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Thoughts on the WordPress Block Editor 3 Months In

Thoughts on the WordPress block editor 3 months in

In May of this year, WordPress announced that it was getting rid of the WordPress.com editor. I was not impressed, because I liked that editor. I’ve been using the block editor for about 3 months now, and I have pretty much the same mixed feelings about it now as when I first started using it.

What I like

I’m a big fan of the reusable blocks. I particularly like that you only have to change a reusable block once, and that change will be applied to every instance where that block is used. That has the potential for some big time savings given that I like to fart around with that kind of thing fairly regularly.

I also really like the media + text block for pairing images with text. The downside, though, is that it doesn’t display properly in the WordPress Reader. I had stopped doing excerpt only views for my blog in the Reader, but then when I realized my media + text blocks were showing up rather ugly, I switched back to excerpts only.

To use my Yoast SEO plugin, I used to have to open up each post in /wp-admin/, which was annoying. Now I can make my SEO adjustments within the block editor.

The ability to move blocks up and down is kind of nice, although you could accomplish the same thing by cutting and pasting.

Since I’ve got the business plan, I’ve got access to the full range of co-blocks, and those have made it possible to do more with formatting. I don’t use them on regular blog posts, but on my site’s pages I’ve got some more involved formatting going on. Overall, I’ve noticed that the block editor seems to make harder things easier, but it also makes easier things harder.

What I don’t like

Simple things seem needlessly difficult. If I want to use an H3 header with purple font colour, it’s a whole big production.

The various embed blocks are sort of convenient. And by sort of, I mean they are except when they’re not. Paste in an Amazon link? The editor automatically tries to turn it into a Kindle block, which doesn’t work very well if it’s not a Kindle book that you’re linking to. Also, if you try to paste a link to some generic website, the editor automatically tries (and fails) to do a fancy embed.

There are stupid little minor glitches that really shouldn’t be happening. Like if I highlight a section of text and then add a link to it, why does that link sometimes get applied to just a portion of the text I’ve highlighted?

Initially I was annoyed at having to put in effort to create whitespace, but I’ve gotten sufficiently used to it that it no longer bugs me.

Where WordPress has really dropped the ball

Bugs happen. And I’m sure that sometimes they’re hard to hunt down. But that hunting down has to happen. Just saying ah, fuck it shouldn’t be good enough.

So what the serious fuck is with the invalid JSON response error that prevents saving? The block editor is not new. From what shows up in a Google search, people have been complaining about this since early 2019. I reported it to the “happiness engineers” who did sweet fuck-all about it. How is this shit not fixed already?

When I upgraded my WP plan last year, I was talking to the Happiness Engineers a fair bit to get help with setting things up. Then I went for a stretch of time not contacting them much. When I switched to the block editor, there was another flurry of communication. It’s hard to know when exactly the change occurred, but the Happiness Engineers were helpful last year and really quite useless in the past few months. Maybe the ones that knew what they were doing got knocked out by COVID?

Overall

There’s lots to annoy me, but as with WordPress in general, the pros outweigh the cons. If the WordPress.com editor was magically available again, I wouldn’t go back to it. Why? The convenience of reusable blocks outweighs the pain in the ass factor.

How do you feel about the block editor?

PS: A couple of days there was a post on the WordPress blog about getting rid of the editor they initially said they were getting rid of 3 months ago. The post was confusing as hell because it said they were getting rid of the classic editor, but they were actually calling the WordPress.com editor the classic editor. I left a comment that they should get their act together with the confusing names, and since then they actually updated the post to make it clearer(ish). Oh, WordPress…

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34 thoughts on “Thoughts on the WordPress Block Editor 3 Months In”

  1. If you have a simple blog, as I do, almost completely text with the occasional photo BUT lots of links, then the block editor is total shite. I’m still using the classic editor and will do so until it is no longer available – then, I shall have to reassess the WP platform altogether.

    1. The WordPress blog did a post a couple of days ago about getting rid of the classic editor. I left a comment saying what the hell, and it turns out they’re just as confused about names as anyone else. What they’re doing now is actually getting rid of the newerish editor they said they were getting rid of a few months ago, but the old classic editor is staying put. It’s just so ridiculous.

  2. I have only used the new editor and when I asked about a problem adding images to a paragraph they told me to use another browser because it was a glitch they are working on with Firefox. Sorry, I like firefox.

    1. WordPress did a post on their blog this week that they’ve just recently started kicking people off the old editor, but they won’t do everyone at once.

      1. I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that the new editor messes up any of your older posts that don’t conform to the way it works. I would want to cry if it ruined all the effort I have put into other posts.

        1. Older posts will display the same as before, and then if you open them to make changes, you can switch them to blocks, or you can use the “classic block” editor which pretty much leaves things as they were.

  3. Since I use so much of my site regularly beyond just the blog, it was a pain in the ass to convert everything after I realized the old stuff wouldn’t live harmoniously side-by-side with the new stuff. I now have the hang of the text/media block, but I still liked the old way better because you could easily wrap text around the top, side and bottom of a photo. I also find that I have less control over spacing between blocks than I did in the past. I have yet to find anything that makes me say, “This is just amazing!” It’s clear they did this because people have moved from desktops/laptops to phones and tablets for their Internet consumption, but as a guy who still does 80% of his consumption on a desktop, it’s not super-friendly. I guess whatever is the best experience for the typical end user, right?

  4. What I really hate are the floating plus signs. They distract me from being able to just think and write. Major hindrance. I’m glad I figured out how to write through my WP Admin link!! I’ve been doing that for the past several days now, since what I used to use disappeared!

  5. 🙂 WordPress’s Classic Editor (TinyMCE) is what WordPress has intentions of getting rid of

    The Block Editor (also known as the Gutenberg Editor) has the Classic Block functionality; it mimics the Classic Editor.

    I started using the Block Editor when it was in beta and I have to admit that it came a very long way.

    I have learned to become proficient with the Block Editor.

    I knew that one day, the Classic Editor would be no more.

  6. This all just confuses the hell out of me. I’m not even sure what editor I use. I do know that sometimes my published posts move into drafts for no reason. When I republish them they lose any comments that were previously made. It drives me bonkers

  7. I have the basic WordPress as I self-host with a 3rd party provider, so I’m not sure of other differences. However, it took a little getting used to but I started to prefer the blocks. I don’t use any reusable ones, so that’s something I should probably think about doing. I’ve never been able to change the colour of headings easily, I’ve done it via editing CSS in a long-winded process. So yeah, I started to like it for the most part. Not fully, but it grows on you. And THEN two days ago bam, another f*c!>@*! !!!! update! It’s become way less user friendly, more fiddly, more annoying. I don’t it, Ashley. I don’t like it!!

    1. I don’t know why there’s always the need to make things more complicated! I’m glad I figured out the basics of CSS, or I would be spazzing at my laptop (and WordPress) even more than I already do!

  8. I admit I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to changing techy things – especially if it’s something I’ve grown used to and comfortable with. Guess I’m one of those “if it ain’t broke” type of people haha. I really didn’t care for block editor when I tried it, it seemed very confusing and chaotic, especially when I do most of my writing in a word doc and then just copy/paste it over when I’m ready to post. I’ve been holding out with the classic blocks as long as I’m able.

  9. It is truly awful for the kind of blog I write. I hate it with a passion that grows everyday. I want to blog, not spend hours learning how to do a whole new kind formatting/programming whatever it is that nobody outside of WordPress needs to bother with. I don’t get the concept at all. They seem to be leaving those who want to blog behind while pandering to people who want to do whatever blocks is good for, and I have no idea who or what that is! Hate it, hate it hate it! Might have to leave WordPress in the end which is a shame…

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