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been quite happy with this but had been told (by one of the so called “Happiness Engineers”) that the OLW software was out of date and would no longer work with future versions of WordPress.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 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.
I am still looking to find a better way to write a post, without using the WordPress Block Editor. I have given up on using Open Live Writer which was billed as the direct Open Source replacement for Windows Live Writer. There has been no work improvement on the software and recently has stopped working with Google Blogger. I don’t use Blogger much, but it was good to have an alternative.
I decided to have a go with Microsoft Word. I’ve wanting to try for a while, but it seems from what I have heard, that it is not a good place to blog. I have to agree with some points, that it is not the easiest of editors to get used to. For one, there is no way to add tags to a post. I scoured the internet for an answer and the only thing I could come up with is to post as a draft, then edit in WordPress to add tags. So that is what I have tried here and have discovered that it is quite feasible to this, although it does take more time and the post ends up being edited as a Classic Block! Now is that good news? And will WordPress keep the Classic Block in the future?
Another thing that I have found with the Block Editor which annoys me, is the placement of images. In the old Classic Editor, I could place an image into a text paragraph at more or less the position (left or right-aligned) anywhere in that paragraph using the word-wrap feature to wrap the text around that image. Which meant that the image could be, for example, two lines down from the top of the paragraph and two lines up from the bottom of that same paragraph. This does not happen in the Block Editor. The image can be left or right-aligned, but word-wrap into the text, you have to ‘move’ the image up which puts it at the top of the paragraph. There is simply no dynamic positioning.
Update:After viewing this post both on a tablet and a smartphone I have found that the Word formatting only applies if the post is viewed on a computer/laptop. So maybe not such a good option after all.
For a while now, I have been considering changing the theme for this blog. The reason it’s taking time, is that I don’t know what I want. I have looked at a few themes recently but nothing really jumps out at me. I currently use the Karuna theme and previous to that I had the Twenty Twelve theme. I did like that one and I quite like the Twenty Sixteen. What I need is a theme that is basically text based with a few images per post.
I’ve narrowed it down to five at the moment and those are Elegant Grunge, Notepad, Ocean Mist, Pilcrow and Twenty Ten. Elegant Grunge seems to be leading at the moment with Twenty Ten as a close second. Watch this space!
I’ve heard a bit about Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor so I thought I would give it a go. “Be bold.” I said to myself, “Don’t get in a rut” and a few other motivational phrases that I don’t want to go into.
My first impression was that it had a quite confusing interface, and I found switching from what they call “Block” and “Document” to add a tag or category, very frustrating. I like to add tags as and when they appear in my text. Then there is the text formatting which seems to be missing ‘full justify’ which is how I usually format my words. Embedding an image within a paragraph does not seem to work. There may be a way to do it, but I could not see how. I didn’t seem to be able to post my words as a draft post. Although I selected ‘pending’ as an option the post went live (now deleted). All in all, unless WordPress are prepared to give us a full tutorial, then I’m going to sit in my rut like the cowardly lion and stick to what I know. It’s the same feeling I had when Windows Live Writer was withdrawn (before I found Open Live Writer) and I tried using Microsoft Word to write a post. I would possibly get used to it, but in the end, is it worth the stress of change?
I can quite see, that WordPress might want everyone to eventually use Gutenberg, but until then, I’ll stick to Open Live Writer.