Are you a WordPress user who is curious about the new WordPress editor, Gutenberg, but isn’t ready to make the switch? Well, I was in the same position. In this 3-min read, I’ll share with you what I think about the TinyMCE replacement.
cluttered;dr – As suggested by its 2.5-star rating, it’s pretty bad. Don’t switch to Gutenberg yet or maybe ever.
Read more below to find out why I think Gutenberg sucks. Oh, and by the way, this post is written using Gutenberg.
What I like about Gutenberg
I love its layout that is less cluttered. There is less visual noise which means less distraction. Frankly speaking, that’s the only positive things I can say about this editor.
What I dislike about Gutenberg
Gutenberg is trying to solve new problems by ignoring the actual needs of existing WordPress users. Honestly, I have grown to hate this editor in my brief 30-minute interaction with it while writing this post.
Here’s what I hate about it.
- It is more than an editor. Gutenberg is officially described as “more than an editor”. And that is exactly the vibe I’m getting from this early-stage editor, it is trying to become a page builder like Visual Composer or Elementor. But guess what, while I love a good page builder, I don’t need to customize every post’s layout. The extra page-building functions are distracting and honestly not very convenient when you write a post. In Gutenberg, everything is grouped in blocks. For example, this text paragraph of text you’re reading is a Paragraph block, the paragraph immediately before this paragraph is another Paragraph block. This block approach is introducing unnecessary hindrance when you
- It takes more steps to insert an image. In TinyMCE, inserting an image is a 3-step process, it involves 1. clicking on the insert image button, 2. select the image (or images) that you want, then 3. click insert. Guess how many steps you need perform for the same simple task? 6 steps! That’s right, your productivity just for this specific task has just dropped by 50% (or more!). The new steps are 1. move your cursor to the right of the nearest block, click on More Options, 2. click on Insert Before/Insert After to insert a block, 3. click Add Image, 4. click Media Library, 5. select image, 6. click insert.
- You can only insert one image at a time. One of the reasons why WordPress is so popular is because of its versatility. If I wanted to insert one image at a time, I could, if I want to insert multiple images in one go, I could too. Not with this new the G editor. Referring to my previous point, inserting multiple images in TinyMCE involve the same three steps. But in Gutenberg, it’s 6 times the number of images. So if you’re inserting 3 images, that’s 6 * 3 = 18 steps.
- For that matter, it takes more steps to do everything. It’s all very click-centric. If you’re a power keyboard user, you’re going to dislike this editor. Creating a heading, which is a really easy painless task in TinyMCE, involve creating blocks and setting block types. There are just too many abstractions.
- You can’t partially highlight two paragraphs. That’s right. You can partially highlight a single paragraph, but if you want to highlight two paragraphs you will have to highlight them in full.
- There’s no word counter. You’d think that it’s common sense to put a word counter in an editor, but apparently, it isn’t — not for a “more-than-an-editor” anyway.
- It isn’t fully compatible with Grammarly. Not the editor’s fault though.
While I really appreciate the developers’ effort at trying to improve, I’m sorry to say that what they are doing is not working. What looks like a clutter-free, clean layout turns out to be very much in your face when you work with it. It is very inefficient. What’s wrong with TinyMCE’s approach anyway? The conservative and versatile editor is probably one of the reasons why WordPress enjoyed its sustained growth. If WordPress is adamant about Gutenberg’s current direction, its eventual replacement of the much loved TinyMCE could be the CMS giant’s Achilles heel.
Do you know that you can try the new WordPress editor for yourself
without any risk? Actually, it leaves a bunch of hidden tags in the code. Tags such as <p><!– wp:paragraph –></p> that are not visually visible to users but can be seen when you view the post’s code. You can still try it, but you might not want to publish anything with it. As of now, it exists as a WordPress plugin that you can install and uninstall, activate and deactivate just like any other plugins. Which means that you can go back to the good cluttered’ TinyMCE anytime you like.