Why I’m betting on Gutenberg

My recent participation in WordCamp Lahore involved sharing my thoughts on the new opportunities for WordPress businesses and builders.

This was an interactive session that involved questions on why all of us (the panelists) are betting for the success of the Gutenberg project and is it better than existing page builders?

I always had an interest in Gutenberg. I first started building a plugin for Gutenberg called MightyBlocks which was 2 years ago. MightyBlocks was an experiment to build a plugin where blocks for Gutenberg would be registered and templated without using JavaScript. This was to make it easier for developers to migrate their shortcodes and page builder elements easily to Gutenberg without learning javascript.

WordPress has evolved significantly over the years. Evolved from a simple blogging platform to a very flexible content management system.

The missing element in WordPress which was already discovered by the market (themes like Avada) is an easy way to build, customize and arrange elements (blocks) required to build a website. This was solved with the help of page builders plugins and they’re doing a great job at solving this problem.

However, Gutenberg is working towards filling this gap natively. WordPress is moving away from being only a text editor to a content editor. The idea of blocks in the content editor and the blocks directory will provide users, especially first-time users a seamless experience of building websites.

On top of that, the next phase of Gutenberg in 2020 will offer a full-site editing experience. This will allow users to build headers, footers, and other areas of the websites with Gutenberg.

Is Gutenberg going to replace page builders? The answer is always going to be No.
Edit: “always” is an overstatement but my point is that it is going to take a long time. Gutenberg is essentially playing catch up.

Is it better than page builders? Not yet.

But for the WordPress project, Gutenberg is a big win. The first time users and their experience with WordPress has a higher chance of them sticking to WordPress and growing its market share.

  1. Totally spot on Haris. There’s loads of opportunity right now to shape the future of WordPress.

    Gutenberg has been around for a couple years now, and its made massive steps in the right direction – yet there’s still plenty of room to grow. I suspect that in time, Gutenberg solutions will be the de facto WordPress experience for the majority of folks starting websites with WordPress.

  2. Spot On as Rich said.

    But, I do think with the completion of Gutenberg Phase 2 it will be able to compete with the page builder plugins. So, I do think it will give page builders very tough competition in the future.

    Almost every WordPress plugin and theme is already trying best to integrate nicely with Gutenberg which many did not even think of doing for a particular page builder plugin. For example, WooCommerce has Gutenberg blocks, Yoast SEO has Gutenberg integration, EDD has Gutenberg blocks, most of the popular WordPress plugins adding Gutenberg integration the best they can. This was not done for any other page builder yet?

    It will grow much massively faster than any page builder plugin because of the 3rd party developers. Developers like you are already embracing Gutenberg with add-on plugins and this will only get better and better in the near future. Like WordPress itself is a community-driven product which competes massively with other CMS out there. Gutenberg as well as a community-driven editor which will only become better & bigger by time.

    Also to be noted that Gutenberg has the potential to become the most commonly used web editor even outside WordPress. We can already use it in web apps and elsewhere. It is being adapted in Drupal community as well.

    So to my understanding and being following Gutenberg from the start over at GutenbergHub, I think this will make give a tough time to page builder plugins.

    1. The native support by plugins like Yoast and WooCommerce is a huge plus. The push from their own communities will grow Gutenberg which is a huge marketing advantage that existing page building solutions will lack.

      Gutenberg will give all of them a solid competition and a run for their money but still has a long way to maturity in the current time.

  3. I think it’s vital to understand that Gutenberg come from a content perspective, solving layout issues in the hands of content editors, whereas Page builders came from a layout perspective building fixed layouts regardless of content in the hands of website builders.

    Will Gutenberg outperform Page builders? My answer would be yes.

  4. Yup, I agree. The rollout was…messy. But I think they were just over-ready to finally get something shipped, knowing it was going to evolve further and getting the initial build integrated was going to be the catalyst for it. Truth be told, I still disable it at the first chance I get due to using either the ACF Meta Fields workflow or a page builder, both of which Gutenberg more or less get in the way of. But I am also hopeful about where its going and I’m taking the same bet. For now though, it’s going to be something I watch from a distance, rather than engage with actively.

    1. I am directly investing my time and money into Gutenberg.
      It’s a solid bet because the future is in Gutenberg.
      Can’t wait to see what Gutenberg has to offer in the next few years.

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