NOTE: I found a way to twitch the headers and crawl back to the “old” version. It is awkward, but at least it exists. So now I have a separate link for “posts” that has the option to use the classic editor. The automatic option takes me to the new one and I can’t fix that. I’m not enough of a programmer for that, but I did a little bit of code rewriting. How long this will last, I don’t know. We live in hope.
What do we get from the “new” block editor that we didn’t get in the “old” classic editor? In a word, nothing.
If you haven’t gotten slammed with the “block editor and nothing else” yet, you will. It happened to me and it will happen to everybody. It’s a matter of time. If you have not tried to use the block editor, you might as well give it a try. Unless you give up blogging, you aren’t going to have a choice and it’s easier if you have an idea of what you are supposed to do.
For those of you who don’t understand the point of using a block editor, it is so you can cut and past blocks as you work. Except you can’t do that in THIS block editor. You can write it, copy and paste it somewhere else (as long as it’s a standard paragraph — you can’t copy and paste any of the “special” formats), or delete it — but only by backing up to it using the delete key. You can’t use the menu in your mouse. It is also really hard to delete any preformatted text.
This is what the “new” posts page looks like.
Other pages have changed too. That convenient comment page where you could quickly fix typos or awkward sentences is now comments. Just comments. You can’t fix anything — except a comment.
There’s no fast or simple way to do anything in this format. It’s awkward at best and dysfunctional at worst. Worst is photographs where you actually can’t get the photo to load at all and the few “fancy” formats remaining to us don’t work.
Among the more annoying things you can’t do with photographs now is move them around in a gallery. You can’t drag a photo to a different position. You have to move one photo at a time with little arrows inside the photograph. You also might not want to caption photographs that will appear in a gallery since the captions show up in the middle of the picture. Who thought that was a good idea?
As for the “media library,” whatever minimal functionality it had before, it’s gone. Before, you could select a size for photographs using points. Now, you have to drag it to whatever shape you want. No more points — and you can’t add an outline (border) anymore. All that functionality is gone.
At first I thought I needed to try harder and it would start to make sense. So I’ve been using it. I hated it for photographs so if the post was mostly photographs, I’d got to the classic editor.
It was okay for text, but not better enough to justify the extra amount work involved in using it.
You can use some of their insets, but these are hard to edit and even harder to delete. You also can’t change their alignment or colors. They are not so much “insets” as “presets.”
Well, you ask, why would I want to edit it anyway? It’s just a blog, right?
For some of us, the quality of our writing and photography matters. I edit my work. I don’t just drop it on the page and publish. I am also the typo queen, something which hasn’t improved as I’ve aged. I often don’t notice the typo until late in the editing process — sometimes after I’ve published it. Do I leave it? No, I go back and fix it. Even when it’s an old piece.
I remember all the fancy gallery designs we were promised in our new “better” editor? Forget them. Most of them have been moved to WordPress’s more expensive business package. They are NOT available in their moderately priced version or at all in the “free” version. Do they still offer something for free? You couldn’t prove it by me.
All the benefits are now part of their business (read “expensive” package. in the business world, we call that “bait and switch.” You promise something, but don’t deliver it, at least not at the promised price.
I don’t need a business package. I’m not a business. I’m not going to be a business. I write and take pictures because I’m a writer and photography has been my hobby for more than 50 years. It’s something creative to do with my time and gives me the opportunity to show off pictures rather than leaving them on hard drives where no one sees them — not even me.
So, now that I’ve been using it, do I feel better about it?
Not really. I can deal with text, though the promised improvements require too much work — and the fancier you get, the harder your editing becomes.
As a simple example, they give you the option of selecting a text size, color and a background color. If you use a custom color, it doesn’t set that color so you can reuse it. You have to rediscover the color EACH time. Nothing can be set in advance. Every single thing you do has to be done each time. You can’t cut a picture and paste it somewhere else. You can’t set a picture size and position. Each photograph has to be set individually.
What a pain in the butt. It’s a big discouragement to using graphics. The more I use it, the more I hate it.
If you use their “classic” format, you can pretend — while you are writing — that it hasn’t changed. But if you need to insert a photograph where you want it, you have to move out of the classic format and get serious about blocks.
I’ve been blogging on WordPress for 8 years and have more than a million hits. it has been my hobby and my way of speaking out about injustice as well as things I find funny, interesting, or curious. I’ve truly enjoyed showing off photographs and sharing the odd bits of my life. It has also given me the opportunity to make friends with people all over the world and you folks really matter to me.
So what am I going to do? I don’t know.
I keep hoping WordPress will at least fix things that are obviously poorly designed or outright broken. But I have not seen any enthusiasm for fixing software by WordPress.
I want my pictures to load. I need tools to adjust pictures and simple ways to edit that don’t turn every post into a battleground. Can I adjust my style so I simply don’t use galleries and plunk down whole pictures — and not many of them? Maybe. I don’t know. I know I’m already writing less, publishing less. I suspect I will continue to write less. I won’t entirely stop, but WordPress has squeezed all the fun out of the blogging experience.
I guess they weren’t making enough money. It’s always about the money, isn’t it?