Matt Mullenweg said in a comment on WP Tavern recently that the Classic Editor Plugin will be support for years to come. This comes as a relief to many, but it kind of brings up a couple new questions, and a slight assumption.
The folks developing Gutenberg are putting aside pride and realizing that Gutenberg just isn’t what a vast majority of users want, at least not yet. There were some very strong opinions early on in Gutenberg development from the Gutenberg developers and Mullenweg in particular. After much feedback from developers some of those opinions have eroded and shifted, most notably how post meta would work. Looking at the reviews as of late, especially since the “try Gutenberg” message was put on the dashboard they are getting an idea of just how much more work needs to be done to appease the masses. This appeasement brings up a couple questions in my mind.
Why a Classic Editor Plugin?
The idea of the Classic Editor plugin sounds great but I’m not sure it’s needed. Why not add a setting in the writing settings that allows site owners to turn Gutenberg on or off without the need of a plugin? This setting could have a few options that could either fully enable/disable Gutenberg, or give the option that the Gutenberg plugin gives now that allows writers to choose between Gutenberg or the classic editor when adding a new page or post.
I do understand that over time a majority of sites will be using Gutenberg making a setting like that a little unneeded, but as Mullenweg has suggested that would be years into the future. I also can see that some people will never make the switch to Gutenberg making a setting like that always valid.
Why include Gutenberg in 5.0?
I’ve mentioned several times already, I’m a fan of Gutenberg. I enjoy writing with it, I enjoy trying to figure out how to write blocks with it, and I just overall have enjoyed watching it grow. I’m looking forward to the next phase of it when it will be working in tandem with the customizer. To me after using a majority of page builders Gutenberg is a step forward in a common user experience. With that said, the majority doesn’t seem to share the same views I, and many others have. So I have to ask why even include it in 5.0?
The purpose of a plugin is to ADD functionality to WordPress, by having to use a plugin to remove functionality from WordPress seems backwards. Instead of a classic editor plugin I think it might be best if Gutenberg stays as a plugin instead. At least for the foreseeable future. Maybe some sort of scaffolding can be put in core and the full functionality for Gutenberg comes with a plugin sort of like the rest API did a few years back. That to me seems like a better course of action and user experience to give users an option to download the plugin, as they have to now, to add to the editing experience rather than almost forcing them to download one to remove unneeded/unwanted functionality.