Farewell, WordPress Editor…

Wordpress logo surrounded by rainbow colours

If you’re not already using WordPress’s block editor, you’ve probably already seem WordPress shouting in your face that they’re forcing you to switch to the block editor.

However, according to this blog post, there are actually a couple of alternatives. The naming is a bit confusing, and it took me a while to get my head wrapped around it. So, what’s going away is the editor, which was the one that came right before the block editor was introduced. You’ll still have the option to use the “classic editor,” which was the one that came before the editor. Confused yet? To add yet another layer, there is the “classic block editor”, which seems to be a hybrid of the classic editor and the block editor. The blog post linked to above includes screenshots so you can see what on earth they’re talking about.

My question would be why not keep the editor and get rid of the classic editor if they’re going to keep an alternate editor available anyway?

I briefly tried the block editor a couple of times before, but it annoyed me, so I switched back. I’ve used the classic block editor a bit, and it annoys me but doesn’t give any additional functionality to compensate for that. So, a few days ago, I decided to dive right in to the block editor. If I’m going to be annoyed anyway, I might as well take advantage of the things it lets me do that weren’t available in my beloved editor.

What are the good things? There are formatting and layout options that give you more flexibility and control. One “block” that I like combines an image and text; it makes aligning the two and adjusting the sizing very easy. You can also do columns and grids and assorted other formatting stuff.

You can also create reusable blocks. Let’s say you participate in a blogging prompt every week, and there’s always the same image and introductory blurb. You can save all of that as reusable block(s), and then easily insert it into a new post without having to go back and copy and paste.

My biggest issue is that very simple things now require more effort. I like using blank lines to break things up. The block editor doesn’t believe in that. So now I have to insert a block with a separator or spacer, whereas before I could just hit return. That’s the most obvious example that pops into my mind, but there are others. The block editor seems to make fancy things easier and simple things harder. Not difficult, necessarily, but more steps.

I’m a bit puzzled by image resizing in the block editor, and if someone can enlighten me, please do. Sometimes, there are little blue handles on the left and right sides of the image that you can easily slide to resize the image. Yet when I go back to a post I’ve already saved, they’re not there, and resizing becomes a pain in the arse. I chatted with a happiness engineer yesterday, and while usually they’re helpful, this particular chat was a waste of time.

Another problem is that the Grammarly Google Chrome extension doesn’t work in the block editor. When I Googled this, I found that Renard had raised this issue with WordPress support last year, but it turns out that it’s an issue on Grammarly’s end, not WordPress’s. According to Grammarly’s site, this is a known problem, and it suggests using the classic editor or going through the /wp-admin/ dashboard. I tried the latter, and it doesn’t seem to work very well. An alternative is the ProWritingAid Chrome extension, which I’ve now got installed. It works (although apparently only on newly created posts), but it’s sub-par compared to Grammarly. If you’re going back to edit a post that’s already written, though, it appears that you’re shit outta luck.

There are also assorted features in the block editor that aren’t immediately obvious. I was having difficulties creating a block between two blocks, and it took me a while to figure out that if you hover your cursor between two blocks and then wait a second or two, a box with a plus sign will show up to let you create a new block.

Do you like to have coloured text sometimes? The block editor makes that more complicated. And I haven’t figured out if it will remember custom colours so I can use them again later. I had some coloured text already on my home page and a couple of other pages, and even though the text is visibly purple, the block editor assures me that it’s black. The happiness engineer told me there was no way to make it remember colours, so I’ll have to figure out how to use CSS (custom style sheets) for formatting.

There are just short of a gazillion different block types, which makes it hard to look for what you want, but at least with this you can choose to hide some of them to keep things decluttered.

Since social sharing is hidden under the Jetpack section rather than the post settings section, I will most likely forget about it a substantial portion of the time.

I am a huge post scheduler. This craptastic scheduling calendar in the block editor doesn’t show what days you already have things scheduled for, so I have to head over to my blogging spreadsheet to check what date something should be published. Why would they take that away from us?

And why on earth does it take just short of forever to open a post in the block editor?

Overall, though, I’m going to stick with the block editor and hope that the annoyance factor will ease off as I continue to use it. The positives are things that will be useful for me, and hopefully at least some of the things I see as negatives right now I’ll figure out strategies to deal with.

I’m not overly thrilled that WordPress decided to announce it two weeks before they’re removing an entire editor. One would hope this wasn’t a fly by the seat of their pants decision, so why not let people know sooner? I’m also curious how many people were still using and still wanting to use the editor.

How are you feeling about this change?

You may also be interested in the post Thoughts on the WordPress Block Editor 3 Months In.

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84 thoughts on “Farewell, WordPress Editor…”

  1. πŸ™‚ Well, Ashleyleia, this was a pleasant surprise and thanks for the mention.

    I have certainly missed using Grammarly together with the WordPress Editor (And, it is a pity that it does not work with the Block Editor).

    However, I have found a way around that; which is to type the draft-copies of my blog posts in Google Docs (Grammarly is compatible with Google Docs).

    When my blog post is completed, I cut it from Google Docs and paste it into the Block Editor.

    Like you, I tried ProWritingAid and I found it to be subpar.

  2. On first trial, I hated the block editor. Now I’ve read your post… I still hate it. Basically, none of the improvements are useful to me the way I use WP, while it makes some things more difficult. Plus, being on the autistic spectrum, forced change for no good reason drives me crazy even if there are benefits, which there aren’t here.

    Also, “happiness engineer”? How do they think these things up? Although if someone could fix my life so it makes me happier, I would be grateful.

  3. Well, for the past few days (including right now), I’m unable to “like” your posts, because the screen says, “Like this: loading…” Ugh! So don’t take it personally!! I hate change, and I think WP is ridiculous to shove all this complexity at us! But for whatever reason, I’m still able to blog with the classic!! Whew!

    1. I’ve noticed the “like this: loading” thing on some other blogs lately, so I don’t know what the deal is with that. The editor is being discontinued on June 1, so depending on what you’re using right now, you may be forced to switch.

  4. I tried it again and it was okay. I don’t do complex posts, but thanks for mentioning β€œsave a block.” I was wondering how to copy a previous post. Not sure where all the angst is coming from ~ most of the bloggers I read also write short simple posts with one pic at the top.

  5. An excellent review post Ashley πŸ™‚

    I would like this, but l can’t apparently.

    I started using the block editor yesterday … do l like it? Not really .. like you l don’t understand, …oh but l do” why we just couldn’t keep the pre-block editor editor? Again l agree, they have made certain things overly complicated that didn’t need to be and now simple posts take longer to create – which takes the piss. I had to dive in for the fact that l am using a lot of MS word tables for indexes, archives and directories and these are proving horrendous nightmares to reconfigure and they ALL have to be torn apart and reformatted especially if they are what l call daily features – as in l use these tables daily and so when you go into the old table you realise it’s a massive clusterplucking nightmare – so it has to be torn apart and redesigned! It took me four hours to recreate this page ….

    It doesn’t even look anything fancy – but because of ‘blocks’ and an almost abusive amount of blocks needed for just small movements, it takes a long time. I can’t not use tables for most of my stuff .

    There are some new features l like, but it seems very laggy, doesn’t not just like things it dislikes but really doesn’t like them, it’s slower, it complicated when it needs to be simple and if anything its bloody antiquated.

    It’s going to take me hours and hours and days and days to get my blog configured to the level l can relax and perhaps …..maybe … who knows … start to enjoy using this so called fancy editor.

    Excellent post though Ashley :).

    1. Thank you!

      I’ve noticed the like issue on a few other blogs, and if you refresh the browser screen the like button reappears.

      Four hours – wow, that’s a lot of time. I think starting posts/pages from scratch will be easier, but trying to reconfigure older posts/pages into block is a big pain in the butt.

      1. II have hit refresh several times and can’t Like it – but KNOW that l do like it and l will furthermore be ‘complimenting’ it at a later time as well. But now l can’t even reply any more – life is so strange at times.

        I agree with Paula’s comment and this is where block editor really comes into its own …if you treat it simplistically and do not place any expectations upon it – it will truly serve one well .. an image and blocks of straight text it’s fine … but l still can’t help but feel that we are jumping through a series of loops and hoops for no reason and l just hope that whatever numpty thought this a great idea is making a lot of money for it.

        I know eventually l will get used to it .. but l am having to start from scratch in many ways because the old way ‘table wise’ simply will not function .. it looks the same from the reader’s perspective .. but inside it’s a mixture of block editor, HTML confusion [which is awkward as l don’t use html] and old editor format.

        I’ll get it – as soon as l can configure the next 30 indexes πŸ™‚

          1. Yes l think so too … despite my current discomfort and gripes, l am happier for taking the plunge now over awaiting June 1st when l may have had a meltdown ha ha – this will teach me to NOT procrastinate on certain things any more πŸ™‚

            1. For sure. And I figured out what the like button issue was. It was something that the image compression plugin that I use was doing.

  6. I have been using WordPress for many years. A lot longer than my current blog, so classic editor was what I originally knew, before we eventually went onto the one we know now, that they are getting rid if for blick editor.
    You have asked the same question as I have been asking myself, as in why not keep this current editor as the back up and get rid of classic.
    But as they not doing that and I have experience using classic in the past, then I will go back to that.
    I can’t use the new editor on my phone for blogging, for same reasons as I have read elsewhere that I know someone else feels about same as me and that is not having enough screen room on my phone to create a post with this app. Phone is how I blog, as this is where my Internet is.
    I also feel it visually to busy for me and confusing. It doesn’t make creating a post quick like before with set up.
    I hope they never get rid of classic editor. If they do, my blog will be gone and I will disappear.

  7. I hate the block editor so much!! I also hate that you can’t hit return and that it automatically creates a new block. It makes it more difficult to use on a phone too.
    I’m dreading when I have to change over… πŸ˜•

    1. Huh? I did that exact thing, hitting return and then it does at least for me create a new paragraph block. If you press return and then /, it will give you other options such as page breaks, etc. I have yet to figure out how to add images to my posts using block editor and also am not sure about how to add links.

      I never used the editor and honestly hate it more than the block editor (when I’ve seen it), so am so happy they’re keeping classic.

      1. Oh interesting, I didn’t know about return and then /.

        I’m glad classic works well for you. It sounds like the most visual impariment-friendly option of the bunch.

  8. The link at the top of your blog to the WP post did not work for us. The link was inert (did nothing) until we right-clicked it and selected “open in a new tab,” and then it worked. Maybe something quirky on our end?

    We do most writing on our phone. We can’t type for shit on our phone. Still, it’s just such a faster experience to use anything on a phone than on a laptop. We have hated the blocks on the WP app since it was invented. It does seem easier on the computer. So we will struggle like hell on the phone and occasionally use the computer (we’re on the computer now).

    We don’t understand anything beyond typing, really. Themes, blocks. Blurg. We will stick to text and hope the wonderful people who read and support us will persist.

    Ashley is awesome!

    1. A few things on my blog have been a bit wonky. A plugin that I’ve been using seems to be interfering with things running as they should.

      I’m a fast typer on a computer keyboard, and I don’t like going from that to clumsy poking at a phone. I’m not a very dextrous thumb typer.

      You’re all awesome too! ❀️

      1. have you ever tried swipe typing on phone? That’s what we do now. It still sucks at predicting non-standard words and short words, but it’s sorta cool sometimes lol

  9. I like the block editor and I have been using it ever since it was introduced.
    Did you know that if you need to create a line space within a block you can press shift+enter?
    I don’t know what’s happening with your image resizing. I’ve not had that problem.
    If you need to use the same colour you can find out the hex code for it and enter that in the custom colour field. I use to choose my colours. Hope that helps a bit. ~Marie~

    1. I didn’t know that about creating a line space. Thank you!

      I’ve made note of some hex codes that I like to use; it just seems strange that I have to paste it in every single time I want to use it.

      1. Yes, this was immensely frustrating to me for the first month or so of blogging (maybe even 2 months) since I was writing poems where creating these line-breaks within paragraphs is absolutely necessary. I cannot understand why they make that so obfuscated! I began with the Block Editor by default since I knew of nothing else in September 2019.

        And yes, I can easily imagine how ‘obscure’ the thing about hovering between blocks to make the ‘+’ appear would seem. I recently tried using the ‘classic editor’ as it solved some frustrations for me, but introduced others and now I’m back to the block editor! But moving back to the block editor initially stumped me for a few moments, leaving me wondering how on Earth I was adding image blocks previously πŸ˜†πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈπŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈπŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ. And this was after using the Block Editor for many months with only 1-2 days’ break!

        The thing about the image ‘handles’β€” this is just one of the occasional bugs that seems to happenβ€” refreshing the page usually fixes it for me. Another infuriating bug is that whenever I type in tags, the editor removes them as soon as I’ve typed them. This only happens for the first time of typing a new tag, or for the first tag I type on a particular post. It means I have to repeatedly type the same tag a few times in a row, sometimes. It’s so annoying!!

        I will never understand how WordPress made that line-break thing so obscure, though. It makes it impossible to write poems on a phone because you can’t create the line-breaks within paragraphs without shift+enter!!! (I did find that if you copy-paste text across a line-break, you can then paste that line-break in where you want πŸ˜†).

        But of course I mostly use computer+keyboard like you. There were just a few occasions where I wanted to write something on a phone in the moment.

        Also, I was conversely amazed at the loading time improvement when going to the Classic Editor! The loading time difference will be because the Block Editor has to create a lot more separate elements on the page and load in more metadata, and load in and run more javascript. I just measured it and the new editor loads 2.5x more data and takes almost 5 seconds to finish loading! Compared to about 3 seconds for classic. That extra 2 seconds really feels like a lot!

        Standard SEO knowledge:

        “According to research by Google, the average mobile site takes over fifteen seconds to load while people expect them to load in less than three seconds before they consider leaving altogether.”

        1. It’s strange that WordPress is so gung-ho on getting people moved over to an editor that’s more data-intensive and so much slower.

  10. It sounds like the old editor will be around until next year. You may have to download something that will only work if you have a paid account.

    I tried it briefly and went back. Trying to do a couple of posts a day on tips and tricks from other WordPress bloggers or vloggers. Hopefully between the bloggers and vloggers I will pick up enough stuff to work around the issue. Like many others, at least half my blogging is done on my phone which sounds like it’s going to be an issue. There’s a Facebook WP group for non-techies where you can ask for help. Also checking out ebooks on Amazon to see what’s available for Gutenberg.

    1. I rarely use my phone for blogging, so I haven’t tried it out since switching to the block editor. From what others have said it certainly doesn’t sound easy.

  11. I’m so glad you did a post on this! I have used this new and improved wordPress editor and had some of these issues! One of the most frustrating things for me was what I created was not what I published! It always looks totally different! Everything’s a different size, a different place… all my edits are different! When you work hard to get your blog the way you want it and then publish it to see it’s nothing like you had it at all it’s disappointing and disheartening!

  12. I do not want to use block editor. Haven’t liked it when I tried it the first time, gave it a chance, still don’t.

    So much do I type in admin: just add this to the end of your site’s url

  13. You can search for a specific block type, but you got to know what you’re looking for. I’m used to the block editor, but I remember I needed an adjustment period after I switched from Classic. One thing I still don’t like is how log it takes to load a post. Yay for Reusable Blocks! I didn’t know about Shift+Enter for linebreaks – that’s handy to know.

  14. Hopefully they will continue making improvements to the blog editor, especially the issue with the calendar for scheduling posts.

  15. I personally prefer the classic editor as the double line spacing on the block editor really annoys me! Guess I’m old school, 90s desktop pc trained πŸ˜…

  16. I completely agree…keep the WordPress editor for the β€˜classic’ one! Writing can be difficult enough with all this new stuff coming at us…for me, less is more and I don’t want the blocks!

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