It’s just a matter of time when Gutenberg will hit WordPress Core. As days go by, we’re getting closer and closer to an eventual merge. So to get ahead of the game, my team and I took almost month studying Gutenberg, and ended up releasing a plugin called Stackable – Ultimate Gutenberg Blocks.
Throughout our experience, what we found is that Gutenberg is quite awesome!
On November last year, I wrote an article about a Page Builder Creator’s Opinion of Gutenberg, and posited that as a page builder creator, I should innovate hard in order to survive.
When I wrote that article, we kept hearing that Gutenberg was the “future” of WordPress… but it was a bit uncertain on what Gutenberg really was and what it was going to be when it’s finished. Upon realizing that it was a page builder, I was doubtful that it would be a good fit in the WordPress Core.
Now, four months after my post, Gutenberg has grown up a lot, and it has evolved into a page builder that is being developed at a very rapid pace.
Since then, I’ve changed my stance on Gutenberg – I’m no longer hesitant about the thought of it, I’m now embracing it!
What’s Changed in Gutenberg?
Gutenberg is waaay different now than what if was before.
Back on early November (v1.7.0), it was barely usable. It only had a few blocks, and you couldn’t create anything aside from a very basic blog article. It was more like a proof-of-concept than an actual soon-to-be WordPress feature.
After 4 months, and 7 version releases later, Gutenberg (v2.2.0) now has over 2 dozen blocks, plus blocks for embedding third-party content like Tweets or YouTube videos, a more fleshed-out user interface and a developer API that people can use to create their own blocks.
It’s now pretty much useable and you can create an actual front page with it. Granted, it might not be a flashy one and doesn’t probably contain all the bells and whistles that other page builders have, but as a newly installed Apache server would say, “It works!”
People Are Starting to Favor Gutenberg (Based on The Ratings)
Last year, the community had mixed reviews about Gutenberg and there was a clear split between people who liked it and people who didn’t.
This split is still quite visible if you visit Gutenberg in the WordPress Plugin Directory. It’s currently rated as 2.7 stars out of 5 stars:
However, I don’t think this is a good representation of how people feel about Gutenberg as months go by. A large chunk of those 1-star ratings are old ratings, but are still influencing the current average rating.
A better representation would be to plot all the reviews as they come in, and draw a trendline across all the ratings. This would give us an idea on how the average rating is changing over time.
Here, I got the latest 200 reviews – around 4 months’ worth of reviews – and charted them on a spreadsheet based on the number of stars each review had. Here’s the chart I came up with:
The chart shows ratings from November 2017 (on the left side) until February 2018 (on the right side). The thick line in the middle is called the trendline – it’s a moving average of the ratings. And…
You can clearly see that it’s moving upward! 📈
Back in November, Gutenberg got reviews that averaged around 2.5 stars. It’s slowly climbing, and nowadays, it’s receiving an average of 3.3 stars. This means that people are now more favorable of Gutenberg than before.
The Previous Issues I Had
I’ve noted 2 usability issues in Gutenberg from my previous article:
- The page keeps jumping around when doing some highlighting + shift key combinations, and
- Undo and redo only works for the current block you’re in.
I’m happy to say that both of these have already been addressed (however, I sometimes have to hit the undo key twice when undoing across multiple blocks.. but I’m sure that will also be addressed soon.)
Very Active Development
The Gutenberg Github repo has been very active, with over 5,200 commits so far. The contributors are really working hard, and given the rising average rating of Gutenberg, it’s good to see that people are starting to appreciate their efforts.
I think that it has come to the point that the core Gutenberg code and APIs are more or less stable and developers should seize this opportunity to start developing for Gutenberg.
Developers Are Starting to Create Gutenberg Plugins
I noticed a few weeks ago that there is now a Gutenberg Handbook. It’s a very good developer resource, and I think this is a call-to-arms for developers to start creating plugins, and some developers (including us) have heard the call.
If you check out the list of new plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, there are quite a few new plugins that are made specifically for Gutenberg.
Try searching for “Gutenberg Blocks” in the plugin directory for yourself. At the time of this writing, there are 4 pages of results, I’d bet this won’t be the case in a few weeks.
A New Upcoming Competitive Plugin Category
I believe that Gutenberg will be a 🔥 hot plugin category to be in the future.
There’s one thing to note though, it’s very early.
If you check out the plugins for Gutenberg in the plugin directory, you’ll notice that most, if not all of them, have only a handful of active installs.
Does that mean that creating a plugin for Gutenberg is the wrong move? No.
Why? This is because Gutenberg is very very new. It hasn’t merged into core, and the regular WordPress users don’t know about it yet. The vast majority of WordPress users don’t lurk around on the Advanced WordPress Facebook Group, watch interviews, go to WordCamps or read WP Tavern; so they don’t know what “Gutenberg” is.
Right now we are still in the Innovators area in the Innovation Adoption bell curve:
The plugins that appear in this very early stage will have a high chance to set the stage for the future.
So if you are developer and want to create something awesome and possibly huge, try developing for Gutenberg!
Are You Considering Developing a Gutenberg Plugin?
Given the inevitability of Gutenberg merging into code, I think it might be a good idea for developers to start creating plugins and themes now. If you’re interested, here are a few developer resources for you to get started:
- The Gutenberg Handbook – more specifically the Blocks API
- Ahmad Awais’s Gutenberg Block Toolkit: Create-Guten-Block – we’ve used this extensively to create our Gutenberg plugin Stackable
- Gutenberg Github Repo – Learn from the code directly! The code within
blocks/libraryis a treasure trove.
- “How to Create a Gutenberg Block Plugin” – I wish we had seen this when we started creating Stackable.
- Study how other developers have created their Gutenberg plugin – I got to learn some key workings by doing this.
Have you starting embracing Gutenberg? Let me know in the comments below.