A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Block Editor

We’re still waiting to say Hello to the not-so-new Block Editor. According to the Staff reply I mentioned in the comments to my previous post, “the team encountered some problems” that’s delayed them changing the default editor to the Block Editor on the millions of sites hosted on the WordPress.com platform. (See my update below) My thought is that one of those problems is overcoming the various implementations of the Editor in the MySite dashboard depending on when you signed up on WordPress.com or created a new WordPress.com site.

If you signed up with a new account from December 2019, your site’s Editor was set by default to the Block Editor with no option to switch to the Classic Editor. According to a Staff reply in the forums, the reasoning was that someone new to WordPress.com wouldn’t know about the Classic Editor. OK, I can’t say I grok that reasoning, but moving right along. Additionally Staff explained that new sites created on older WordPress.com accounts that used one of the Block Editor styles themes didn’t have the option to switch because those themes depend on the Block Editor to display content. That makes sense. On these sites if you click the three dots at the top right in the Editor, there’s no “Switch to Classic Editor” appearing at the bottom of the menu that opens. People wanting to switch to the Classic Editor in these circumstances need to either change their site’s theme to one of the older WordPress.com themes pre-block styles, which may or may not make the switch option appear depending on the age of their account, or ask Staff to switch the Editor for them with their internal tools.

And then there are those older sites and accounts where the MySite Classic Editor is currently the default editor and whose site owners have never enabled the Block Editor to “Level Up” their layout. Those sites don’t have the “three dots” to click on in the Editor. With the removal of the MySite Classic Editor, I hope those who make this choice going forward have a fully integrated and easy way to go from the MySite Editor to the WP Admin Classic Editor.

Meanwhile there’s been a lot of hurt and angst expressed by those who want to continue writing with the Classic Editor in the forum thread titled, “Feedback thread for the Block Editor.” Replies from Staff in that thread, in other forum threads and the Support documentation repeat over and over that we’ll always have access to the Classic Block (same, same but different IMO) and we’ll be able to write in the Classic Editor in WP Admin. Sadly, there’s been no real information provided by WordPress.com as to how that second option will be implemented. Telling users to go to WP Admin if they want to write in the Classic Editor (or “Here’s what it looks like, in case you haven’t seen this one in a while (or ever)”) is a truly terrible and dismissive implementation and user experience. There are valid reasons for continuing to use the Classic Editor including, most importantly, familiarity and ease of use.

From my short correspondence with Support, after WordPress.com makes the Block Editor the default Editor for the entire platform, those wanting to use the Classic Editor will indeed need to go to the WP Admin dashboard of their website and click the appropriate button to either create a new post or edit an existing post. But again, not all users have this option* and the how of getting to the WP Admin dashboard Editor is what we don’t know the answer to yet. Again, I want to believe that the final implementation will be respectful of users.

One possible implementation-but only if you can enable the block editor first

Ponderings: Will we all have a “Switch to Classic Editor” link in our MySite Editor? Will the site remember this choice of Editor so we don’t have to switch every time we want to write or edit in WP Admin? Does “remembering” mean a cookie in the browser or a server-side setting? Still so much uncertainty even at this past-due date. Stay tuned. I’ll update here once the change has happened.

Update: June 14: if your WordPress.com site still has the Classic Editor enabled, your MyHome dashboard announcement has been updated to read “the near future” instead of the previously mentioned “on June 1”

Dashboard announcement updated to read “the near future” from the original “on June 1”

A Short Update on Premium Themes

It’s been several months since WordPress.com removed the majority of Premium themes from the Theme Showcase. From 183 premium themes on March 3rd this year, the number dropped to an all time low of 18 themes on March 9th. At present, 57 Premium themes have been updated to fully support the Block Editor, but no new themes. Granted certain worldwide events may have delayed the return of more Premium themes.

As always, the information in this post is correct as of today’s date. Changes are inevitable.

Just a note: Starting in about a month from now, I’ll be restructuring and reorganizing my site. Please do use the search feature or contact me if you can’t find something.

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4 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Block Editor

  1. Hi Jen,

    Greetings from Philadelphia! I have been following your blog for a while now and really appreciate what you share about WordPress.com. I’ve have had a blog for 8 years for my picture framing business. I think that I am was drawn to your blog since I lived in Israel for a year in college.

    I am getting frustrated as I know that I need to switch from Classic to Block. Do you know of resources to learn the Block editor? I am not feeling the love from WordPress anymore! It used to be a great community where they showed great websites/blogs and shared ideas. Now it seems as if you need a professional to do it for you if you want your site to look perfect. I have technical skills but I have a framer not a web designer.

    I know that the newer free themes are the best for Block but I feel that they all look alike. They don’t have style elements. The reason that I keep Fortune is that Taras, the theme author is so great with helping.

    Do you know of anything on the horizon to make it easier to have great design?

    Best,
    Susan
    http://www.whisperingwoodsgallery.com

    1. Hi Susan, thanks for being a subscriber and I’m glad you’ve found useful information here. You made my day! 🙂

      The current Block Editor situation reminds me a bit of how WordPress.com handled the GDPR implementation a couple of years ago. Lots of information overkill, but not enough *direction.* If you are just getting started with the Block Editor, I’d open a separate test site with one of the new Block Editor styles themes and then head to the WordPress.com support site and start here> https://wordpress.com/support/wordpress-editor/ Improvements are constantly being made to the Block Editor so Support screenshots may not always be up to date. I have to admit that one of my favorite features is Block Patterns, which are ready-made content layouts that you can customize. You’ll find info on that at https://wordpress.com/support/block-pattern/ The support site search is really excellent if you get stuck on something.

      I also am not thrilled with the current lack of features in the newer Block Editor styles themes. They’re still pretty bare-boned compared to the older themes. Twenty-Twenty currently has the most customization features. According to Staff the themes will be updated going forward. And I hear you about needing a professional if you want your site to look perfect. Ironically, the Block Editor is supposed to help users create their own stunning layouts.

      In your case, you’re using a gorgeous Premium theme that’s compatible with the Block Editor, though it may not support all the Block Editor features. Regardless, you can continue to use the Classic Editor in WP Admin or the Classic Block in MySite if it’s more convenient until you feel comfortable with the Block Editor.

      But you also asked if I know of anything that would make it easier to have great design and that means starting with a good sense of what you need on your site, and sitting down with a thinking cap, paper and pencil. 🙂

      Hope your experiences here were good ones.

      Take care and thanks for commenting.

    1. You’re welcome, Susan. If there’s something you’ve wondered about WordPress.com but didn’t find the answer to, let me know. You might just prompt a new post. 🙂

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