Back at the very end of 2019, I took the decision to start using the WordPress Block Editor. I had previously been using some open source software called “Open Live Writer” or OLW for short. I had been quite happy with this but had been told (by one of the so called “Happiness Engineers”) that the OLW software was out of date and would no longer work with future versions of WordPress. So I stopped. It hadn’t been updated since 2017 so I believed they could be correct. There also seemed to be some issue with images being duplicated in the gallery.
I struggled on with the Block Editor for a while and then found that I could use Microsoft Word as a blog editor. As I had experience with Word, I gave that a go. Worked reasonably well, so I began using that. However it soon became clear that some of the posts were not formatted correctly, so I went back to the Classic editor. It’s not a very exciting editor and is no longer being developed by WordPress. I flirted with an application called “Net Writer 2” but that was not successful so I returned to the Block Editor and that has been my editor since.
After a few tests, the issue with the duplication of images remains, and the only way around this is to save draft posts locally before posting them as a final draft on my blog. So at the end of the day, the Block Editor lives to ride again.
I’m having an issue with the WordPress Block Editor currently. It’s to do with adding ‘tags’ to the post. I use ‘tags’ quite a lot as I feel they can draw people’s attention to the post’s ideas. Recently, however, a problem has arisen.
I usually add ‘tags’ at the end of writing the post as it gives me a reason to re-read the post and check for any typos or other errors. I occasionally add the ‘tag’ whilst composing the paragraph. This has served me well over the years, and there are a great many ‘tags’ in my Tag Database on this blog
The problem I have is (bear with me as it is not as complicated as it seems) that if the word I wish to use as a ‘tag’ is not in the ‘Tag Database’ then typing in the Add New Tag box in the editor, the new ‘tag’ is not saved if I use the ‘Enter’ key. I can use the comma key and the ‘tag’ is saved, but not if I use the Enter key.
I have raised a support call, but I don’t think they really understand the problem. The solutions (all of which have failed) have ranged from “using too many tags” and “clearing the browser cache” to “logging on to a different network” and “rebooting the router“. It was even suggested that it may be the theme that was the problem. I have tried three different browsers on my laptop all with the same result. The only browser that I didn’t have the issue with is the Safari browser on my iPad. However, that is not a practical solution.
As it has only just started to happen (in the past two/three weeks) I suggested that the problem may have been caused by the latest update. That didn’t go down too well with the “Happiness Engineers.”
It is very baffling and a little bit of a bind to use the comma when I’m used to just typing and pressing enter.
Update: I think I have found the root of the issue. From my many times of entering data into various spreadsheets, I came to the conclusion that the Enter key on the numeric keypad was the fastest key to use. This has led to me always using this key as opposed to the main keyboard Enter key. I discovered quite by chance that the tag will be saved if used the main Enter key. I have reported back to WordPress and am awaiting their next response.
I don’t like the Gutenberg Block editor. I feel constrained when adding images by the way I am forced to let the image sit at the top of the block. It’s either left-aligned or right-aligned, but always at the top of the block. It used to be the case that an image could be placed anywhere in the paragraph and the text would wrap around that image. This was most useful, especially if you are writing a longer paragraph and feel the need to add an image halfway down the text. The top of a text paragraph is not always the most appropriate position for an image. Here you can see that the image appears to be embedded within the paragraph, and you can see that it is relevant to the text.
I have tried a number of 3rd party editors much to the disgust of the WordPress mafia, team. who appear to think that the block editor is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Open Live Writer, which was an open-source replacement for Windows Live Writer, was my favourite, but that has not been actively developed for over 5 years. Microsoft Word is good but I need to do a little bit of work to get the display of the post to look correct. However, there is an excellant tutorial on https://weeklyprompts.com/ website/blog (NB: I must re-read this again) along with many more helpful downloadable files.
So, I may have to go back to the Classic Editor, with which this post was written. Any suggestions to the WordPress team/support/forum is met with the classic “Thank you for reaching out ...” (whoever coined that phrase needs help) followed a day or so later with “We are not currently looking to blah, blah, blah…“
I recently tried a Windows app called Net Writer 2. From the information in the Microsoft Store this app “…Net Writer helps you write blogs. WordPress, Movable Type, Livejournal, Google Blogger and MetaWeblog based blogs are supported…”. To be honest, it not worth the time it takes to download. It looks clumsy and dated and has an interface that looks like it has been built by a seven year old.
I recently had a brief (very brief) discussion with an ex-colleague, about using the Classic Block. I know when I post using Word as my editor, the post can be saved as draft and that when edited before final publishing, the post opens up in a Classic Block. But a ex-work colleague suggested that it is a bit of a halfway house between the Classic Editor and the Block Editor, and that I shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.
I had a short flirt with the Classic Block when it first raised its head, but it was nothing serious and I deleted the post without publishing it. The main aim was to understand the idea behind it. I now understand a lot more and thought I would have a play around and see what mess I could come up with.
I have to admit, it seems a little better that the full Block business, but there are a few little niggles that would help it on its way. A way of being able to move an image around the post would be great. I don’t think it would be too difficult to include a Full Justification button, which would help when keeping your work to certain style. It would certainly be useful if the WEBP image format could be used. I’ve recently found that for many images WEBP comes in at about half the file size of a JPEG (or JPG). Helpful if you use larger images.
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Lastly … does anyone actually call the Block Editor, “Gutenberg” ? Whenever I hear the word, I usually think about the internet book resource Project Gutenberg. Just a wondering.
I have this feeling that the Classic Editor my soon be on it’s way out.
Given that thought, I’m determined to have another crack at mastering this Block Editor. The issue I have is the formatting of images. I prefer to have my images either left or right aligned with the text wrapping justified at the side of the image. The only way that I have found to do this, is to insert the image before I start to write the accompanying text. This not the way I am used to. Often as I’m writing, I get the inspiration to add an image. I suppose, if I wish to use the Block Editor, I will have to think about images first.
Now, when you look at this post with it’s aligned random images, you can see another issue. The top of the images do not appear to align with the top of the text, which looks rather odd as you can see in the first image. .
Another issue is that there does not seem to be a way to remove the caption area from below the image. For most of my posts, the image is there to add a touch of personality to the post. I rarely need to add an attribution or a description of the image.
However, I’m beginning (slightly) to get to like parts of this editor. The posts do look reasonable on a tablet and a phone. I’m now wondering if there is any way to change the default font. I can see that there are a variety of font sizes available but not sure about font type. Need to do further digging.
At the end of last year, in fact my last post of the year I mentioned that I was going to stick with Open Live Writer as opposed to the WordPress block editor. I was also occasionally using BlogPad Pro on my iPad. But things have changed a little since then.
I had read about my sites Media Library and decided to have a look and see what was in there. I was rather shocked to find that most of the images I had uploaded for my posts had duplicates. They didn’t appear to be taking up much space, but I wanted to know if it was ‘the norm’ to have duplicated images.
I posted a query on the WordPress forum and after a few questions and answers, it became clear that it was the desktop software (Open Live Writer and BlogPad Pro) that were causing the images to duplicate. It looks like a thumbnail image was being created when the main image was uploaded which was linked to the main image. As I understood it, deleting the thumbnail image would prevent the main image from showing or something like that.
The crux of it all was that the only way to prevent this happening was to use the block editor. It was also suggested, that as I prefer to use desktop software to write a post, that I should use the WordPress app instead.
This is the last (probably) post of 2019 and in a spirit of adventure, I am attempting to use the WordPress ‘Block Editor’ as opposed to my usual editor ‘Open Live Writer’. I’ve used Open Live Writer (OLW)ever since the demise of the Windows Live Writer (WLW). The last release of WLW, which was part and parcel of the the Microsoft Essentials package, was back in 2012 and the software was finally discontinued in 2017.
I have also used Microsoft Word as my editor, which given the complexity of that software, works quite well. At the end of the day, you have work with what works best for you, and as OLW is very simple to use, I’m probably going to stick with that. Although it has not been updated since 2017 which may mean I have to think again soon.
I am not entirely convinced that the Block Editor is for me. I think it might take me a little more time to get used to it, but for now I think I will stick to Open Live Writer. Better the devil you know and all that.
So I’ll just wish everyone a Happy New Year, and here’s to the next one
I wrote the ‘coincidence‘ post, as this one, using the new Block Editor. I’m determined to get the hang of it somehow. It became clear that the spell checker that was being used was using a US English dictionary when it tried to make me spell ‘theatre’ as ‘theater’. This is all well and good if you’re an American writer, but I wanted UK English . Try as I might, I could not find a setting that related to the spell checker. Both Bing and Google did not help, so I post a topic in the WordPress.com support forum and waited.
One of the more obscure Bing articles mentioned that WordPress uses the browser dictionary. But if I’m using the WordPress Windows Store app, surely that does not use the browser? I couldn’t find a language setting in the Opera browser, so I had a look at Internet Explorer 11 settings, which picks up it’s language from the Windows settings. It was there that I found it. The ‘Country or Region’ setting showed the UK, but the ‘Display Language’ setting was showing ‘English (United States)”. In order for me to use the ‘English (United Kingdom)’ setting, I had to download a language pack from Microsoft. Who decided that we are all American?