Varna WordPress Meetup — March 2018 (Gutenberg)

Today, I attended a local WordPress meetup. The topic was related to the new major feature of WordPress called Gutenberg that is going to be added to the WordPress platform soon.

One of the speakers was Koji; she is a business specialist and a content developer. The other one was Nikola; he is a lead developer. They both are co-founders of Paiyak Development. You can find more about these passionate persons on https://paiyakdev.com/

The first part — introducing WordPress Gutenberg

During the first part of the session, Koji described where the Gutenberg name comes from. She asked the audience if they knew what Gutenberg means, and a person from the crowd answered: “This is the first printing press.”.

After that, she explained what WordPress Gutenberg is and how it can be installed easily from the WordPress dashboard without any programming skills.

Additionally, she talked about a couple of rumors regarding WordPress Gutenberg. Two of them were:

  • Gutenberg is terrible
  • site owners won’t need developers anymore when Gutenberg is added to the core

Both of them aren’t true, she confirmed. I personally agree with her.

She encouraged us to give our feedback on Gutenberg at https://wordpressdotorg.polldaddy.com/s/gutenberg-support

The second part — developing a custom Gutenberg block

Once Koji finished her amazing talk, Nikola continued the session and started setting up his development environment. He was going to show us how we could create a new Gutenberg block from scratch.

Firstly, he said that everything in Gutenberg is a block and there is a helpful toolkit called create-guten-block we can use for creating these. It can be set up quickly by following the steps on its Github repository page.

Gutenberg is based on React, and if you’re going to create your own blocks, you should be specialized in this JavaScript framework and ES2015 in addition to PHP.

Back to the Nikola’s talk, two main block types were noted by him (static and dynamic). The essential part of the block types is that the dynamic blocks don’t store any data in the blocks themselves, but they use PHP and meta fields to render the data on the front-end part of the sites. On the other hand, the static blocks can be fully created using only JavaScript.

While our Gutenberg guru was creating the demo block, he demonstrated how vital it is to dive into 3rd party code if you need to find something(in our case he reviewed the code of the default Gutenberg blocks to prepare the demo block). This technique is even quicker than using Google, he mentioned.

If you’re curious how the Gutenberg block API works, please feel free to go through its documentation on https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/handbook/

At the end, Nikola showed how dynamic and static custom blocks could be built with live examples, and the meetup was closed with a few questions. One of them was about what would happen with the WordPress Customizer. He answered this feature would still be available in the near future because Gutenberg isn’t ready yet to replace both the WordPress editor and Customizer.

After the meetup

When I came home, I wanted to try Gutenberg and started writing this post. I’m impressed with how great that tool is and how it is going to change the future of WordPress. It is easy to use and it allows you to organize your content without any issues.

In my opinion, the existing classic WordPress editor should be replaced by Gutenberg because this change will open a lot of new opportunities for WordPress and people who use it.

If you haven’t tried Gutenberg yet, you can download it for free from https://wordpress.org/plugins/gutenberg/