June 2, 2020
The pre-Gutenberg editorial experience in WordPress leaves much to be desired. There is the ostensibly what-you-see-is-what-you-get content editor that is invariably augmented with meta-boxes to collect additional information about how the post should be displayed, including content that appears above or below the post body, or in a sidebar, or inserted into the post’s metadata. There are two primary problems with this approach—it is necessarily non-visual, and relies heavily on using post previews to understand what the published post will look like; and it is rigid, because PHP templates control what appears where outside of the free-form content editor. Gutenberg, properly utilized, solves both of these problems by bringing content into the primary editor flow as blocks which can be fully visualized and re-ordered, allowing content editors to see and understand what a post will look like and how it will behave before publishing, without needing to continually refresh a post preview.
This talk discussed how developers can support content editors and publishers by moving away from meta-boxes to custom blocks and post-level metadata. I explained how to think Gutenberg-first during design and development, and showcased examples of these approaches in practice.