Thoughts on Gutenberg | Digging Into WordPress

There has been lots of discussion about the new WordPress “Gutenberg” project. Some people love it, some hate it, and most WP users probably have no idea about it. And that’s too bad, because it means many changes will be required for thousands of WordPress plugins and themes. We’re talking about MANY collective work hours to make it happen, even in a best-case rollout scenario.

The debate

Anyone who is in any of the Facebook WordPress groups knows about the debate over Gutenberg. Also on Twitter and other social media channels. For those who may be unfamiliar with the drama, you can get a good idea by browsing through the Plugin Reviews for Gutenberg. Currently, it looks like Gutenberg fans are outnumbered by about 2 to 1:

Gutenberg Ratings at WordPress.orgShould this plugin be added to the WP core? Do plugin ratings mean anything?

My take

So this post is to ask what your thoughts are, and to share my own opinion, which can be summed up quite succinctly:

Leave Gutenberg as a plugin.

Why? Because there is no real need to add Gutenberg to core. But there are many good reasons for NOT adding to core and leaving Gutenberg as a plugin:

  • There are better content-building plugins available
  • Lets users decide if a visual content builder is necessary
  • Lets users decide which content builder is best for their needs
  • Doesn’t break thousands of WordPress sites, plugins, and themes
  • Doesn’t push countless hours of needless work onto developers & users
  • Enables Gutenberg fans to use the functionality without forcing it on everyone else (win-win)
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Basically, Gutenberg should take advantage of WP’s great extensibility and let users decide for themselves. That’s exactly what plugins are for; in fact, thanks to the extensibility of WordPress, users already enjoy a wide variety of incredible content-building plugins. Leaving Gutenberg as a plugin means that everyone wins 🙂

My advice

IF they absolutely are dead set on forcing Gutenberg into core no matter what the cost, then I recommend the following four golden rules:

  1. Make Gutenberg optional
  2. Don’t remove metaboxes
  3. Don’t remove custom fields
  4. Don’t remove the plain-text editor

Basically, replace the RTE if you think it needs it; but don’t mess with existing functionality. Waaay too much is built on it. Don’t force more needless work on millions of WordPress developers and users. No feature is worth such massive potential disruption for so many people. Talking high stakes here, folks.

Your thoughts?

What do YOU think about Gutenberg? Do you think it should be added into the WP core, or left as a plugin? Or abandoned altogether in favor of something better? Share your thoughts (but be nice!) in the comments below.

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