I’ve decided to give Gutenburg a whirl. Right now, it is only available as a WordPress plugin, but word on the street says it will be included in WordPress 5. I like to be ready for these changes whenever possible.
Always something new …
Seems like I spend half of my life learning new things. This is fine. I like learning, but some times I’d prefer to be earning than learning. If I don’t try Gutenburg and learn its ins and outs, I’ll be on the outs with my clients. So, head down and ready to learn.
Trouble in editville
Already, I see issues that will cause headaches for professional developers. Not in the way the tool works – I’m finding it very easy to use – but in the way it allows so much control for the end-user.
Ok. I don’t get why that is a problem, you say.
Well, you would if you are trying to develop a site that has strict style guidelines for editors. Think large corporations and other businesses that have tight control over the way things look and feel.
When working with those companies, I try and keep as much of the style elements in the CSS, taking the potential for error away from the editors. No company I’ve worked with wants inconsistent font styles, colors and sizes from page to page on their, sometimes, expensive web properties.
Example of a mess
Hello, I’m Tina the latest hire. I’ve been assigned the task of updating our corporate site. Perhaps I’ve been given a PDF with all the rules about how big the logo can be, what size all images should be, the proper use of H1, H2, etc., the rules for accessibility, and on and on and on.
I’m overwhelmed and I’m a professional!
As I’m typing, I see that I can use this nice color setting and give my paragraph a background color. Oooo, I like that! I’ll set this one off to get attention. Oh, this isn’t an approved color? Hmmm, didn’t realize that.
Oooh look we can add columns of content. These columns aren’t responsive. Now what?
I’m confused, why can’t I get out of these columns?
Wait, what are all these buttons and arrows? Too many interface opportunities.
And so it goes.
Who gets blamed for this confusion? Many times it’s the development company. “We need something that works without having to train our employees on everything about the web,” says the client.
Well, Gutenberg does work, and very well, I might add.
There is no magic elixir
No matter what we try, there is no magical way to make creating web sites simple. People trained their whole lives to layout magazines, and then computers took over. Everyone thought they could layout a magazine, but not well. Same thing happened with the web. Everyone thinks they can design their own site because the tool lets them drag and drop.
That just isn’t so. Web development takes time and effort and experience. Does your drag and drop site take in to account operating systems, browser configurations, Section 508 compliance, corporate style guidelines, best SEO practices, fast-loading pages?
Long story short
I’m ok with Gutenburg the plugin. I think it will be helpful for most users.
As a developer, I do hope there are alternatives and the ability to shut it off when it becomes core.