WordPress Block Editor Explained

*Updated on 7/18/23 to reflect the product name change from Gutenberg to block editor. 

While the WordPress block editor (formerly known as Gutenberg) launched in 2018, it has dramatically evolved and changed in recent years. Having received acceptance and appreciation from users and developers alike, it has been in continuous development since. The block editor has moved from a minimum viable product (MVP) launch to a fully mature product.

In this blog, we will discuss the WordPress block editor and how it has evolved, its potential pros and cons for use, and how it compares to other page editors.

What is the WordPress Block Editor?

The WordPress block editor replaced the older version called TinyMCE post content editor and came as part of the release of WordPress 5.0. It is a new approach to content that is block-based and fixes and expands on shortcodes, widgets, menus, and custom fields. It has the block supports API, which offers a way to register block customization tools such as the ability to change a block’s background, font, or font size.

Mainly still a content editor, the block editor enables easier content manipulation and improves how you create content. But the primary long-term goal is to have the block editor move toward full site editing, allowing you to design your own website completely.

The Pros and Cons of the WordPress Block Editor

As with most things, the WordPress block editor has various pros and cons, and what those are will vary depending on people’s opinions and preferences. With that said, there are many benefits to using it, including the different block types, the fact that you can still use the old TinyMCE editor, that old content is automatically refactored, that plugin developers can build their own blocks, that blocks can easily be moved around and are searchable, and more.

Some people consider the block editor to have cons, mainly because it is so drastically different, and the new UI causes a learning curve. Content needs to be built into blocks, many items have been moved to other places, and some keyboard shortcuts may not work anymore. Another issue with the block editor is that it can cause existing plugins, themes, and frameworks to break. However, many of the most popular plugins, like Yoast SEO and the Genesis framework, are block editor ready.

How Does the Block Editor Compare to Other Page Editors?

One of the most popular WordPress page builder plugins available is Elementor. The most significant difference between the block editor and Elementor is that the block editor is a block editor and Elementor is a page builder. Elementor enables more customization for your page’s design, while the block editor is more dependent on your WordPress theme.

In contrast, when comparing the block editor to the classic TinyMCE editor, it provides a more visual design background. It doesn’t need to use shortcodes to embed content (the positive of a unified block system). And as mentioned before, you can still use the classic TinyMCE editor with the block editor, and if you prefer the TinyMCE editor, you can disable the block editor.

Learn More About WordPress & Block Editing Technology 

WordPress has reached an important milestone with its block editor. Many developers have differing opinions on it, with some seeing it as an opportunity to build new features and use WordPress more flexibly. They see it as making the content creation process more intuitive and easier to use, while others believe it will be harder to teach their non-technical editors to use the new block editor, with a risk of breaking plugins and themes.

At Americaneagle.com, we have formed strategic partnerships with WP Engine and WordPress VIP to ensure we are at the forefront of trusted WordPress performance. We can help you understand whether WordPress remains the right platform for your site, how to best use it to fit your business model, and help train your team on using the platform. If you would like to learn more from our experienced WordPress team, we welcome the opportunity to meet you. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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