WordPress has evolved over the years, from a humble blogging platform, to a full fledged CMS. The complexity of the web sites has also grown and the content editing capabilities had to grow with it.
WordPress always has had custom fields built in for years, but the interface was so unfriendly to regular users, that using it was impossible. The process for creating a custom user interface by developers was always so time consuming and cumbersome, that few wanted to pay for the development.
Over time, editor plugins became more and more popular. Elementor, Beaver, Divi and many others all expanded the functionality of the basic WYSIWYG editor that WordPress used to ship with.
Plugins in WordPress usually provide functionality that the core CMS lacks, often, if a plugin becomes extremely popular, WordPress developers will assimilate the functionality and make the plugin redundant.
WordPress Gutenberg an excellent example of this pattern, let’s have a look at what it is and why we should care.
What is Gutenberg?
Gutenberg, currently, is a page builder plugin, like Elementor or Beaver with one major difference: it is open source, built and maintained by Automatic staff and a long list of contributors.
It replaces the classic “WYSIWYG” editor and tries to bring us closer to WYSIWYG actually meaning something, unlike the classic editor. Gutenberg is not perfect yet, but currently it is a stepping stone, between the classic editor and the ultimate goal of being able to assemble an entire page (starting from the header ending with the footer, if you should choose to add it).
What does Gutenberg mean for editors?
More flexibility, without the need of cumbersome and buggy third-party plugins or expensive custom development.
Columns and rows, buttons, tables and other elements, laid out in any order are now just a few simple clicks away.
What does Gutenberg mean for developers?
Less fragmentation, better APIs and better solutions we can offer our clients. Before Gutenberg, each of us had to decide, what approach we will take if we want to provide page building functionality to our clients.
Elementor may be too confusing or too powerful and unnecessary for some clients with basic websites, at ByTheScruff, we extensively use Advanced Custom Fields. This lets us quickly and easily provide a very simple, yet powerful enough interface for editing any part of the custom websites we build. Our clients don’t get overwhelmed with unnecessary controls and don’t have the ability to accidentally ruin the flow of their custom web site or make it appear off brand.
Always pick the right tool for the job
There is a huge variety of websites using WordPress out there. Not all of them need Gutenberg or any other page builder, not all of them need Advanced Custom Fields, task number one for an experienced developer is to analyse the needs of a client and figure out the optimal solution for them. We do this daily at By the Scruff, so if you’re in the market for a custom WordPress website, whether you want to use Gutenberg or not, get in touch!