…the final curtain for ‘Classic Mode’?
When I began my WordPress blog all those moons ago, this was pretty much the ‘Editor’ I was presented with:
Or rather, that’s how the ‘Classic Mode’ editor appears today, while it’s still available.
(You can still get to this interface by going to: https://%5Byourblog%5D.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php )
Then around the end of 2013 WordPress introduced their “improved editor”, and gradually introduced various hoops to persuade me to use it over the Classic one:
These two interfaces “complemented” the two different Dashboard interfaces, the Classic one (which is still accessible via https://%5Byourblog%5D.wordpress.com/wp-admin/index.php) and the newer, more, lets say “wishy-washy” one, and originally if you were in the Classic Dashboard and clicked the button at the top to “Write”, or add a new post, you would land in the Classic Editor; but that changed some months later to instead land you in the new Editor. It was all quite disorientating if you were stubborn like me and preferred the Classic way of doing things.
Anywho, I navigated to my Dashboard today (something I haven’t done for a while) and I was presented with a notification about “A new, modern publishing experience…” coming soon.
My brain immediately translated that to “They’re meddling with things again/They have nothing better to do…”, “They’re obviously not happy with the current Editor they inflicted on me…” and “They’re going to make the Classic Mode even harder to get to…” So I clicked on a few links and did a bit of searching to find evidence to back up my fears.
All-in-all, the Gutenberg sales pitch shows that this Gutenberg editor has nothing in it that either the Classic mode or other one don’t provide to me already (these days I still prefer the Classic one, but sometimes land on the other one when I want to post something quick and find it does the same thing; I just find the drop-down menus on the right wishy-washy in appearance and (thus) not as pleasant to navigate, but they both get the job done.)
Gutenberg claims to work better for tablet users (as I think the current editor was designed for), but as for the output to your final post, I think it depends on the type of content you are publishing. My posts are generally text with some images dotted throughout and sometimes the inclusion of a Youtube video. Both the current Editors handle these things fine for me; originally embedding Youtube videos was a hassle that involved delving into the world of embed codes, but now I just post the URL and the Editor does the rest; it recognises the URL as a Youtube video and shows it as that.
What Gutenberg is offering, that is I suppose new to all of this, is the ability to use what it terms as “Blocks”. Blocks for…
Why half of these things need to be in “blocks” I don’t know because currently I can move the things around that I have in my posts already just fine, from text/headings to images and videos. What does look new to me is the addition of Columns, even Gallery seems new to me but I see that’s in the Classic mode’s Add Media interface. For adding audio I have (although not for a while) used Soundcloud which embeds nicely in WordPress).
I believe that for a more pleasant blog-reader’s experience a consistent theme should persist throughout a blog. The ability to meddle too much with individual post layouts must surely lead to inconsistency and a disjointed experience; keep things simple, not only will your readers be thankful for it, but it’ll keep your blog simple, not only in appearance but behind the scenes also, therefore should you come to change your blog’s overall theme, or if WordPress change something (like implement a new Editor) your existing posts will have a greater chance of being unaffected.
The worst part of all though with Gutenberg is the threat (as I feared) that not only will this Gutenberg interface become the default Editor, but Classic Mode (by which I assume the original interface I used, but perhaps they mean their current default Editor that will become Classic…) will be relegated to an optional Plugin; but for that I think they mean for WordPress sites, not those of us that manage our blogs through WordPress.com.
Actually, there are concerns that there is a worst part of this worst part, and that is that the new interface will be the end for WordPress. I think that’s blatant scaremongering though.
I don’t think it’s not all doom and gloom; this is just from my perspective as a “long-term” blogger (I think it’s fair to say I am one now). Platforms like WordPress like to shake things up from time-to-time, they need to. The team behind it will change, they’ll take on board new ideas and technologies and ways of doing things. This helps present an air of non-stagnation and also gear things towards new users. These new users will come to the platform fresh to learn the ropes without having to forget and discard old ones; an interface for them should be intuitive.
For now I will continue writing to my blog in the ways that I have been, and then should things be inflicted upon me by way of the Gutenberg editor, then I will just have to grin and bear it.
One thing I always did miss from the true Classic Editor was the other blog suggestions based on the tags I used. This was a great way of finding like-minded bloggers and to add other viewpoints to my understanding of a topic I had just written about.
Click here to read my post from 2015 about the changes back then: