Watch this if you’re still on the fence about the new WordPress Editor (aka Gutenberg)

If you’re still unsure about the new WordPress Editor (aka Gutenberg), it’s worth watching Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word keynote at the recent WordCamp US 2018 event in Nashville.

You can find links to parts of the talk, along with slides, and commentary in Matt’s post, here:

I’ve been using the new Editor almost exclusively lately, not because I work for Automattic, but because it’s actually a pretty enjoyable way to write posts.

I still prefer to write longer posts in my text editor, and then add the posts into the editor afterwards (I’ve always been a little twitchy about my only version of long posts being in an online editor, just in case something goes pear shaped and I lose it all).

The new Editor isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good! It does work a little differently in some respects, but that isn’t a bad thing (necessarily). Also, it’s improving (I can add galleries that work the way they’re supposed to! Yay!) all the time.

My blog is 14 years old, today, and it’s a big day for blogging

A cake for anniversaries

Today is a Big DayTM For Blogging, but probably only for me. Today is this blog’s 14th birthday! On 6 December 2004, I wrote my first post on this WordPress blog:

Where this chapter all began …

It was originally at a different domain, and has evolved over the last 14 years. I probably have a fair share of somewhat trashy posts, especially from my blog’s earlier years, and I’ve suffered some losses along the way due to rushed or poorly managed migrations from one server to another.

Still, after 14 years, I’m still blogging, albeit it somewhat erratically. Here’s the current state of my blog:

This year has been an interesting one for me when it comes to blogging. My day job as a Happiness Engineer at Automattic is focused on helping our customers build, maintain, and grow their WordPress.com sites. I deal with issues ranging from domain configurations, to custom CSS to tweak theme designs, to a little HTML to help structure page content better, to more involved WooCommerce store configurations, and a lot of troubleshooting in between.

Despite spending all that time focused on our customer’s sites, I’ve only published 148 blog posts of my own in 2018 (including this one). I seem to have surges of activity when I’m not working, or when I have something short to share using the WordPress.com Android app.

Regardless of how much I’ve shared this year, I’m really glad that I have this place of my own on the Web, wherever it may be from time to time. I strongly believe in the importance of having your own space on the Web that you own, and control (as much as you can when it comes to other people’s servers).

This is my home on the Web, weird content choices and all. Thank you for being part of it.

Read Matt Mullenweg’s Gutenberg FAQ

Matt Mullenweg (my boss*) has published a Gutenberg FAQ that you should read if you’re interested in Gutenberg (aka, the new WordPress Editor aka the block editor), the upcoming WordPress 5.0 release, and the accessibility debate about Gutenberg.

Read Matt’s Gutenberg FAQ

*In case you weren’t aware, I work for Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com). I don’t speak for Automattic, but I do believe in our mission, and love working there.

By the way, we’re hiring!

On Manton Reece’s thoughts about WordPress, and the new Editor (formerly known as Gutenberg)

I just read Manton Reece’s thoughts about the new WordPress Editor (formerly known as Gutenberg), and I don’t really agree:

As I test Gutenberg, I keep coming back to one question: is it good for blogging? The goal with Micro.blog is to make blogging easier so that more people will have their own site instead of delegating their web identity to a social network. Gutenberg is more flexible than today’s WordPress, but it’s also more complex for someone who just wants to type in a few sentences and hit publish.

The new editor is available to both WordPress.com and self-hosted sites ahead of the WordPress 5.0 release. I’ve been using it on this site for a couple weeks, and in a couple test sites so I can anticipate or troubleshoot issues that our users may encounter.

I think there’s some merit in Reece’s perception of Gutenberg. I also think I fall more into the category of bloggers who like to open a simple editor and start typing into a text box.

A lot of WordPress users don’t want this simpler experience. I come across many people who want a very visual editor where you can create pretty dynamic layouts on the fly.

The new editor may be more for those people, but it can work pretty well for someone who wants to open a blank editor window and start typing, too.

Put another way, as WordPress matures I think it moves further away from the ideal blogging interface for someone who wants to write every day. Even as we add features to Micro.blog — domain names, themes, full-length posts, photos, podcasting — the core platform will always be rooted in the simple idea of a text box and a timeline.

Granted I’m a little biased because I work for Automattic, and I believe in what we’re doing. At the same time, I was a blogger long before I joined this company, and WordPress has been synonymous with “blogging” for me for almost 14 years.

I’m still deciding whether the new WordPress Editor is going to be the default on my personal site. It’s still early days for Gutenberg, and I think it has an exciting future.

That said, I like my simpler text windows, Markdown, and monospace fonts when I write (thank goodness for MarsEdit). Not everyone does, and WordPress is still flexible enough to accommodate almost all of us.

(Now, if I could just configure this blog to play nicely with all its IndieWeb cousins again, that would be great.)

Pretty excited about Gutenberg

Gutenberg 4.0 has arrived. I’m planning to spend a lot more time using it in the week ahead. I’m really looking forward to it rolling out as the default WordPress editor!

It works pretty well on mobile too! 😁

Moving from Twitter to WordPress

I really like this post about how Matthew Haughey has switched to a WordPress blog from Twitter. Yes, this is partly because he chose WordPress.com. Mostly, though, it’s because of reasons like these:

On the second point, it killed my desire to ever blog about things or write more than a few sentences about complex subjects. I would go six months between writing something 1,000 words long to put online when that was something I’d do every few days pre-Twitter. When Twitter moved to 280 characters, all hope was lost, since there really was no reason to have a blog for anyone anymore. I didn’t like that everything I wrote ended up being hard to find or reference, and even hard for me to pull up myself when I wanted, where a blog makes it pretty dang easy to see everything you wrote about in the past.

Read Haughey’s full post “My own reasons for leaving Twitter” (and follow him, too!). Also read his thoughts about WordPress in 2018 (there’s room for improvement, for sure).

Featured image by Braden Hopkins on Unsplash

When WordPress Rickrolls You. Lol!

I just signed into my site’s dashboard and I noticed this curious JetPack banner:

Curious JetPack banner

So I clicked on the button and this loaded:

Lol! Oh you crazy people!

Easier mobile blogging with the WordPress Aztec editor

Israeli Paper exhibit at the Eretz Israel Museum

Automattic recently released a beta version if its new editor for mobile WordPress apps.

Now that so many of us carry around tiny pocket-size computers, more and more of our Internet time happens on phones and tablets — not just browsing, but creating. You’ve been asking for a better publishing experience in the WordPress app to make mobile publishing smoother. Today we’re introducing a new editor for iOS and Android, codenamed “Aztec.” It’s speedy and reliable, works with posts and pages, and is ready for beta testing!

Given how much time we spend using our mobile devices, a great mobile blogging experience is increasingly valuable.

I still need to play around with this a bit more but I’m pretty excited to see what I can do with the mobile app.

Read more: “A Brand New Editor for the WordPress Mobile Apps

About the featured image: If you are curious, this was part of a very cool display at the Eretz Israel Museum called “On the Edge: Israeli Paper” that features some of the incredible things artists have done with paper. The exhibit runs until the end of October 2017.