WordPress 6: Is Gutenberg ready?

Competing with popular site builders like Wix and Squarespace, WordPress’ site editor Gutenberg has come a long way since its major release in 2018. Now, a full major release later, what has changed about Gutenberg? And can it stand alone without a bloated plugins page?

WordPress 6 from WordPress 5

Before Gutenberg, it was common practice for WordPress websites to use a page builder plugin. Even as more themes support Gutenberg, many websites still use block library plugins today to improve the Gutenberg experience.

Gutenberg’s initial release was not received well by the WordPress community. There were many pain points with its limited options, general usability, and poor performance. For example, you could not place multiple Button blocks in the same row until a few minor updates after release.

Things are not all negative for Gutenberg though. In these 4 years, WordPress 6 has made drastic improvements over WordPress 5, and has continuously made updates to address these “missing” features and issues.

What Gutenberg was missing

A number of useful features have been added to Gutenberg since its launch. Notably, these features enhance the reusability of work that you’ve already done. These types of features that are available in other site builders have been slowly added to Gutenberg.

Reusable Blocks

Any block can be added as a Reusable Block. Changing the block in one place will change all instances of it until it is reverted to a normal block. This is useful for static content such as social media, contact information etc.

Block Patterns

Block Patterns are predefined block layouts. It creates a copy of what you have defined as a Block Pattern. Block Patterns are different from Reusable Blocks, because the content within them can be changed independently. Once a Block Pattern is saved on a page, any change made to that Block Pattern will not reflect in the library. Currently, there is no way to add your own Block Pattern without a third-party plugin, or entering it through the code.

Full Site Editing

The Full Site Editor is the WordPress backend for editing templates and template parts. Conceptually, templates in the Gutenberg era are the same as WordPress has traditionally used templates , such as pages, posts, and post archives. Template parts refer to static elements such as the header and footer. These can now all be edited in Gutenberg. This feature is relatively new, so themes will have to support this feature for it to be enabled.

More Quality of Life

WordPress is aware of the WordPress community’s criticism of Gutenberg’s ease of use. As of WordPress 6, these quality of life features have also been added:

  • Supported blocks retain style changes when you transform the block type, such as transforming a Paragraph block to a Code block
  • Customized buttons and new buttons retain their style customizations automatically.
  • Blocks can now be locked so they can’t be accidentally deleted or moved.

Gutenberg editor block locking feature

Is Gutenberg worth using by itself?

The WordPress community would want Gutenberg to be feature-rich enough to use without additional plugins. The trend with each update indicates that Gutenberg is headed in that direction. Even page builder plugins might not be necessary because many popular themes now use Gutenberg as its builder.

If your website is relatively simple, and you’re happy with your theme, Gutenberg is an option worth considering.

If your website has specific features and needs to implement a custom design, then you will need the help of additional development and plugins.

How can Fuse help?

WordPress is the most popular Content Management System. It is highly customizable compared to other site builders, and its large plugin library can greatly reduce development time. It is developer-friendly, meaning that any new feature can be fully customized from the ground up to suit your organization’s needs.

Fuse creates custom themes for WordPress websites to create your vision for your organization’s online presence.

We’d love to hear from you!

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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Donny Chen — Developer
Taiwan-born and Surrey-raised, Donny only hangs up his mouse and keyboard for pots and pans. He makes a mean spaghetti, but never spaghetti code.