Thoughts about Gutenberg from a WordPress Product Developer’s Perspective


3 min read

Ever since WordCamp US, I’ve started writing and publishing Gutenberg blocks on as part of my GutenKit CoBlocks project. I wanted to share, and reflect upon, a few quick-fire thoughts I had after some solid conversations about Gutenberg with other WordPress folks.

So here they are:

  • It will be interesting to see exactly how Gutenberg and WordPress themes will interface. I personally lean towards as much objective styling as possible, without forcing structural limitations, or interfering with subjective styles.
  • Will we see more WordPress plugins that add blocks for any WordPress theme to style, or more WordPress themes that add specific blocks to itself?
  • Gutenberg block philosophy requires a fundamental change in how we as developers view the ominous options verses decisions mindset. It’s not about our decisions anymore. It’s about our users’ choices.
  • I wrote this post within the current “Classic” editor. After experimenting with Gutenberg for the last couple of months, it feels like I’m composing this article with both hands tied behind my back. Now I appreciate Gutenberg on a whole different level. ?
  • The purpose of Gutenberg is to empower people to create content – not force styling and layouts on users. All subjective design choices should ultimately be left to the user.
  • It’s time to start thinking of Gutenberg outside the context of standard blog posts. Gutenberg is so much bigger than that.
  • It’s important that we’re consider the average WordPress user when we’re developing blocks. Not the average professional developer.
  • It would be so much easier for WordPress themes to style Gutenberg blocks accurately if the borders that display around focused blocks were removed (thus removing the padding that the UI requires when borders are added).Otherwise, theme developers will have to hack away at each block’s margin and padding to try and get things to display one-to-one. Or developers just won’t even try (which is honestly much more likely).
  • Will the “Gutenberg” name stick around when it lands? Probably not.
  • Agencies and freelancers are legitimately concerned about how Gutenberg will affect their past client’s websites. We need to make more of an effort to educate and inform those folk of the available options.
  • Don’t deploy scare tactics your clients with an “upcoming massive change that will most definitly break your site in half“. Gutenberg is a positive change. Change is hard – nobody is denying that – but your attitude affects how hard that change will be.
  • If Gutenberg wins, we all win. It’s about making WordPress more relevant – for everyone.