Gutenberg search

Well, this is a different other blog altogether.

The new WordPress editor Gutenberg has been making rounds in the WordPress community and the CMS world.

In this blog, I interviewed Kasirye Arthur from Kasirye Labs, an all-rounder SEO and WordPress designer and Kevin Bazira a full stack mobile and web applications developer with over 5yrs in developing systems based on WordPress.

They both shared with me there experience working with WordPress and  Gutenberg editor in particular.

And in this blog, you’ll learn more from what each of them has been able to achieve using Gutenberg. 

Kasirye Arthur

the Designer

Arthur Kasirye is the go-to person about Digital design and Search Engine Optimization in the Uganda WordPress community.

He is a passionate web developer too and offers digital marketing services at Kasiryelabs.

He has over 6 years of hands-on experience efficiently designing websites and applications using WordPress. 

As well as a 5 badge WordPress contributor. (Meetup organizer, translation contributor, translation editor, WordCamp Kampala organizer, and speaker). 

And here, Arthur shares his experience working with Gutenberg Editior

1. What projects have you worked on with Gutenberg of recent

Vine Pulse a Christian based entertainment website which promotes events, shares news stories, and music.

Screen Shot 2018 12 19 at 11.16.08 AM

2. How does the process (developing/design) work now with WordPress 5.0?

If you’ve been using WordPress for a while, then you’ll know how much the platform has changed over time. Even individual updates often bring significant shifts.

For example, the 4.9 ‘Tipton’ update enabled users to schedule design changes in the WordPress Customizer so they can go live at later dates, just like post drafts.

WordPress 4.8, on the other hand, brought us plenty of widget updates. For example, if you wanted images in your widgets in the past, you had to add them manually.

Now, there are three dedicated media widgets for image, audio, and video files. Another of my favorite features of 4.8 was the option to check up on nearby WordPress events right from my dashboard, which is handy if you want to do some networking.

However, all the changes mentioned so far are pretty incremental. They’re useful, but not exactly game-changing.

Most WordPress updates have been more about taking small steps forward rather than major leaps – that is, until WordPress 5.0.

Design and development has quite changed in the latest release ie, The platform’s focus is moving towards a more intuitive site-building experience.

Well lastly, i believe page builders might lose some relevance with the introduction of Gutenberg.

Some of the page builders have included the integration of Gutenberg in there development although in the long run this could dissuade users to completely using Gutenberg than page builders.

3. What challenges does the process create? 

The only challenge with 5.0 is that the development and management of WordPress websites has become a little harder.

More especially to those that hadn’t prepared themselves to the big game changer of Gutenberg, I have witnessed this hands-on with clients who have totally failed to update their websites.

Because of the fact that they have been using the classic WordPress editor for the past 15 years of WordPress which exactly looked like Microsoft word.

The notion of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes up repeatedly from clients as many urge to leave Gutenberg aside and instead run the classic editor.

Still, I witnessed the fact that the classic WordPress editor after the first release of 5.0 the TinyMCE had over 700,000 downloads on the first day.

Compared to the Gutenberg plugin that had been released months back, meaning that it was hard for users to adjust to the new development.

4. What are the best things about this process?

Building custom themes become easier in 5.0.

In the past, you needed at least a simple development background to put together a WordPress theme.

With Gutenberg, theme creation will become much more accessible thanks to blocks.

The copy and paste routine is well executed through the embeds ie twitter among other social media platforms.

5. What are your thoughts on the future of Gutenberg (Phase 1,2,3) 

Gutenberg has created a new way in publishing through making styled blocks, this has increased efficiency, performance and will see portable child theme development in terms of theming.

Am also looking at how Gutenberg in the future will be able to leverage the block options functionality to enhance creators stay within their self-imposed style-guides. (suggesting theme colors, fonts, etc. in the block admin UI) to help content.

6. Any advice to WordPress devs/designers getting into Block building, plugins and themes in WP 5.0?

Beginners should know exactly what the purpose of Gutenberg is ie according to the Gutenberg plugin description “The goal of the block editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable.”

As this is a moral compass that will lead them to an exact path on development and building great designs.

Intermediates & Advanced users should have atleast enough coding experience on how to work with php as well as the Gutenberg blocks library.

How to use plugin variables but most of all following the Gutenberg handbook as all the answers are in the documentation.

7. What concerns do you have maybe your thoughts on Gutenberg? 

To some people blocks appear cumbersome for creating high volume content and as a fact some people consider it as a page builder because of this, many find it lacking.

8. What would you like to see improved?

Apparently, I find the Gutenberg too focused on blogging I would love to see this change perhaps in the next release maybe for Gutenberg to expand to even pages (but again won’t this qualify for a page builder then?)

Recommended: Guide: How To Make A WordPress Website With Gutenberg For Beginners in 2019

Kevin Bazira

the Developer

One word I would use to describe Kevin Bazira is, an award winning all round software developer.

He has developed systems for financial institutions (Banks and Saccos) and worked with clients world over.

He started his journey with WordPress in 2014.

As he was walking out of a bank after providing technical support for a database security solution when one of the bank staff he’d worked with asked him whether he could help them align an image on their WordPress site.

He had heard about WP but this was the first time he was going to work with it. His client logged into the site’s admin section that used the Classic Editor.

Further on

We intuitively walked through the process of aligning images together. After we were done, he thanked me and heaped praise on me for “knowing so much” about things I.T and Software.”

This was when he really got interested in WordPress.

It was so simple to use and we had made this change in a much shorter time compared to the sites I was building from scratch.

Soon after this incident, my next website project was a Hotel site and I decided to use WordPress to build it.

I scoured the web for resources on how to build a WordPress site and quickly fell in love with the WP community. There were so many WP themes and plugins out there that would enable one put together a fully-fledged website in a very short time.

Within two weeks, I delivered a hotel site to my client with all the features they’d requested for including accommodation booking and online payment.

As they say, the rest is history. To date, I build sites with WP and also give back to the WordPress community by building open-source plugins and themes. I’ve also contributed PRs to Gutenberg the new WordPress block editor.

1. What projects have you worked on with Gutenberg of recent?

I’ve developed, actively maintain and provide support for both open-source and premium Gutenberg plugins namely;

i. Algori 360 Image Gutenberg Block Plugin

Algori 30 image

A WordPress Gutenberg Block Plugin that enables users to easily add 360° images to their website.
This same plugin was featured by Matt Mullenweg the co-founder of WordPress in his Keynote at WordCamp US 2018.

ii. Algori 360 Video Gutenberg Block Plugin
This enables users to easily add 360° videos to their website.
Besides the two Algori Plugins, Kevin has developed and published several other plugins and themes including the Algori PDF viewer, slider and an out of the box blogger WordPress theme. 

All these tools are compatible with Gutenberg and are open source.

2. How does the process of developing work now with WordPress 5.0?

As opposed to the past, now the process of developing blocks for WordPress 5.0’s new Gutenberg editor involves using modern JavaScript mainly because Gutenberg is built with React.

3. What challenges does the process create? 

Because most browsers don’t support modern JavaScript yet, Gutenberg developers have to configure their development environments to transpile code they’ve written in modern JavaScript to a version that browsers can run.

It usually takes quite some time to configure modern JavaScript tools like Node, npm, Webpack, ESLint and Babel among others, before one actually starts to write code for their block.

4. What are the best things about this process?

This process enables developers to re-use components within other projects, for-example my Gutenberg Emoji block plugin uses the RichText component built by another Gutenberg developer.

Also once you’ve setup your Gutenberg block development environment well, it boosts your productivity as a developer because most tasks will be automated like transpilation, package management, module bundling, linting, minification, and unit testing among others.

5. What are your thoughts on the future of Gutenberg (Phase 1,2,3) 

The future of Gutenberg is exciting.

Phase 1 focused on bringing blocks to the classic WordPress editor, Phase 2 will focus on site customization where blocks will be brought to the website Menu and Widgets.

Then Phase 3 will focus on collaboration and multi-user editing where multiple users will be able to edit a page the same way multiple users can work on a Google doc at the same time.

I look forward to the future of Gutenberg as it will open up more possibilities and opportunities for web development.

6. Any advice to WordPress devs/designers getting into Block building, plugins and themes in WP 5.0? 

This cuts across. For one to develop Gutenberg blocks;

  1. Learn JavaScript deeply (especially ES6)
  2. Know HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP & React
  3. Read the WordPress plugin development handbook
  4. Read the WordPress Gutenberg development handbook
  5. Read the WordPress coding standards
  6. Use create-guten-block or any other block development toolkit of your choice
  7. Reference the Gutenberg plugin code on GitHub

7. What is your timeline for implementing a feature in the plugin or block or layout with Gutenberg now onboard?

It usually depends on what the feature does. But just to give you a picture – there are blocks I’ve built within 2 weeks and they go to the market fully documented and there are blocks I’ve built upwards of a month.

8. What concerns do you have maybe your thoughts on Gutenberg? 

I listened to a podcast interview conducted by Josh Dailey of WPMU DEV with a blind man trying to use Gutenberg and his experience was not the best because he kept failing to navigate the interface.

So, accessibility in Gutenberg needs to be improved so that people with disabilities can easily use it.


In closing

Gutenberg is one of the biggest changes WordPress has ever released into core in the last decade.  The mixed reactions from WordPress users and developers world over grabbed my attention and so the reason I thought to have this interview.

Arthur and Kevin are well known in the Uganda WordPress community and having them here share there thoughts on how much we can achieve with WordPress 5.o is an honour for me.

Hope this post brought you value.

See you in the comments section.

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Hamza comes from a design background with over 10years of experience in Web and Media design. He enjoys making web design videos on his YouTube channel GoTechUG. He also writes web design articles on this website. In his free time, Hamza loves riding a bicycle, swimming or going hiking.

2 thoughts on “Interview: Endless Possibilities with WordPress Gutenberg Editor”

  1. What an interesting read? I couldn’t agree more with everything shared.

    My view about what’s largely emphasized by the Designer (Arthur), about Gutenberg literally becoming a pageBuilder is that, I believe it’s possible but the it shouldn’t give any pageBuilder brand headache.

    I think pageBuilders are in a strong position to empower Guternberg so that it fits anywhere at any position of the theme. In addition to having pageBuilders ship with custom features especially for niche bloggers, developers and the community. I won’t cite a particular feature but as we all know in the creative industry the possibilities are endless.

    What Kevin said about the hardship of setting up a Guternberg developer environment, is absolutely true especially for casual JavaScript developers. Wouldn’t it ignite someone’s creativity and start a form of agency or enterprise to ease developers’ lives by offering out of box developer environments? Just thinking.

    Thank you

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