A new publishing experience for Drupal is in the works: get ready to make your words, pictures, and layout look as good on screen as they do in your imagination, without any code.
You might have heard of this project — it’s called Gutenberg, after another invention that revolutionized publishing — but are wondering what it means for you. Who will see the biggest difference, and what it will change for your everyday workflows? Everyone, and everything. The Gutenberg editor uses blocks to create all types of content, replacing a half-dozen inconsistent ways of customizing Drupal, bringing it in line with modern coding standards, and aligning with open web initiatives. These content blocks transform how users, developers, and hosts interact with Drupal to make building rich web content easier and more intuitive, democratizing publishing — and work — for everyone, regardless of technical ability.
It’s great that so many people think Drupal is the best way to get their ideas on the web, and it’s easy to unlock the power of Drupal if you know how to write code — but not everyone does. And now, you won’t need to.
Discover the new experience
We want as much feedback and real-world testing of the experience as possible, so we’ve released it as a plugin for anyone to try. To experience this new way to work with WordPress, head to your site’s Dashboard and go to the Plugins menu item. Click on Add New, and type “Gutenberg” in the search box.
What is a block?
One of the things you hear a lot about during discussions of Gutenberg are blocks. These blocks are a unified way to style content that currently requires shortcodes, embeds, widgets, post formats, custom post types, theme options, meta-boxes, and other formatting elements. By allowing rich customization without deep knowledge of code, blocks make good on the promise of WordPress: broad functionality with a clear, consistent user experience.
The current WordPress editor is an open text window—it’s always been a wonderful blank canvas for writing, but when it comes to building posts and pages with images, multimedia, embedded content from social media, polls, and other elements, it required a mix of different approaches that were not always intuitive:
- Media library/HTML for images, multimedia and approved files.
- Pasted links for embeds.
- Shortcodes for specialized assets from plugins.
- Featured images for the image at the top of a post or page.
- Excerpts for subheads.
- Widgets for content on the side of a page.
As we thought about these uses and how to make them obvious and consistent, we began to embrace the concept of “blocks.” All of the above items could be blocks: easy to search and understand, and easy to dynamically shift around the page. The block concept is very powerful, and if designed thoughtfully, can offer an outstanding editing and publishing experience.