Justin Tadlock
Last week, I reached out to several members of the core WordPress committers to see if we could get an official word on whether Classic Editor support would continue beyond the mere months it seemingly had left to live. I received a semi-official answer but was asked to hold off on publishing for a more detailed and nuanced response.
Earlier today, WordPress executive director Josepha Haden Chomposy announced the official decision. It was just as expected. The WordPress project would continue supporting the Classic Editor plugin for a while longer.
“At the time, we promised to support the plugin through 2021 and adjust if needed as the deadline got closer,” she wrote. “After discussing this with Matt [Mullenweg], it’s clear that continuing to support the plugin through 2022 is the right call for the project as well as the community.”
As of now, classic users have a one-year extension.
However, the plugin will not suddenly stop working on December 31, 2022. That is merely the current deadline for the “full support” phase. It should continue working well beyond whatever date is set for that support window to close.
Designer Mark Root-Wiley reached out to WP Tavern via Twitter last week, but others had been asking the same question for a while. For some, they needed to know if they could continue supporting specific client needs. For others, it was a bludgeon to use in conversations for all editor-related things. Whatever the reason, before today, the last word had been from a Make Core post in November 2018.
“The Classic Editor plugin will be officially supported until December 31, 2021,” wrote core contributor Gary Pendergast in that three-year-old announcement. It was a shock for many at the time, uncertain whether the new block system would meet their needs.
While three years may have seemed like plenty of time to ditch the classic in favor of the modern WordPress editor, the current stats show that the project still has a few miles yet to go.
Currently, there are over 5 million active installations of the Classic Editor plugin. I am still waiting for a more specific tally, but no one has provided an answer yet. At best, we think the counter turns over at 10+ million, so we can speculate on the floor and ceiling for possible usage.
Active installs are not the entire picture either. For example, we have the plugin installed here at the Tavern for legacy reasons but do not use it in our day-to-day work. We can likely disable it altogether. WordPress has no telemetry system for tracking the usage of such features. While the install total will not always make the picture clear, the current number supports the push for continued maintenance.
“I think it’s important to note that the plugin is not going anywhere,” said core committer Jonathan Desrosiers. “It will continue to be listed on the .ORG repository for the foreseeable future.”
He pointed out that understanding the next phase of the Classic Editor plugin meant looking into the level of effort required to support it since 2018. The overwhelming majority of the changes in that nearly three-year timeframe have come down to keeping up with:
“It’s been almost three whole years, and the plugin has largely required very little maintenance to continue functioning, and the bulk of maintenance has been to limit warnings and notices in debug logs,” he said.
The goal of the Classic Editor plugin was to help ease the transition to the block editor. Thus far, there have been eight major WordPress releases since the switch in version 5.0.
“There’s a theory called the diffusion of innovations that looks to explain how, why, and at what rate new technology spreads,” said Desrosiers. “It separates adopters into several groups based on when they are willing to take the jump: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. I truly think that we have seen a good portion of the late majority beginning to move towards using the block editor. This can also be confirmed by the plugin’s install growth, which has been slowing and plateauing this year.”
He had expected the previous deadline to mark the next stage of the Classic Editor plugin, called the “sunset” phase. It would be a time when the WordPress project moved from full support to encouraging late adopters to transition to the current editor to get the plugin’s numbers down.
“The context I gave previously shows that, until now, that the level of effort needed to keep the plugin working on newer versions of WP has been pretty minimal,” said Desrosiers of the potential sunset phase. “I expect that pattern to continue thanks to backward compatibility. If any security issues or major problems are encountered, they’ll, of course, be fixed. Any incompatibilities with the plugin and newer versions of WP will be considered on a case by case basis, but little to no time will be put towards bug fixes.”
However, this sunset phase will have to wait. We will not see it until at least the current support window closes on December 31, 2022. WordPress project leaders will need to reevaluate the plugin’s lifespan at that point.
The other looming question would be whether core WordPress would move specific pieces of its system to the Classic Editor plugin, such as allowing custom post types to support the old editor or the meta box API.
“There are no plans at this time to move any of the underlying ‘classic’ parts from core to the plugin,” said Desrosiers. “I’m sure that removing these parts will be evaluated at some point in the future, but when that will be is not clear.”
Even when official Classic Editor support reaches a hard deadline, it does not mean such a traditional editing experience will cease to exist. Plugins like Disable Gutenberg have promised longer lifespans than the initial support window, and other editor projects will undoubtedly arise if there is wide enough demand.
“The block editor has come a long way, and I encourage everyone that has not yet given it a second chance (late adopters) to do so,” said Desrosiers. “You may be pleasantly surprised.”
Interesting about classic editor support for custom post types. I guess they need to do that where there is no sign of a WooCommerce update with a block based product post type?
Very important point, have been thinking the same for a while. To me the Block Editor seems a fantastic approach for “Articles”, but WP should not forget custom post types that have other scopes and where custom meta boxes play the main role.
Currently, custom meta boxes for native posts are being squeezed into the sidebar just like: “Well, let’s put ’em somewhere”. But all the magic that could be achieved with positioning them into “normal”, “side”, “advanced”, etc… is being “lost” somehow. Do you imagine the Woocommerce Products post editor screen made with Gutenberg? It can be done, of course. But, does it really make sense?
The best thing that WP can do is keep the two modes active and let users choose between “Gutenberg mode” and “Classic mode” (both for native post types and for custom post types).
Have to agree with you 100%. If it is that simple to keep Classic Editor then keep both.
I’m a Code Monkey at heart. I like tinkering with HTML, PHP and all that. I don’t like Wix, Squarespace style site building or I’d go ahead and have own.
I hope that a way to have both classic and blocks can be found.
I fear it won’t and that eventually we may have to find a way to live with blocks. Personally, the alternative of walking away and finding a different CMS feels as bad as living with blocks.
I have no plans on switching my 50 sites and the many client sites I run any time soon. If forced to switch we would probably just start moving sites to Shopify or something. Not everyone needs all the bells and whistles. I have clients that could be on WordPress 2.0 and run just fine.
I agree.
Seems that people don’t understand that it is possible a WP usage without blocks, also in new websites in 2021.
Blocks are saved in the DB, require parsing, gutenberg is not yet stable yet or feature parity with tinymce.
But hey we push blocks so you have to accept it.
As a web developer, I don’t prefer Gutenberg… I like the classic editor or page builders.
I feel way better about Gutenberg than I used to, but I also avoid it when I can because I’m used to the other way and much more familiar and therefore efficient at it.
Gutenberg is really dialed into a particular style/learning method/way of thinking and that’s valid, it just can’t be all things for all people and isn’t for me.
But, one of the things that’s cool about WordPress is that it’s so accommodating. It’d be nice if they could carry on doing double duty forever. Like Gutenberg is something it defaults to still for their reasons, but “WordPress” could also mean all their shared resources except that one presentation method (I know that’s oversimplifying).
Like right now it has a dual identity and everyone’s pretty happy in the camp that lets them remain productive and still keeps the benefits of the software as a whole.
Developers could also offer one, the other, or both in terms of accommodating so there’s more work and opportunity there depending on which markets are important to you.
ACF has as much reason as anyone to embrace metaboxes, for example, but rather than work “for free” by adding new stuff for Gutenberg sites for the same price and treating it as an evolution, you could have either Gutenberg accommodation or Classic accommodation as a separate product, or an add-on.
I just don’t see why it has to be mutually exclusive if the only obstacle is the amount of work. The flexibility is part of the glory and the staying power.
Every week I see someone on here saying Elementor is great even while there’s a baked-in solution for crafting layouts, for example, and they’re not out to kill each other, they’re co-existing. Even while both sides have valid reasons why they dislike the other experience. It’s choices, freedoms. That’s a good thing.
As a developer with 2 plugins that make extensive use of custom metaboxes attached to a custom post type, for me switch to Gutenberg has been one of the most daunting tasks I’ve ever undertook.
As things are right now, I am seriously giving consideration to just abandoning them rather than wade through the tedium that is JS/React/Gutenberg development
Good to hear but why always refer to Classic Editor “active installs” instead of publishing real market share data for blocks vs classic?
Is there a particular reason for not doing so when sites using one or another method are easily identifiable?
I don’t have any methods for identifying the usage. Therefore, I used what data was available to me. If there is other data, I’d love to see it.
Sorry for the misunderstanding but my comment was precisely why such usage stats are not made available to you, us, anyone else. Not “why you don’t publish them” but rather “where are they”?
This is perhaps the most confusing thing about WordPress. They take 2 steps favouring Gutenberg and then again back to classic editor. As a developer, I am always confused from past 2 years to use Gutenberg or Classic editor. To recommend using Elementor or Gutenberg. Honestly, we need a reason to recommend Gutenberg to clients.
The goal of the Classic Editor plugin is a transitioning tool. It is a way for classic users to make a decision for when the current editor is in a place they feel comfortable with. If and when that happens, they can simply move over. It is not really a step back to evaluate where a part of the user base is and extend the support window for them. However, it would be a step back to drop such a large number of them when there is no good reason to do so.
but sitting at 5+m active use… it does not seem like it is a transitioning tool. it is more of a statement of the community … an actual defiance
Not really. There are so many misconceptions about classic vs. block. The goal has never been (and still isn’t) to immediately or quickly move everyone over to the current editor. It has been to allow people to make a choice based on their individual needs. To let people continue using what they are comfortable with and try out the modern editor as it evolves. And, perhaps one day, move on to a different experience. Again, a transitioning tool.
Using the classic editor provides data that is useful for the core contributors. If Person A is using classic for Reason X or Person B is using it for Reason Y, those reasons provid vital info for improving the block editor.
5+ million installs is not a bad/good thing. It is not “defiance.” It is simply where we are at, and project leaders announced an “official” decision on something we all knew was already going to happen. If there are still that many or more in a decade, there will still be a classic solution. I guarantee it. Maybe we don’t call it a transitioning tool at that point — just another editor option.
Alternative editors are never a bad thing. The great thing about WordPress is that users have a choice in how they publish. Many, many folks love the block editor. Some simply like it. And, others tolerate it. And, millions more choose other options like Classic Editor, Elementor, Beaver Builder, Bricks, Iceberg, and others. Some people publish via email, desktop publishing software, or even copy/paste from MS Word and similar. WordPress makes this all possible. And, where there is a demand, the market always produces a solution.
” If there are still that many or more in a decade, there will still be a classic solution ”
Why we need to wait a decade ?
It would be much nicer to resolve it now, saying they will keep both editors for good.
I would be so happy not having to think of Gutenberg again.
A lot of things can change in the span of a decade. It’d be crazy to promise something will still be around in the time frame.
Such a classic solution need not come from core. I’d rather see a third-party providing fill that space in the future like with other editing solutions while core focuses on the default editor.
I always wonder what exactly counts as “classic editor”. Is it just the TinyMCE Editor? Or is is the whole classic interface with meta boxes etc? Because I can’t imagine the second one going away soon. For data-heavy post types (eg products in WooCommerce, helper CPTs) which consist mostly of custom fields, the block editor just doesn’t make sense.
I know you can build blocks which save their data to metadata, but still – the editor is all about typing and building experience, while data entry is a whole other use case. Dragging blocks around, changing styles etc just doesn’t make any sense here.
I think Automattic/WooCommerce will show how they think data entry can be handled in a modern WordPress admin. But as long as WooCommerce doesn’t make the switch, I’m not afraid of loosing the custom editing interface.
I always wonder what exactly counts as “classic editor”. Is it just the TinyMCE Editor? Or is is the whole classic interface with meta boxes etc?
This is probably the best question I’ve seen come out of this. And, I think it actually comes down to individual users and the tools they need.
If it is only the TinyMCE editor, many have found the Classic block to be a viable solution for what they need. Some simply prefer something a little closer to a plain text editing experience.
For others, it is the entire interface, including things like the older handling of meta boxes. It could be based on the reliance of specific plugins too.
I think Automattic/WooCommerce will show how they think data entry can be handled in a modern WordPress admin. But as long as WooCommerce doesn’t make the switch, I’m not afraid of loosing the custom editing interface.
It will be interesting to see what they do. If I were running the show, I would use neither the block nor classic editor for WC. Both seem to be fundamentally different than what is really needed for a product post type and that sort of data entry. I would lean toward creating a custom interface.
Of course, anything they do will need to take into account the massive third-party developer community.
100% agree with the comment Justin – it’s one reason we built our woobuilder blocks plugin as we don’t think rolling out a Gutenberg interface to all woocommerce users strategically or technically makes sense for the product page, but instead is better served as an optional plugin. WC product data is essentially structured data so I agree, if I was running the show, I’d build a unique interface for that purpose.
I’ve always wondered about the counter. Yoast claim to have over 11 million active installs here: https://yoast.com/about-us/community/creating-an-impact/
I thought you needed the core version from the repository to run Yoast and they have not gone beyond the 5+ million. Is there any official explanation of the how the counter works?
They should be counting back now after their acquisition by EIG. No good things are expected.
Certainly an unexpected sale. From the list of popular plugins I have assumed that the Classic Editor has over 8 million that is claimed by Elementor.
I’m surprised that both the Classic Editor and Disable Gutenberg continue to grow. The new users to WordPress I see are page building rather than blogging. They have a 3rd party editor and less reason to mute Gutenberg.
Maybe Yoast’s number includes their pro version? Or they combine downloads of all of their plugins?
Maybe. I assumed it meant the number of WordPress installs with Yoast active rather than individual components.
Anyway, that was a slight distraction it was Justin writing “we think the counter turns over at 10+ million” that got me back on my quest for an answer to this.
I just thought there might be someone here who knows how this internet stuff works 😉
I thought you needed the core version from the repository to run Yoast and they have not gone beyond the 5+ million. I
FYI The number of active installs in the repository does not go beyond 5+ million installs. When you browse wp.org Yoast is the second most popular plugin according to the stats. So the number of 11 million might be accurate.
So they go up to 5 million and stop displaying… they should FIX THE BUG…
Not sure if this is a bug or done on purpose, but I do agree to rather see more accurate numbers (why stop at 5 million). When you click on advanced view (on the right) it does provide a little more insight on download trends.
Following up, it is interesting to note Classic Editor is the third most popular plugin in the list… with 34 million downloads…
It is a curiosity that restoring an old capability is as important as enabling SEO or getting a Contact Form…
I simply avoid all things related to blocks, I am using the Disable Gutenberg plugin by Jeff Starr in all my sites.
Such a solid plugin, all Jeff’s are. He’s going to be the one I look to when core drop support. Same with Widgets, I was looking to try Gutenberg there for copy notices etc. But it broken every theme I have tried it on so far.
Disable Gutenberg takes care of Gutenberg Widgets too… at least these ones goes away with a single line of code.
When the Classic Editor goes I will move off WordPress. This isn’t a petulant threat, there are simply too many things I need that Gutenberg can’t deliver. There are too many things Gutenberg breaks.
Moving the site elsewhere will be hard, but the alternative is to close down.
Are you saying that the WordPress editor will never get to the point where it does what you need? If not, are there specific things that would bring that experience up to the level where it would be a viable solution for you?
I still say Gutenberg is a year off at least. At least it gets constant updates but then all the other major WordPress page builder plugins like DIVI and Elementor get updates as well.
I would like to know what you need that Gutenberg does not deliver yet as well.
Hi Bill: There is an alternative to WordPress for those who are leaving (or planning to leave) due to the block editor….ClassicPress is basically WordPress without Gutenberg.
Even if outdated, if you prefer faster editing, the Classic Editor is your choice.
I need to consider ghost at this point, because I don’t understand how forcing block editor and now block widget helps us… the block widget even modifies HTML codes
Sorry but, unless a clear and detailed solution is provided by Gutenberg core devs for plugins that make a heavy use of meta fields (ecommerce, event managers, helper CPTs, SEO, etc), I don’t see December 31, 2022 as a viable date for deprecating the classic UI.
Imo things like this should trigger fundational fork when authors fail to address majority preferences to keep things alive; users (publishers, writers) should be able to decide and retain functionality of what works best for them for many years not via extension but devoted support an enhancements with platform devs delivering the best of it, not force a paradigm shift. Classic WP has wider growth and use case adoption for a reason (it worked for many years). You want the entire platform be a data driven point a click, drag and drop twisted shift, well we all know how limiting these end up becoming. Diverge if you are that eager to be a “data driven (big words) upon abandoned data structures; forcing it upon a classic user will not get you there. It’s like guys you are being limited over time and should eventually have no choice but to use something that you do not want. WTF, why not get organized and fork it by the time then?, WP deserves to be forked if such attitudes are eenforced, keep it true to classic fundation, why not..
I think that’s why ClassicPress exists. They didn’t want Gutenberg and built a fork that focuses on the classic editing experience.
CP is a joy to work with, the only concern is support. I made a site with it a a while back, works fine still https://cpdeveloper.ie/. The only issue is lack of core support as many plugins are now not working. But the CP community is far more accessible imo to give feedback and it seems to have a far better view on the future. But at present is a hard sell to any client. If I cannot disable blocks I wont use or promote WP any further, no one can say Gutenberg is ready or when it will be. It also is very limited and is promoting adding plugins to it, all this is holistically wrong imo.
The problem with CP is they forked at WP 4.9 and today many plugins requires you are at lest WP 5.0 … we need continued support for Classic Editor or the generous support of Disable Gutenberg
I think the message from WP Community is clear if you stop supporting classic editor at least 55% of WP Community will be switching to other CMS
80% of my client told me they didn’t like the concept of the block editor, also if you are a developer/freelance please encourage your clients to use classic editor and the Block Editor will become a top-shelf showpiece.
Where did you get the “at least 55%”?
that’s a rough estimate based on growth which is based on your WP Survey status drawn from this article https://wptavern.com/wordpress-2019-survey-results-show-professionals-slow-to-adopt-block-editor-2020-survey-now-open
Sorry, I am still not seeing where 55% of the community would leave WordPress if the classic editor did not exist today. If it’s a rough estimate using a 2019 survey for data points from mostly WP professionals, at least provide us with an explanation of how you came to that conclusion.
I am genuinely curious because I have not seen anything remotely like what you’re saying.
I don’t know about 55%. But I also do know many web developers who manage WordPress clients, and build WordPress sites. And I don’t know a single one who actually likes Gutenberg. So I don’t think it is a crazy number either.
Hi, my name is Justin Tadlock. I am a film and book buff. I am a mediocre Halo gamer. I have six feline friends who live with me. And I manage a couple of sites outside of WP Tavern. I actually like Gutenberg. It’s nice to meet you.
Now that you know at least one such web developer, I would be happy to introduce you to others. 🙂
It is good that there is no pressing need for the transition. It could also be the reason why no one claimed there to be one.
The argument for the block editor could be much different, however. The WordPress editing experience was always sub-par for large swathes of users and needed to revolutionize itself to at least keep up with the modern web and hungry developers looking to dethrone the platform. If WordPress does not innovate and continue iterating on a better editor, it will fall to the wayside as easier-to-use systems take its place. Maybe that’s not the block editor for everyone, yet.
However, it is what we got. The best thing we can do is channel our energy into improving it. That means adding tickets, providing feedback on specific pain points, and discussing how we’d like to see things moving forward.
The main problem with the idea of
The best thing we can do is channel our energy into improving it. That means adding tickets, providing feedback on specific pain points, and discussing how we’d like to see things moving forward.
Is history. Remember when Gutenberg was starting up and the deciding everything CMS-like and remake WP as Medium / Squarespace. They removed MetaBoxes, describing them as “legacy” and said that a lot of what people used MBs for would be handled in future by blocks.
Many users “added their voices” and they were dismissed, and so things got very heated as we saw our “voices” and interests discounted.
Eventually things got so intense that the Gutenberg team agreed to leave metaboxes in Gutenberg, for now, and that half-solution persists to this day.
here’s an article from The Battle Of the MetaBoxes where the absolute crux of the issue is laid bare: https://wptavern.com/gutenberg-development-team-confirms-meta-box-api-will-not-be-formally-deprecated
CMS requirements versus Blog requirements?
Blogging has won the spec battle every time.
Think of a CMS feature which has made its way into Gutenberg.
What replaces the MetaBox which is new and shiny and better for developers and users? Is there a new Form API or something? An alternate Gutenberg layout for data entry? Nope. Nothing like that ever makes it in.
Anyone who was dismissed back then does not want to be engage fruitlessly again. can you really imagine them adding a new Data Entry mode? a Form display mode?
It’s never going to happen.
I was right there in the midst of all that too with a business that heavily relied on meta boxes continuing to work. I suppose we have different perspectives on that early history when the Gutenberg plugin was just a few months into development. I choose to view it as more a positive thing, a win where the plugin’s development team took into account what the developer community was saying. Is the product perfect at this point? No (neither was it in the past). But, it continues to become better.
There have been many times the project has not gone the direction I wanted it to, but I choose to help it improve where I can. If other folks don’t want to channel any energy into improvements today, that is their choice.
I think the wordpress community will fight to death on this. I have been contemplating this and preparing to leave WordPress as Gutenberg’s shadow looms big. The thing is as soon as you step outside the WordPress realm, you realise the world has actually transformed. Major competitors are way ahead than WordPress.com (note .com) and I think its a battle for survival for WordPress.com, the WordPress.org is being unnecessarily dragged into this.
I honestly don’t think the community will fight over this forever. The WordPress editor will continue improving, and more late adopters will eventually move over. The platform will unfortunately lose some users (it happens with any major change) but continue bringing in new users because of the editing experience.
As for Automattic and WordPress.com, they could have kept all of their resources in-house and built an editing experience just for .COM users. It would even be easier to do that. If they had done so, a major portion of the community would be up in arms for them hoarding all the cool stuff instead of putting that effort into the open-source WordPress project.
There are a lot of people who see the business logic when so many millions of $ are flying about at Automattic that building an editor purely in-house for WP.com doesn’t give the opportunity for the company to say how it / it’s (Automattic) contributions to WP core revolutionised 40%+ of the web.
Depending on perspective, it’s easy to argue for or against this popular theory.
But we’re way past saying now that what we are seeing in reaction to the GB project is just rants and conspiracy. There is a lot of conjecture for sure, but the old no smoke without fire comes to mind.
What’s really going on, why is this so divisive? Are we collectively not able to agree on important yet divisive aspects? And why does this so often now feel like the beginning of the end? I sway heavily to this glass half empty view, I don’t want to. But it’s where my instincts have taken me. I have friends working on the project, and I support them in their work – it’s good work. But I struggle in my support for the project as a whole.
Thanks for continuing to keep the discussion moving Justin. Change is difficult.
I for once support Gutenberg otherwise WordPress will be a Legacy CMS. Even, the Metabox library also has to go at some point. Change is difficult and the bigger the community the bigger the hurdle. Be strong, light the way the crowd will follow once they see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ve become comfortable (even happy) with Gutenberg. Yet, I still see why so many folks want to stick with the Classic Editor.
Continuing support for it is the right thing to do. And, as the article mentions, the amount of work that goes into maintaining it is minimal.
To me, it makes sense to offer users a choice. I can understand why WP wants everyone to move to the shiny new thing, but the software has always been about the ability to create a custom experience. If someone wants to keep using the Classic Editor for the next 5 or 10 years, so what?
That said, there will be some tradeoffs for these users. Some plugins may simply not work. But if enough users want something, the community tends to do a great job of providing options.
That’s why I think there’ll be some sort of classic editor solution for at least another decade. Even if it doesn’t come from core, there’s a market there.
More editors = more freedom of choice for more users.
The default WordPress editor, classic, Elementor, Beaver Builder, Bricks, Iceberg, and more already offer varying solutions for folks. And, we will undoubtedly see other options in the future. Heck, I write in a Markdown editor, copy, paste, and edit in WordPress. Everyone has their own preferences, and if the market is big enough, someone will step in. To me, this is a good thing.
We might even see a recreation of the classic interface on top of the block system. That would be a fun project.
Classic interface on top of the block system? Now I might even pay to see that put into action!
But I love the idea of being able to create/edit content in a way that works for the individual. That may be something no other CMS can offer. At least, not on the same scale.
I’d much prefer (for my user persona) to have GB literally replacing the space (with more vertical space of course) the TinyMCE editor occupied.
GB for me would have far less friction if it’s scope could be scaled back a bit in it’s default setup. Example: It’s default is the replacement for TinyMCE – it’s just swapped out in that px space. But, the user can choose a different persona mode for full site editing and we see it taking over the whole UI like it does now.
And Automattic extend it for their own needs accordingly.
As it is now, it’s not just the editor that can be improved to help reduce friction, one of the major issues as another commenter eluded to is how it’s forced the entire screen UI to have to change, which has caused untold challenges for so many use cases – not forgetting Woocommerce as also mentioned here.
Paul, I think you and I could be in the same place. Our identities have been shaped by our love for WordPress and its sense of community. Less so it’s technology. I think we are grieving.
We can talk about the pros and cons of the technology and speculate about the future as much as we like. Rationalizing is how we humans cope, but we are dealing with emotions.
I FELT control was taken from me when Gutenberg was pushed into core. Lost, powerless and diminished. As a plugin the Gutenberg project would have been a joyous thing to me. Even if I felt those on the project could genuinely empathise it would have gained some comfort.
Instead, it felt like a slap in the face. Of course, I have tried to say I did not like this slap, but the response has always been to ask (almost as if scripted) what specifically I did not like about being slapped. Followed by a commitment to further improved slapping..
Sometimes I think I must be going mad. I am in this wonderful community full of kindness, yet I feel bullied by this one year extension notification. Hurt all over again. I feel I am being “change managed” like an employee in a corporation.
I’ve always wanted to think of myself as someone forward looking who wants to push the boundaries, but in WordPress It seems I have to live with being labelled a laggard.
My grieving has not reached the acceptance point yet. I’m still fighting the early sense of injustice. I hope I will eventually find acceptance within WordPress itself.
You are not a Laggard David, and I also had to choose that one as the most relevant to where I stand / sit on this. We are La Résistance!
Ha ha. Cheers mate. I appreciate the support. Just be warned that at the first sight of electric pads, a flannel and a bucket of water I’ll sing like a canary.
We are both open to persuasion and happy to be proved wrong. Presently we both have WP users to support who depend on a stable UI. We brought them in to WP and owe it to them.
I recall a lot of people being taken aback by the fact that Gutenberg completely changed the entire editor screen – not just the editor itself.
Sticking meta boxes at the bottom of the screen was very frustrating. I often set up custom fields, some configured to display just below the page title. Gutenberg doesn’t allow it.
That’s a shame because it took a certain level of control out of the developer’s hands. And it made things more confusing for clients who were used to a specific layout.
Paul, that was one of my earliest arguments around the Gutenberg project. If the block editor had just replaced the content portion of the screen, it would’ve been an easier transition for many. Perfect the content editor first. Then, move forward by branching out to other areas.
I also think that if it had been pitched as only a plugin instead of “definitely going into core,” it would’ve gained crazy popularity early on. That approach worked so well for MP6 that I just didn’t understand why we didn’t continue down that route.
Yeah sure, but the problem is not whether Gutenberg is good or bad. The problem is why the heck did this had to be in core? One of the foundations of every CMS is the separation of design and content and this is one the main things WP does so well and this approach completely breaks.
I created my first pages with Gutenberg some weeks ago. I needed some page builder and it seemed more realistic to use Gutenberg compared to other solutions. But, compared to Classic Editor, Gutenberg is still in development. I read the articles of this blog and each new feature of Gutenberg could be used for these pages. But I won’t redo every month what I did yesterday! Classic Editor is not under heavy development. It’s a stable and finished product. The user knows how to use it and how it works. Gutenberg needs some learning each update of WP. Who needs to learn new tools every time there is a program update?
Overall, glad to see they are extending the classic editor, but I had a feeling they were going to do this anyway. I can still see when that time nears, they will extend it again.
Being as I develop WP themes, I make them compatible for both the block and classic editors, but I also make them compatible for ClassicPress. However, as things progress with WP, I am now going to begin making ClassicPress themes, separate. Combining three (3) flavors of a theme as one (1) is getting more challenging.
As a side note, I still say to this day that WordPress (Automattic) should have built the Gutenberg block concept as a complete separate CMS outside of “WordPress”. Then, people can choose whether to stay with the classic version or change to the new CMS/page builder of Gutenberg. Perhaps it would be called BlockPress.
I really wasn’t looking forward to using blocks but now that I have converted and now that patterns are viable I love the Blocks.
When I first started using WordPress years ago I came from a hard code html background so I use tp turn off the visual editor and kept using hard code then turn on the visual editor to see what it looked like – rinse and repeat.
And when people started ditching sidebars I looked for articles on how to turn them back on for my theme because I liked the look of sidebars. I have since moved away from sidebars.
There are some issues with Blocks that I have to manually work around or use the classic block to render but I am happy I made the change.
I am early user of the Block editor. I love the block editor and I would never go back to classic editor! It has some issue but they are making huge progress in everyday. Everyone who contributors their time to make the block editor better, I am grateful they amazing work.
I love Gutenberg and have used it from its beginning. However, when widgets became blocks, my 2 blogs were a mess! I couldn’t resize images no matter what I tried. Plus, I was unable to delete inactive widgets because the update and save features errored out. I like widgets for the promotion of myself and other bloggers. I became frustrated and called support. They were extremely helpful and toggled my blogs back to the Classic editor. So far, I cleaned up the inactive widgets and both blogs have a nice clean appearance. Hopefully, there will be an improvement in the functionality of the block widgets so I can have your folks toggle my blogs back to Gutenburg.
Many of the issues with block widgets will come down to theme support, unfortunately. Of course, there are bugs in the block widgets system itself, especially based on the problems you’re having. I’ve called it trying to fit a round peg (blocks) into a square hole (dynamic sidebars). They are fundamentally different systems under the hood.
I advocate sticking with classic widgets. Then, at some point down the line, move to a block-based theme. The traditional sidebar/widget system issues won’t exist in this scenario. It is 100% blocks.
Thank you for your response, Justin.
I have many clients who are somewhat infrequent/casual users of the sites I create and support for them. The Classic Editor interface is right for them because to them it looks like the interface of Microsoft Word. These users are not technical people. Like many MS Word users, they have people skills but struggle with some of the simplest tasks on a website. “Intuitive” is a very subjective term. An interface that’s “Intuitive” to one category of users is not necessarily intuitive to another category of users. These people who are strong in people skills and semi-handicapped in technical areas are not going to disappear. A certain percentage of the population is always that way. I wouldn’t think of trying to persuade them to use the block editor – it is very obviously not “intuitive” to them at all.
That’s my impression as well. Part of the problem with Gutenberg I think is that the people that drive its design do not interact with actual operators of sites. The poor UX becomes painfully clear when you try and help somebody over the phone to use Gutenberg and its very easy to just completely lose any bearing on what they are looking at, or what they have done because the interface is just so layered and so many UI elements aren’t even visible until you hover over them. This is something you don’t get helping somebody with the Classic editor, or Elementor, the experience is very consistent. The whole Gutenberg design is completely foreign to any other editor inside and outside of WordPress. You can of course teach somebody to use Gutenberg, but if they only use it once or twice a month, they just lose almost all familiarity with it in between uses.
I support just shy of 100 WordPress sites on an ongoing basis and the only positive thing said of Gutenberg consistently by clients is something to the effect of how neat the image filter options are, which I always find amusing from a visual consistency standpoint between pages/posts.
Genuinely worried about the future of WordPress since it’s clear to me that Gutenberg is designed first and foremost for WordPress.com. Now that some plugins are starting to shift to leveraging blocks more for settings etc, it’s become very clear at least to me that its just not going to work for actual business websites anytime soon. Starting to encounter plugins where they have part or all of their settings in a block, and it just makes little to no sense. I actually think part of the problem is that smaller plugin makers don’t even necessarily know to adapt to the change.
In my opinion, ultimately, Webflow and Shopify are going to start attracting more and more small business customers over the new editor, which is of course a shame. Notwithstanding the great work that is happening with Woocommerce to have a winning product.
GB is not just a problem for infrequent/casual users. I have been using page building software for over 30 years for print publishing. Back when the WWW was new I expected the leading print-publishing programs to eventually provide layouts for the WWW too. A few tried, but none succeeded. So I’m not at all averse to what GB wants to achieve. GB had the great foundation of WP to build on, which should have made their job easier.
Work on GB started 5 years ago. I think it is about time its proponents stopped asking for our patience. It is time to take a hard look at what they have and have not achieved.
I have found GB to be a slow, tedious, and frustrating way to create layouts and even worse for creating content. Page building should be quick and fluid, but GB’s user interface gets in the way. It does not facilitate work. It requires too many mouse clicks to perform basic functions and hides many important functions that should be readily at hand. Its screen display does not communicate how to operate it. A good user interface does not require that I RTFM.
GB’s primary elements are blocks. Others have tried creating layouts with blocks and eventually abandoned it. Using blocks is a naive assumption. GB’s creators should have figured out why it is so. GB’s focus should be on content. Blocks should be considered a necessary evil and their use minimized.
GB should have started with a deep analysis of a variety of page builders. There is a lot to lean from the 30+ years of digital page building that precede GB. I see no evidence that GB’s creators have done so. Thus GB looks like it was created in the 1990s. A very amateurish UI and functional concept.
Again, Gutenberg is a great tool but it’s extreme minimalism is killing it.
Just add some basic more visible rows and columns handlers and it would increase is user base in a snap
This is a very great core feature that has helped us for quite a while and I believe that it would’ve kept getting better once it is been released.
The latest edition is too complex compared to this classic editor..so sad it fading away now
Our WP editor is acting very oddly, and some of my content is not publishing correctly.
I use the classic editor and have not moved to Gutenberg, and until recently had no issues. I can’t pinpoint when this started, but as of late when I try to edit existing pages that are in draft mode, the editor box does not appear at all when the page is opened in the admin dashboard. If I publish the page and then go to edit the page then the editor is there, but of course, I don’t want to have to publish a page in order to edit it. We need a better solution sooner.
That really sounds like some sort of plugin or theme conflict. It might be a matter of disabling plugins, switching to a “default” theme like Twenty Twenty, and seeing if the issue persists.
I manage over 200 sites – all classic editor based. I love WordPress and am eternally grateful to the WordPress team – however, this issue really has me shaking my head. There is a good discussion going on at this post – with some very good points to be considered. https://wordpress.org/support/topic/unilateral-decisions-are-never-a-good-idea
I just don’t want block editor (we use our own) and cannot understand why it is being forced on users. If they ever remove the classic editor, it will be the end of WordPress.
the link was taken down !!!!
But why? Was anything there offending?
Original thread here: https://archive.is/EGhrJ
Thank you! interesting reading ….
The 5.8 WP update forced the Block Editor upon the widgets screen. I made a minor HTML edit in the Custom HTML widget and pressed the update button. This resulted in “There was an error. Invalid parameter(s): requests”. Quitting and reentering the widgets screen got me “The Custom HTML block was affected by errors and may not function properly. Check the developer tools for more details.” Using the Block Editor there was no way to publish my edits. It don’t work.
Message to Block Editor developers.
1) We are not your beta testers.
2) Error messages like this should never be displayed in a released product.
3) Don’t waste my time.
The block editor also eliminated user instructions that I had added to the top of the widgets screen.
Classic Widgets Plug-in: 5 stars
Block Editor: zero stars
To be sincere i have been surprised that both the Classic Editor and Disable Gutenberg continue to grow. The new users to WordPress I see are page building rather than blogging which has been the basis.
I do fully agree here.
I recall that during the ramp up to the first Gutenberg release, there were serious accessibility concerns, to the point where where a key member of the accessibility dev team actually resigned rather than give a tacit endorse of Gutenberg. No one disputed the issues raised by this individual (sorry can’t remember her name).
Two plus years later, have these accessibility issues been resolved, and I just overlooked the announcements?
Without the specific a11y issues, it’d be hard to answer the question. What I can say is that there are a11y issues listed as fixed in just about every Gutenberg plugin release change log and public announcement, which all get ported to core WP.
I recall that W3C dropped WP for consideration as their website platform over accessibility its issues.
Classic Widgets just reached 200k installs, 5 weeks after WP 5.8 was published, and Disable Gutenberg continues it’s growth at a steady pace.
I like to imagine that somewhere Thomas Kuhn and Everett Rogers meet once a week for coffee. The conversation is always the same. Kuhn pulls out a stack of papers and Everett Rogers goes through every page pointing out every instance where someone misused the term ‘paradigm’ and attributed it to him. Then Rogers pulls out a stack of papers and Kuhn does the same for all the ways people completely miss the point of everything Rogers ever wrote about the diffusion of innovation. The only thing I don’t like about my scenario is that I’m pretty much saying they’re both in hell, and I think they both deserve a lot better.
Roger’s 1962 book was about how farmers adopted new agricultural technologies and practices. I’d say farmers, as a group, are even more stubborn and set in their ways than web developers, though there are remarkable similarities in the amount of manure each encounters day-to-day. It was a landmark piece of scholarship. And it has almost no practical applicability to WordPress and Gutenberg, mainly because the focus was on products and practices that had already succeeded.
Gutenberg isn’t done. Heck, you still have theological debates over what Gutenberg even is. Seed corn doesn’t have that problem. VCRs didn’t have that problem (though individual VCR formats did. Betamax, anyone?). The Classic Editor plugin doesn’t have that problem. Disable Gutenberg doesn’t have that problem. They can be evaluated. They do a thing and people can kick the tires and talk about it and compare notes with others.
Automattic has the absolute right to try to rebuild the wings while the plane is still in the air. Would I have done it? Nope, but it’s neither my monkey nor my circus. And a lot of well-intentioned people are working very, very hard on it. I get that. I salute them. There’s nothing easy about any of it.
What does rub me the wrong way is the tut-tutting about being a “late adopter.”. Give me something to adopt. Something that works. Something that’s done. Then we can talk about growing corn. Until that point we’re just shoveling manure.
Approving your comment with an editor’s note that Automattic !== WordPress. They are not one in the same.
My error and the correction is certainly warranted.
Has there been any discussion about charging an annual fee for the Classic Editor. Would it not be worth the effort? Or can someone take over the entire upkeep and charge a fee.
Better charge for the Block Editor, the worst idea I have see.
Charging a fee for Classic WordPress would certainly hasten the future. After all, market dominance proves one can do no wrong. That the needs and desires of users are secondary to the creator’s exalted vision. WP can follow in the footsteps of other market dominators: WordPerfect, Palm, Yahoo, Kodak, Nokia, Blockbuster, Blackberry, MySpace, Commodore, Atari, Sears, Polaroid, RadioShack, Motorola, Borders, ToysRUs, Tower, Compaq, AOL… Obviously WP has nothing to worry about. It is the market leader so can do whatever it wants. WP’s future is guaranteed.
Hopefully readers of your (very true) comment are familiar with the concept of sarcasm, I found that more and more not existent in recent time.
Great comment Tom. I wonder if there is a common reason why huge market leaders come crashing down with everyone close to the brand seemingly in shock. I think there must be. It’s certainly a challenge I can’t even begin to appreciate at the scale WordPress is, but I’d say for sure that a misalignment or misunderstanding of customer needs with the actual users can be one of the key factor where a disruptor sneaks in and takes over. You look at Wix – way smaller market share, but valued 3x times that of Automattic – they could make a high impact move with the money and a market disrupting offer.
Jeff Starr does this with the awesome Disable Gutenberg and for free… don’t give him bad ideas!
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