Matt Medeiros: Don’t Hate Gutenberg

Matt Mederios – @PluginTut

Matt Medeiros, host of the Matt Report and the Plugin Tutorial podcast, went on Youtube and created a video with “6 Tips When Using WordPress Gutenberg Editor – Getting GOOD?!”.

An early skeptic and vocal critic of the role out process of the Block Editor, Matt Medeiros seems to enjoy using Gutenberg more and he has a lot of good things to say about it. Medeiros’ enthusiasm for teaching WordPress to site owners and consultants is contagious. I always learn something new in his tutorial videos. Thank you to Matt, who gave permission to publish his video with a transcript of his talk here. Enjoy!

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Transcript: Matt Medeiros: Stop Hating Gutenberg and move on.

What’s up, everybody? Welcome back to PluginTut, your home for handcrafted WordPress plugin tutorials. How about that? Two videos in a week. In today’s video, I’m going to share six ways for you to stop hating Gutenberg. Let’s dive right in.

Step 1: Clear your mind. Be open for change.

No, it’s not the classic editor. Let’s stop saying that over and over again. Let’s move on and let’s start with step number one. Clear your mind. Be open for change. Yeah, I know that sounds so la-di-da and so zen-like mindfulness state, but you really have to be ready for change. I think I know a lot of people who just don’t want to use Gutenberg because they’re like, “Man, I don’t want to learn something else. This is my workflow. I’ve already had it down. I don’t want to develop for Gutenberg. I don’t want to learn JavaScript, All this stuff.” They’re just angry that there’s change. And I think that within change comes some chaos, and out of that chaos there’s a new and better path, hopefully, politics and communication aside.

Step 2: Getting yourself used to using Gutenberg

Number two for getting yourself used to using Gutenberg. You’ve got to find a theme that plays really well with Gutenberg, and for me that was the missing link. I was trying to use Gutenberg on some other themes that I’ve used. I tried to use it on 2019. It just wasn’t right. It just didn’t look right. The things I was doing, it just wasn’t formatted well, and that’s because the themes weren’t really ready to support Gutenberg, until I found the theme Chaplin. I’ve done a video about that. I’ll link it up here.

When you find a theme that connects the dots between the visual builder in the back end and the visual components of the front end with Gutenberg, then it really starts to make sense and you start to enjoy building sites. That’s why I’m excited for Anders Noren to lead the 2020 theme, which will be coming with WordPress in November.

Step 3: Take time to understand the tooling around Gutenberg

Number three, take time to understand the tooling around Gutenberg, the new toolbars, the new options, the new screens, the new pains, the new popups, whatever it is. Take some time. It’s part of number one, where you have to kind of be ready for change and ready to adopt it. You’ve got to spend a little bit of time learning this stuff or you’re not really giving it a fair shot.

Now, that aside of the fact that when Gutenberg first rolled out, it was in its infancy and there were some major problems with it. Now it’s gotten better. It’s got a lot more mature. But if you spend some time in these three areas, this will really help you. Number one, spend some time understanding the two tabs of document versus blocks, and that’s sort of something that is a little hurdle to get over, but it takes some understanding. So you have the new documents tab, which is all of the options for the particular page or post that you’re looking at. Simple things like draft, publish, template style, that kind of thing. And then the blocks page or blocks tab, which is all about the particular block that you’re looking at. So if you click on a block, you can see all of the options available to modify that block on the right-hand side.

Number two in this area that has really helped me out was you know when you’re trying to hover over a paragraph in a post that you’re editing, one of the biggest things that I hear people complain about online is they get all these little UI stuff that hovers over it, all the formatting options. You can stick that formatting bar to the top of your editor screen so that it’s not in the way, and that’s like 90% of the complaints that I hear on Twitter is like, “I can’t click around because these things are hovering,” and this took me a while to figure that out as well. Stick that toolbar to the top, and it won’t get in your way.

Number three, it’s still pretty finicky to get in there and click on a particular block. Use the block navigation pane or pop up so that you can navigate the blocks really easily. You can click on the exact block that you want so you can find those options. So those three things right there has really helped me just get used to using Gutenberg so I don’t get angry and smash my keyboard.

Step 4: Install the actual Gutenberg plugin

Number four, install the actual Gutenberg plugin, regardless of the reviews and the two stars that you see there. It took me some time to understand this. I was getting frustrated with the Gutenberg options that were just built into core WordPress and totally forgetting that, yeah, they’re committing new features and enhancements to the Gutenberg plugin. I should probably install that so I can give it a fair shake. And I think if you’re anybody who’s in the consulting space and you’re still just using the classic editor plugin for your clients, give yourself some education. Give yourself some headway to see what’s coming for the future of Gutenberg and WordPress. Install that plugin, even on a test site, and maybe give it a chance that way. Again, this kind of goes back to number one. You’ve got to be open for change, but use the core Gutenberg plugin and that’ll help you get adjusted. There’s also some experimental features in there that you can check out.


Step 5: Try Other Gutenberg Block Plugins

Number five, and again, this was a big one when it came to me using Chaplain. Try other Gutenberg block plugins, and there’s a ton of them already. It’s ridiculous. I mean, there’s so many options and I started to get worried, like, “I’m going to install all these plugins. I’m going to install these blocks. In the future, what are we doing? Are we installing blocks? Are we installing plugins? Where do they come from?” I get it, but when I used the Chaplin theme, I was using the CoBlocks plugin, which adds a whole bunch of other styled blocks and just formatting choices for me and the way I can format my content. It’s pretty awesome, and it’s lightweight and it works great with the chaplain theme, which now you have to just make sure you have a theme that works well with it.

This one is put out by a … Well, it’s owned now by GoDaddy. It was originally developed by Richard Tabor. He is still on that project and developing on it, and it’s a solid, solid plugin. It’s really nice to add some more features to your Gutenberg experience.

It’s not a tumor.

Step 6: Gutenberg is not a page builder.

Number six, and maybe this is just the last icing on the cake, at this time in the month September 2019, Gutenberg is not a page builder. So there’s a lot of people out there going, “I don’t need another page builder,” or, “Gutenberg’s Beaver Builder is fine. Elementor is fine. I don’t need Gutenberg.” Gutenberg isn’t a page builder right now. A lot of the stuff that they’re talking about is expanding Gutenberg beyond the editor and the content section of your WordPress site, but it’s not a full-fledged page builder, and that’s a good thing.

In other words, when I was using Chaplin, I could build a page. I could build and customize a homepage and make it whatever style I wanted, but I wasn’t bogged down in layouts and margins and padding and if I tweak this over here, do I have to modify some CSS and looking at white space and just getting paralyzed by all the options.

The really good thing about Gutenberg, at least in the state that it’s in right now with the proper theme, is you do have flexibility but you don’t get lost in where do I put all this stuff once you reach that learning curve.

So again, I’ll just say this for the record, Gutenberg is not your Beaver builder, your Elementor, your site origin page builder. It’s not Divi. It’s not Visual Composer. It’s not Brizy. It’s not Oxygen. It’s not Thrive Themes. It’s not Page Builder Sandwich, and it’s not your Conductor plugin.

All right, everybody. I know. Yes, the politics, the communication. It all sucked, right? The rollout, it sucked. A lot of us get angry about it. A lot of us are still angry about it, and a lot of people, at least I know in my Twitter thread, are looking at other CMSs because of it. Now they’re like, “Hey, I don’t feel like I’m a part of this software anymore, and I’m going to look to other areas,” and that’s super unfortunate.

It’s super unfortunate that it happened. It’s unfortunate we’ll lose some talented people and that there’s a mark on this community, but the fortunate thing is is it will bring in new blood, I hope. That people will now look at Gutenberg as an opportunity. They can see some things in motion here and either develop new features, plugins, or just generally be familiar with how WordPress is evolving over time. And in about a year from now, we’re going to have new blood here and it’s going to be people who are inspired by Gutenberg and JavaScript and all this stuff and this decoupled editing experience and block experience that Gutenberg is providing.

Heck, I’ve been really enjoying it with Chaplin. I’m pumped for 2020. I think I’ll be able to build super lean sites without all of the other plugins. When I don’t need to be a page builder, I can just bring in Gutenberg and a great theme and make things super lightweight. I’m doing it now. I have a couple of sites out there with three plugins installed, and it’s awesome. I’m still not going to install Jetpack, though. That’s what I’m afraid of.

All right, everybody. It’s to join that mailing list. We’ll see you in the next episode.


[…] an diesem herbstlichen Morgen gibt es natürlich die aktuellen WP-News für dich: Der Gutenberg-Editor überzeugt erste Skeptiker, Matt Mullenweg stellt sich kritischen Fragen und eine Case Study gibt […]

[…] Don’t hate Gutenberg! Matt Medeiros – u.a. bekannt aus seinem Podcast Matt Report – gibt in seinem Video Tutorial sechs gute Gründe, warum du aufhören solltest, Gutenberg zu hassen. Obwohl er anfangs selbst Kritiker des neuen WP-Editors war, hat er jetzt überzeugende Pro-Argumente und einige Tipps parat. Auf Gutenberg Times findest du das Video plus Transkript. […]