg is progressing towards being more than just a content editor.

Essentially, it was just a content editor in July 2021, but Gutenberg intends to expand its editing capabilities for Full Site Editing.

Full Site Editing provides a collection of features that allows you to edit all aspects of your site using Gutenberg blocks. For instance, with the Gutenberg block editor, you don’t have to stick to the default header options provided by WordPress; instead, you can customize headers to your liking.

Though this functionality is yet to be implemented, the work is in progress and you will be presented with some proof of concept as you continue reading.

Gutenberg vs Common Choices – Know the Pros and Cons

Since the WordPress block editor has been around for more than two years now, we have developed a decent understanding of the pros and cons of Gutenberg and other common choices.

Using WordPress for content creation primarily offers two options:

  • WordPress TinyMCE editor: The most loved classic editor that was in use prior to WordPress 5.0.
  • Page builder plugins: These third-party plugins allow you to structure and customize the visual content in WordPress through drag-and-drop elements and create unique website layouts.

Overall, page builders provide greater design flexibility for visual elements, whereas TinyMCE offers a more limited editing experience.

Considering the design flexibility for each editor, the order would be as follows:

  1. TinyMCE – The Classic Editor (least flexible)
  2. Gutenberg Block Editor
  3. Web Page Builders (most flexible)

Let’s dive into the benefits and drawbacks of Gutenberg editor and other prevalent solutions.

 icon-angle-right Gutenberg Editor vs Classic TinyMCE Editor: Benefits and Drawbacks

Let’s look at the differences between Gutenberg and the classic TinyMCE first.

Benefits:

  • Gutenberg provides a solid foundation for visual design elements.
  • You will have a full-fledged block system to embed content on your site without relying on WordPress shortcodes.

Drawbacks:

  • In Gutenberg block editor, each paragraph goes into a separate block of its own which is often not preferred by people as it might feel a little clumsy. In fact, working with long posts in Gutenberg can be difficult, which is why you might want to write in another editor first and then copy and paste the text into Gutenberg.
  • Despite significant growth and performance enhancements, Gutenberg lags when working with large posts, in contrast to the classic editor.

If you find it difficult working with the Gutenberg editor, then you have the option to disable it entirely and work with the classic TinyMCE editor.

 icon-angle-right Gutenberg Editor vs Page Builders: Benefits and Drawbacks

Let’s see how Gutenberg compares to the third-party builder plugins.

Benefits:

  • You won’t face any compatibility issues with Gutenberg editor because it is rolled as a core feature of WordPress. As Gutenberg is a core feature, developers can easily incorporate it into their plugins for enhanced functionality and improved compatibility.
  • Gutenberg is fast and generates clean code.
  • All things considered, a design made using Gutenberg will load faster than the one built using a page builder.

Drawbacks:

  • Visual editing in Gutenberg is not as good as in a page builder. More easily accessible than the classic editor but still not as smooth as a page builder.
  • Page builders still offer more design flexibility and styling options than Gutenberg.
  • Page builders are more optimized for drag-and-drop functionality.

Reflecting on the Comparison

In regards to flexibility, Gutenberg has a greater preference among the vast majority of users. WordPress development companies offer Gutenberg as a site builder option along with other popular builders such as Elementor, WP bakery, Divi, etc.

Despite being very flexible in terms of design and layout options, people often don’t choose it for their content, particularly blog posts. However, there are times when a quick button insertion or a multi-column design layout is useful, but this cannot be easily achieved using the classic editor.

Bearing everything in mind, you can get started with Gutenberg right away.

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