Discovering Gutenberg and next steps

It’s easy to look at GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. and think it’s done, but it’s not and that makes it even more incredible to think. The layers, complexities, the many, many details that have gone in so far are incredible. This project has moved so fast. Those on the team are all amazing and have worked tirelessly. Yet, it’s hard for anyone to keep up and that’s a lot of the motivation behind this post.

I am lucky enough to be coming into the project to help lead the design. I’m honoured, thrilled and all sorts of excitement about it. I don’t take the task lightly either. I’ve been spending some time trying to dive a little deeper and to really get to know things. It’s vast, it’s an easy thing to say ‘let’s make a better editor’, but all the pieces that impacts add up.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts as I have been discovering more of the project, diving deeper.

  • The project isn’t finished. The goal now is for a vision complete, technically sound state. All the ideas are there but the polish, some flows and flourishes are not.
  • Some features that aren’t in Gutenberg aren’t missed because the team don’t want to include them. In some cases it’s simply lack of resources to do it. It’s worth stating this is just how WordPress has always worked, contributions make things happen.
  • Gutenberg isn’t the entire experience. The project initially is about the editor, that’s the focus. The problem with the editor is how much it touches. Where the lines end, how much it changes beyond the editor, is down to time and resources. Having a focus on the editor though is the first step, the next will be as it hands to the Customization focus.
  • There are a lot of issues, at this point 443 issues. There are a lot of pull requests, at this point 92. Fixing and helping the team is an amazing contribution. They need our support, we can help them so much.

On testing

Whilst it’s a tiny snapshot, for those not following along some interesting current stats from testing (just the 2 forms currently available) are worth sharing:

  • Within the past month the feedback has been 12 positive out of 17 tests.
  • In August, we only had positive feedback from the forms.

With regards to testing, it’s worth looking at all sides of the story.

If there is one thing I am passionate about, that is testing, getting things in the hands of users. Testing at all stages of a project I believe in. With regards to Gutenberg my thoughts on testing start with:

  • Our first small scale testing has already helped the project. This is a small starting step though.
  • Testing is needed, lots of it and everyone is very welcome to join. However testing right now should be done in the context of it not being a fully formed project. Why? Well, there are known issues and running tests finding the same issues all the time isn’t productive.
  • Testing will increase as Gutenberg matures and just some of the plans are to focus heavily on reaching outside the WP community, beyond developers.
  • Testing should be done on as many variations of user abilities, all devices and contexts that we can. This has been started with some accessibility testing and should grow from that point.
  • Testing is a contribution anyone can do and I encourage that. There are people experienced with testing that contribute, banding together we will help make a solid plan, a start as we move into this phase.


Getting to know Gutenberg a little better

I thought it would be good to drop some useful links to things in progress that are aimed at bringing context to the project. More can be done and working with the team on this is really helpful.

Current timeline

The current focus for the team is to get to the idea complete stage, this is predicted to be 2 weeks away. This is a brave, ambitious deadline, but it’s not the end. Once reached, it’s then the gaps, the trips in flow, the triagetriage The act of evaluating and sorting bug reports, in order to decide priority, severity, and other factors., the polish and refinement happens. It’s then proper in-depth testing can be thought about, engaged and the vision rolled out into the entire editing experience. Then a wider timeline can be seen and communicated.

Doing this together

I strongly believe in communication, so I’ll be making sure I do as much of that as possible. I am keen we improve the process, the documentation, iterate and really make it easier for everyone to contribute, to understand what is going on with Gutenberg.

This project has been brought this far by some amazing people. They have worked so hard on this and deserve thanks for the work so far. Let’s all work together to help the vision that’s been started improve, mature and be realised. Come join in and make Gutenberg.