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Introducing #PlayingwithBlocks: Give’s Gutenberg Story

Do you remember playing with blocks as a kid? Remember the feeling of freedom you had to build whatever you wanted?

You could build a tower of blocks, and pretend they were a castle, or a treehouse, or anything you wanted them to be. The options were only limited by your creativity. It wasn’t about what the blocks looked like, but what they represented… possibility.

Example of Gutenberg Gallery Block
Example of Gutenberg Gallery Block

Is it possible that Gutenberg, the new block-based editor for WordPress, will become the same for the WordPress community — a new medium for creative expression?

Gutenberg will replace the current editor as we know it with a series of content blocks intended to unify how content is styled, and establish long-term consistency for users and developers currently using a wide range of other methods for styling.


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. — WordPress.org

Enriched with branding, web accessibility, and other unique content tools, the new block editor will make it possible for content managers of all skill levels to create more dynamic content.

Exciting as these changes are, we know firsthand what a mix of emotions Gutenberg has generated within the WordPress community.

Introducing #PlayingwithBlocks

Since the State of the Word at WordCamp US last year, the Give team has been busy assimilating into the world of block-based editing. Preparing for Gutenberg is a priority for our team because the pending WordPress 5.0 release doesn’t only affect the editing experience; it radically impacts the entire WordPress ecosystem, our customers included.

As a WordPress plugin company whose success depends on the health of this community, we felt the same combination of trepidation and excitement that we’re confident many of you did, too. There was, and still is, a sense of unease as WordPress businesses like us contemplate how to restructure plugins and themes, reevaluate development processes, revise support policies and market to customers in this complex era of online editing.

As we’ve started planning our own blocks, though, the reluctance to accept change has quickly faded into excitement as we recognize all the doors Gutenberg will open for WordPress users.

Image of Give Gutenberg Block Concept
Give Block Concept for Gutenberg

#PlayingwithBlocks is a blog series documenting Give’s journey to plan for, learn about, and ultimately integrate an established WordPress plugin with Gutenberg’s block system.

We’ll share our genuine experiences as an organization adopting Gutenberg, including first steps towards Gutenberg integration, new block design features, changes to our development process, our approach to support pre- and post-Gutenberg, and more.

We are in the process of rapidly developing for Gutenberg, and just like kids playing with blocks to develop eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills, we’re honing our JavaScript, React, and ES6 skill sets to build better, interactive fundraising experiences for our customers.

We’re excited about getting Gutenberg-ready, and can’t wait to share our experiences with you.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the topics we’ll be exploring along this journey:

  • Joining the Conversation: Upcoming Online and Offline Gutenberg Events
  • Identifying Low-hanging Fruit: Auditing Your Plugin for Gutenberg
  • Building Blocks: Working Within the Design Language of Gutenberg
  • Rearchitecting: Separating Presentation from Configuration
  • New Toys: Modernizing Your Workflow with JS
  • Block All the Things: The New User Experience (NUX)
  • All About Give Gutenberg Blocks: Visual Donation Goals & More!

We encourage everyone to share their #PlayingwithBlocks experiences with us using the hashtag on Twitter, or in the comments below.

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4 Responses

  1. I really advise you to test the tool by yourself, to make your own opinion and leave your opinion. For my part, I do not see what Gutenberg brings more. When we know the sites that remain to open on WordPress (security, media, …), we wonder why focus on a piece of WordPress that works, which is proven, which is editable and accessible, namely the publisher !

    I am not retrograde, nor refractory to change. I consider myself a big fan of WordPress without being a “blessed yes yes” and I really do not adhere to this Gutenberg! I do not see what it brings more, I think it adds to the complexity while its primary purpose is supposed to be simplicity ^ ^ In short, as it stands I am quite disappointed and circumspect. And I’m not alone in saying it … https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/gutenberg/reviews/?filter=1

    1. I wasn’t thrilled about Gutenberg last summer, but seeing the demo at WCUS in December won me over.

      I wouldn’t say the editor is a good part of WordPress. Quite the opposite. If you want to enable anything approaching what Gutenberg will allow, you now either have to abstract the functionality into shortcodes that are not only user-hostile for most editors, but also garbage content in the editor. You could use something like flexible content fields in ACF, but then you lose the advantage of having your content stored in a standard place, and from what I can tell, managing/rendering them isn’t much (if at all) less complex than using Gutenberg.

      At any rate, I’ve installed Ahmad Awais’ Create Guten Block tool (https://github.com/ahmadawais/create-guten-block), and look forward to getting ready for a much better editor experience for my clients.

    2. Unfortunately, I would suggest you find an alternative to WordPress. Love or hate it Gutenberg is coming. There is no stopping it. That is the reality we live in. It’s time to get on the Gutenberg train or it’s time to find an alternative CMS or blogging tool.

      As the developer of a major WordPress plugin, Gravity Forms, we intend on fully embracing Gutenberg. We will be introducing all kinds of new features and functionality as a result.

  2. I think the current editor is OK but I am not so wedded to it that I don’t want to explore new approaches. I was very impressed by the Wordcamp US presentation on the future direction represented by Gutenberg, so it will be instructive to see how your opinions and processes at Give develop as you use it, and I appreciate that you thought to share it in an ongoing blog series.

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