Support » Plugin: Gutenberg » Not quite there yet, more control needed

  • [ADDED 18 May 2020 – a lot has changed since I wrote this review. Gutenberg is now an established part of the WordPress experience. Many improvements have been made and it has evolved and matured. There are still a few usability-issues that should be addressed, but this is a normal part of software evolution. I leave the previous comment for historical reasons.]

    As a rule, I approach every development with a positive attitude. When I give plugins a try, I will be the last to blast it to pieces if it doesn’t work as expected. I apply the same rule to my use of the Gutenberg plugins and its related plugins by other developers.

    After a few attempts on various sites, I decided to start using Gutenberg on one of my main websites. I’m not the grumpy critic that ‘never’ wants to see Gutenberg as part of the WP core. Why not? If it works, it works. I don’t even think it will be bad for business, as some developers do. It possibly will make developing sites for others even more fun and easy. And those others, the clients, will always be there. No matter how simple it becomes, most people with a small business, or medium-sized on, for that matter, don’t have the time and the appetite to do it themselves and solve all the technical problems, how small they may be.

    No the reason why I deactivated Gutenberg and its helper plugins (Atomic Blocks etc.) is that there are not enough parameters I can use to fine-tune my page layout. For example, the big competitor, Elementor, has numerous ways to adjust the margins and padding of blocks of content. This enables me to tune all elements to perfection, especially with flexible themes.

    With Gutenberg, I created a simple page with a couple of embedded Vimeo video’s. The page looked good in the editor, but ugly after publication because there were large gaps between the captions and the video previews. The space below the headings and the blocks below them was also not sufficient. I solved the first problem by creating a new block below the video, knowing that the spacing would be too narrow for a new paragraph, but ok for a caption. Well, this kind of issue needing a workaround should be solved before integrating Gutenberg in the core editor.

    Of course, I could go in and tune these elements with my CSS. But identifying the CSS for specific problematic elements can be a very time-consuming pain in the backside.

    So, in short, it would be great if the Gutenberg development team carefully studied (perhaps they do, I don’t know) good alternatives, like the Elementor plugin, and especially their user-friendliness and flexibility. It would be great if there was more control over individual blocks.

    Gutenberg also has issues with columns, that sometimes disappear for unclear reasons. Embedding images could also be more flexible.

    In fact, most of my criticism (constructive criticism) revolves around a lack of control of individual elements. This could easily be solved by offering some kind of advanced settings panel.

    Now, for me, it is a matter of time, and I use the other page-builder again to create great-looking sites.

    But nothing is lost. There is time to work on Gutenberg and integrate it into WordPress as a viable editing mode. If that happens, and the functionality is on par with its competitors, I will just try it again.

    (Follow up after some days)

    To be fair.

    Creating custom classes for specific blocks, and applying them to other blocks isn’t really that difficult, and can be done right in the editor. Of course, you need to flip flop from the editor to the customizer to write the CSS rules and come back to see the results, which is perhaps not the most user-friendly way. There are even plugins out there that can be used to style your pages in conjunction with Gutenberg without creating your own classes. Knowing exactly which CSS base element one is targeting if you are going to do it yourself is still a bit reaching in the dark. The Gutenberg editor could and should undergo some rigorous usability testing. Just invite, and pay, several random users, and you will get a serious commitment, not only rants and anger.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by eelcobruinsma. Reason: Addition after some further use
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by eelcobruinsma.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by eelcobruinsma.
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  • Plugin Author Tammie Lister


    Thanks for approaching development with that positive attitude and also giving feedback in a review. It’s an interesting point to think about fine tuning and options such as those incredible ones Elementor itself offers. Phase 2 where customization is focused on will bring a lot more of these expected features and control, thanks for the reminder how important that is to consider.

    Thread Starter eelcobruinsma


    Hi Tammie,

    Well thanks for your reply to my review. I am really looking forward to the enrichment that the phase 2 which you refer to will bring.

    To be clear, in my original review I stated that I deactivated Gutenberg. But only for a day or so. I decided to activate the plugin on 6 websites I am currently working on. Looking at the functionality from different angles, and using it in conjuction with different auxiliary plugins. I thought this might be more constructive than just sitting there and waiting for things to happen. With every improvement and enhancement my experience will grow too, and I will be able to judge its impact better than when I would not use Gutenberg at all.

    I am not a GitHub kind of developer, but an experienced web designer with a keen eye for delivery of content, so I will always look at the functionality from that perspective.

    Good luck with the next phases.

Viewing 2 replies - 1 through 2 (of 2 total)
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