Anastasiia Mykytiuk
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Product Updates

The Future with Gutenberg. The Brand New Content Editor or a Website Builder?

Gutenberg editor has been released not so long ago, and since then thousands of WordPress users have tried working with it. However, with each update, we can see the changes in its functionality, as well as in the interface.

It has become obvious that the evolution process of the Gutenberg editor continues. And, like so many other WordPress-lovers, our team keeps wondering which route Gutenberg will take while becoming more mature, and growing into something really new and influential.

Even now we can easily imagine Gutenberg as a brand new content editor. But it might also evolve into a website builder, and it’s really exciting to observe the changes. Everyone keeps guessing which turn Gutenberg will take in the future, and our team has also been envisioning several very different kinds of future we might have with it.

So, let’s find some courage and imagine that Gutenberg has become a brand new content editor. Which benefits will it provide for us?

Gutenberg as a content editor

At the moment we can suspect that Automattic team is going to replace the default editor, and that they want to make the posts editing easier.
All the signs tell that Gutenberg will provide us with the brand new experience of creating and editing the blog posts content.
Staying true to this format, Gutenberg won’t be replacing the page builders. On the contrary, we’ll have a really top-notch addition to the already existing page builders we’re using at the moment.

Even now we can imagine how cool it might be to use Elementor in sync with Gutenberg, where Elementor provides the design part, and Gutenberg is responsible for editing content.
This model will surely turn out a great success among the web studios and freelancers.

Gutenberg + Elementor: how it might work

From this standpoint, the web studio or a freelancer can actually create the whole website based on Elementor only if he has the theme that is shaped for this site builder.

Elementor provides the complete set of tools that the site builder should possess to satisfy all the basic needs. We’re talking here about the header & footer builder, the ability to work with post archives and custom post types (the things our team has managed to implement in JetEngine plugin), etc.

These things no longer need coding. With Elementor and Crocoblock you can actually work beyond the static pages, creating the templates for the blog archive, for single posts, or any custom post type.

The client, once he has access to the site, will add content into the previously prepared meta fields without ever touching anything related to the design, and, as the result, the content will show up on the perfectly styled pages that use the templates we’ve created beforehand with Elementor.

In this situation, Gutenberg becomes the tool for editing content, very simple, yet powerful.

This is a win-win situation. We get carte blanche when managing the design (like in Saas solutions, such as WIX, etc.), and also the flexibility, easiness and the full power of the dynamic WordPress content.

At some point, this model can transform into the fully-fledged Saas-solution based on WordPress, where the client makes a choice towards the preferable structure of the site and has his hands full with all the flexibility Elementor can provide, combined with Gutenberg functionality.

The Major Benefits of Gutenberg as an Editor

The huge advantage of “Gutenberg-as-an-editor” model is that it might really work for so many developers. As our team’s experience shows, the end-users, in their turn, want to receive the ready website, and they, as a rule, do not want to know anything about site management while working on content. They just want to easily edit the content itself, not design it, or change its logics.

Gutenberg editor will provide us with an ability to concentrate on improving the experience of the user when adding or editing content, without overloading the editor with the page builder’s functionality.

When It Comes to Practice…

I’d like to illustrate the point I’ve mentioned above using the real-life case.

One of our team’s clients has created an event agency site with the two extra custom post types: events and places.

The templates for these post types are created by developers in Elementor visual editor.

The user, when adding a new event, just fills in the necessary fields (the title, the description, uploads the images, selects the place where the event will be held from the list of already set places, etc).

This is just an example of how interacting with the end-user can be made easier and more convenient, as it doesn’t require any additional skills or actions from the end-user’s side.

Gutenberg as a website builder

One of the alternate turns Gutenberg might take while evolving is becoming a website builder.
However, right at the moment, there are some features that are missing from Gutenberg, and that really might prevent it from becoming the fully-fledged website builder with time.

On the other hand, it seems that the Automattic team continues working on Gutenberg, and the features that are missing at the moment might be added in the upcoming updates.

Let’s take a closer look at these features and find out why they can so drastically make an impact on Gutenberg as a website builder tool.

  • Easily manageable styles. The style settings available in Gutenberg need to be improved. Right now we see the simple inline styles, and we can only guess that there will be more style settings added with time.
  • The lack of tools that would allow working with layouts. At the moment Gutenberg is limited by the post’s container. Even visually, it resembles blog posts editor in WIX, and it’s nothing like the content editor in WIX. We need the tools that would allow managing the number of columns, the width of the separate blocks and sections. The option allowing to switch from the boxed to full-width layout would also be great.
  • Gutenberg relies a lot on the theme used on the site. If we’re comparing Gutenberg builder with Elementor, it’s easy to notice that Elementor allows users to manage the design regardless of the theme one is using.
    From the point of the default WordPress website, this isn’t a major problem. It turned out historically, that the philosophy of WordPress is that the theme is responsible for the design. However, if we’re talking about the website builder, we assume that it should be responsible for the design. Otherwise, the reason why it should be used is lost.
  • The lack of the mobile emulator. At this point, Gutenberg editor lacks the tools for viewing the mobile version in the editor itself, and there are no tools for managing the mobile version of the content.
  • No means to work with the dynamic content. We need a way to work with the meta data (the mechanism of adding this meta data, as well as output mechanism).
    Our team has made an attempt to introduce the dynamic content to Elementor by means of JetEngine plugin, and it’s tied to Elementor. Just imagine, how good it would be to work with dynamic content and be able to output it while you keep using WordPress and its native editor.
  • Headers, footers, single post templates. It will be easy to add one of the samples for Gutenberg from the developers (the recipe card) to some of the posts occasionally.But in case I have the cookery blog with hundreds of recipes, this is totally not an option.
    Let’s imagine that at some point I want to change the design of this card. In theory, I can do it with help of CSS.
    However, speaking of the website builder, everything I can’t do from my admin panel, shows the lack of functionality.
    Also, in case I need to make really slight changes in the card’s layout, the only way to do this is to introduce changes to all of my hundreds of posts.

This issue can be easily solved by adding such a card into the post’s template and creating the meta fields for adding the info required for the recipe. And that’s what we’re looking for in Gutenberg.

Gutenberg + Unknown Extra Design Tool?

Taking into account everything mentioned above, it seems quite logical to let Gutenberg remain as it is now. Maybe it’s wise to let Gutenberg be the content editor, and boost it with the tool allowing to manage the design and layouts. Such a tool should share the same UI principles with Gutenberg.

I can imagine Elementor becoming the prototype of such a tool. It would take WordPress to the wholly new level as a CMS, as well as Saas. Gutenberg, the way it is now, will make these quality changes possible only for the post content and static pages content. Yet we know that WordPress itself is not limited by post content and static pages anymore.

Fortunately, Gutenberg editor keeps evolving with time, and we’re hoping to see the ways of working with dynamic content within it.

Gutenberg: Why It’s Destined for Success?

One of the major benefits of Gutenberg as a native tool is the potential openness to the extensions. Right now there are multiple addons for different page builders all around the web.

If Gutenberg becomes a native solution, similar to Elementor, it’s easy to guess, that many developers will turn to it and will be developing extensions for Gutenberg.

Can you imagine the marketplace with the Gutenberg extensions in the future? Maybe it’s not really that far away.