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?
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…
The New Blogger’s Guide to WordPress page includes tips on topics like blogging etiquette, making the most of your WP experience, and using the block editor.
The Up Your Blogging Game page covers a variety of blogging topics, including using images and implementing SEO strategies.