Sunday, May 3, 2020

WordPress: Gutenberg, Elementor, Divi

Block Editing is a new way to look at data! 

"Block editing" is a new phrase in WordPress, but it actually describes a massive shift in the way we look at content.

The idea of block editors has been around for a long time (a long time in "Internet time" BTW) with page builders and plugins. Divi, Beaver Builder and Elementor are familiar names within the WP community.

In 2018 WordPress released "Gutenberg" ~ much to the dismay and protests of WordPress developers around the world. The WordPress community immediately jumped in with plugins. One early plugin was titled "No Gutenberg – Disable Gutenberg Block Editor" and another was "Classic Editor."

Millions of WordPress developers didn't want to change, and wanted to  to retain the classic editor. In 2019, there was a scramble for other work-arounds. (Change is still slow, today.)


My own "Aha!" moment came when I was learning an entirely different tool, Microsoft Publisher. I realized that many concepts in Publisher could be applied to Gutenberg.

In Publisher, content was created in blocks. Then the writer moves the blocks around on the page, and resize it to make it fit in the columns.

That sounded a lot like Gutenberg.

Block Editor History

In 2019, the Gutenberg concept was rebranded to be a "block editor."

Developers added plugins which extended the library of Gutenberg blocks. I have just created 4 pages. The first page is "published" so that I could use that as a parent page. The next three are intended to be edited independently from each other.
Notice that I intend to use the "Classic Editor" for file number 1. No blocks are involved. the next two use blocks.

File #2 ("Block Editor") is formerly known as Gutenberg, and it is the basic/default alternative to the Classic Editor. I've discovered that each page can use either the Classic Editor or the Block Editor.

I created the third file to see if it could use the Elementor plugin block editor. (Yes, it can.)

But I've digressed...

A New Way of Looking at Content

The old way of presenting content on a page was the equivalent of creating a "white paper" as a document, then moving it to a web page. One moved, the webmaster adds formatting (titles, paragraphs, etc.)

The new way is to break content into discrete bits of information, put them into individual boxes, then arrange the boxes (blocks).

This article, for example, has a couple pictures, a few headlines, and a lot of paragraphs.

Here is a tutorial that shows one way to use the discrete blocks:
(Hmm... The video suggests drawing the page on a piece of paper.)

Block Editing is confusing, for now

Currently, I find it difficult to write directly to a WordPress web page that has block editing enabled. When I press the [Enter] key for a carriage return, I find the new block that opens up to be very distracting. I am focused on creating content while I'm typing; I'm in the zone (so to speak).

Fortunately, someone in the YouTube group for Elementor pointed me to this page:
The page lists each block in Elementor, and shows me a complete toolkit for the plugin.!

Creating Content, Microsoft Word, 
WordPress and Block Editors

Here is how I plan to proceed in the future:
  • I will launch Microsoft Word on my local machine. I've been using Word for decades and I'm comfortable working in it. I'll save the works-in-progress file to a cloud drive.
  • I'll open the WordPress dashboard when I'm satisfied with the content I've created in my Word document.
  • Next, I'll start a new page and select either a block editor or Edit with Elementor. That choice will depend on the time of day and the phase of the moon.
  • The next step will be to copy a paragraph, open a block, then paste it in.
    • FYI: the combination [CTRL]-[SHIFT]-[v] will paste just the plain text, with no formatting from the Word document
  • Finally, I'll re-arrange the blocks to my satisfaction. I'll finish off the page with the usual processes:
    • Preview in tablet mode, and make appropriate changes
    • Preview in phone mode, and make appropriate changes
    • Review SEO settings
    • Update Snippets

Following the process...

Right now I am in technical/mechanical mode, looking up SEO plugins and connecting to Social Media. I plan to update this article with links to web pages where I've used Word as my starting point. You'll find the posts below:


Bibliography and Credits


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