I should note that I continue to remain positive about the direction of the Gutenberg project (the new WordPress editor, coming to you as of WordPress 5.0). My feelings on this are numerous and expansive, but the long and short of it is that I believe WordPress core needs a major shakeup to help the community (re)develop focus and draw in engaged and effective technical participants. Gutenberg represents a wonderful opportunity to do that as it brings a new paradigm to the core editor (and likely elsewhere as the foundational technology expands into other areas of site management) and has the potential to draw in a new wave of web developers.
That said, the introduction of Gutenberg into core has been an interesting thing to watch. From afar, the concerns of the Accessibility Team seem to clearly show the divisions between WordPress as an open source project (WordPress.org) and as a commercial one (WordPress.com). Here is a report from the WordPress.org team on the current state of accessibility in Gutenberg.
The report above is not a positive one. It mirrors the feelings of just about every comment thread on WP Tavern about the new editor: Gutenberg is not ready for the 32% of the internet that WordPress supports.
From close up, as LexBlog works to ensure when we make Gutenberg available to our clients, our concerns are more reflective of the WordPress project as a whole. The documentation of the various APIs and entry points to working with Gutenberg is lacking. The ways that the new editor interacts with foundational parts of WordPress are vastly different from the old editor, and we’ve run into all three flavors of compatibility that Daniel Bachhuber articulates in his own post about Gutenberg.
And for me personally, this is all viewed through the lens of LexBlog’s publishers working inside this new publishing experience.
On the one hand, I think this change represents a great opportunity for our community as we represent one of the largest content-driven networks of professionals on the internet that use WordPress to produce valuable intellectual property for lawyers around the world. We can learn from thousands of publishers in real-time and update the platform as we get feedback to better tailor the editor for bloggers.
On the other hand, I don’t want a single one of our publishers to come into this new editing experience and leave without being able to publish content efficiently and effectively. I don’t want them to struggle to find the right interfaces, or find out that the new approach to managing content ignores the way they’ve been publishing for years. I also don’t want to put our product team in an impossible position of supporting a part of WordPress core that the core team itself seems disinterested in supporting (if you’ve read through some of the Github issues or documentation stubs that we have, you’ll understand why I feel this way).
This is a hard and complex issue. I don’t have an answer. It doesn’t seem like anyone at WordPress.com or WordPress.org does either. The reality (and I’ve said this many times before) is that Gutenberg will come into WordPress core at some point. When and how remains to be seen, but it’s on the way, and again, I view this as a good thing.
That doesn’t mean it feels like a good thing right now.