The Classic Editing Experience is Moving, Not Leaving. But where? And for whom?

With the introduction of the Block editor, the WordPress.com Classic Editor was set for retirement at the beginning of June. We pushed that back a bit to make time for more changes that ease the transition to the Block editor — and now it’s time! The WordPress editor empowers you to create pages and posts […]

The Classic Editing Experience is Moving, Not Leaving — The WordPress.com Blog

And so it begins, or so they say. While I’m thankful WPcom pushed back the roll-out date, it felt like an anvil hanging over our heads for the last two months, ready to drop and honestly, still feels that way. Why couldn’t WPcom wait to make their announcement until after they’d made those “more changes”?

From August 11 on all WordPress.com accounts will start to switch from Classic editor to the new Block editor. It will happen in phases, and you’ll get an email to let you know to expect the change.

Has anyone reading my post received an email from WPcom advising them their sites are now running with scissors, er, the Block Editor? I have more than one active account and thus far only one fairly old account has received such an email.

If you’d rather stick with the Classic editor experience — the one you used before we introduced the WordPress.com editor a few years ago — no worries. With the new and improved Classic block, you have the best of both editors: the flexibility and stability of the Block editor, and the Classic editor interface you know.

Nary a whisper of the Classic Editor in the WP Admin dashboard this time around.

Looking at my test account’s sites post-switch, it’s quite a mixed bag depending on what Editor was in use on MySite at the time of the switch:

  • Classic Editor in MySite: There is now a clean split with the Block Editor available only in MySite dashboard and the Classic Editor available only in WP Admin.
  • Block Editor in MySite with the option to switch to Classic: The Block Editor is now the default in the MySite dashboard, and both Classic and Block options are available in WP Admin, as illustrated below.
  • Block Editor in MySite without the option to switch to Classic: The Block Editor is the default editor in both the MySite and the WP Admin dashboards. There is no option to edit in the Classic Editor.

That’s the current status for those 6 test sites. (Update 2020/08/20: All the sites under my account have now been switched to the Block Editor at MySites. The above holds true for another 32 sites, so it looks like this is the pattern for all sites.)

After checking my test sites, I created a new site under that same test account and found that while the Block Editor was the default in MySite, both Classic and Block Editing options are available in the WP Admin dashboard.

Screenshot showing the WP Admin Posts dashboard with editing options of Block and Classic Editors
Editing options in WP Admin on a new test site

So where does that leave those WPcom accounts or sites that only have the Block Editor available and who want to use the Classic Editor in WP Admin? What are their choices? Apparently since the earlier announcement about the switch, there’s been a change in support group think. Forum support staff no longer offer to use their internal tools to switch users to the Classic Editor and are advising users to use the Classic Block instead.

I’m watching the forums to see how this progresses, because there is still a cross section of WPcom users who do not have access to the Classic Editor in WP Admin. I’ll update here.

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

Published by JenT

Empowered by WPcom since 2006. Never stop learning.

16 thoughts on “The Classic Editing Experience is Moving, Not Leaving. But where? And for whom?

  1. Classic Block – what Frankenstein’s monster is that? Or – when is a block not a block?

    For anyone of your readers who is worried about using the Block editor I would say this:

    When the block editor/Gutenberg first came out on self-hosted it was a clunky mess and horrible to work with. If, for example, one was working with a block in a block and moved the cursor just a fraction to the wrong side of some invisible line, the whole thing could collapse.

    Fast forward two years and Matt Mullenweg’s drive to get it done has proved to be a good move. I say for anyone who worries about using the Block Editor – just do it.

    That said, I am aware that there are some differences in the way the Editor behaves between WP.com and self-hosted – but it is more or less the same beast – and now tamed.

    1. I agree and that was the whole reason behind my previous post, Just Write. 🙂

      At the same time, I feel most people write in whatever editor they feel most comfortable with and are accustomed to using. Not everyone likes or wants to experiment, like you or I, David. Also, the way TPTB handled the transition from the WP Admin editor to the Calypso/MySite “High Speed” editor a number of years ago pushed a group of users to the WP Admin editor, never to look back. If those users have what is now called the Classic Editor active in Calypso/MySites at the switch, the one being retired, they will be the least affected here. It’s the other users going from MySites to WP Admin (or the Classic Block) that are up in arms because of the change.

      Forums, as they say, are where users post their pain points. So far it’s been a telling experience and I’ll continue monitoring.

      1. I honestly don’t understand – not your fault – but Calypso / WP Admin / My Sites – I have never understood what the differences are. It makes my head spin and I find myself thankful I have self-hosted as a mental place to retreat to.

      2. OK, I read it. Here goes: Calypso isn’t a style of editing, it is an interface that lets you oversee and access your sites in WP.com. Using either Calypso/My Sites or WP-Admin (if you have the latter because not everyone does depending on when you signed up) you reach the bit where you can write a post (or a page). And when you get there, there are two ways of writing and editing a post or page. One is the Block Editor and the other is the Classic Editor.

      3. Well, either you get 80% for understanding or I get 60% for explaining. 🙂

        Every single site on WPcom, regardless of when you signed up, has both the Calypso/MySite dashboard, which is where you land when clicking on MySite in the Admin Bar at the top left, AND WP Admin over at yoursite.wordpress.com/wp-admin Remember a while back we were pondering about the disappearance and then sudden reappearance of the link to WP Admin at the bottom of the sidebar in the Calypso/MySite dashboard?

        WP Admin is the official ORG dashboard and since WPcom is a modified version of the ORG software, WPcom can’t get rid of it entirely even though there was a period where they tried really hard to make us forget about it, including redirecting links in WP Admin back to the Calypso/MySite dashboard. (Do you remember what life was like before the Customizer? All those customization links took place in WP Admin.)

        Editors: Before the MySite Editor was introduced back in 2015, we had the editor in WP Admin. Then in 2018 WPcom brought the Block Editor into that same MySite Editor interface with a link that you could “level up your layout” (aka Block Editor) or “switch to Classic Editor” if you wanted to go back to using the original Editor (aka Classic Editor). So for a period of about 3 years, you could switch back and forth between both the Classic and the Block Editor in the MySite interface.

        That’s what’s changing. The Classic Editor in MySite is being retired in favor of the Block Editor. In short, legacy software is a b*tch!

        OK – I think I need a lie down with a cold towel on my face for at least the next 24 hours. 😀

      4. While you are doing that 🙂 … I don’t see ‘MySite’. I can see ‘My Sites’ at top left. Also, I don’t think I ever lost ‘WP Admin’ – I think….

      5. For any account with more than one site it’s MySites instead of MySite and we all have had the WP Admin dashboard since Day 1 here on WPcom. It never went away.

  2. I had an email from WPcom about the changeover to one of my blogs email accounts. I’d recently asked them (on the forum in a new thread) to switch my editor back to the classic one from the block editor, which they did. So I was worried that it’d been changed back again, logged in and found it hadn’t – it was still Classic. In the email they said Classic could be used in wp-admin and otherwise as the classic block. I’ve looked at all my active, public, blogs and they are all still using Classic in wp-admin. The ones I have that have the block editor are test blogs (though I’ve one or two of those with the classic still) so I’m not as fussed and, anyway, it’s good to have it there still for testing purposes in case anyone else (or I) want to know about its future changes – and we all know there will be many.

    My thought about the block editor now is that it’s just another version of the MySites part of the site, just as they brought in Calypso but left Classic in wp-admin, so now there’s still Classic there, but the block editor has has taken over from Calypso.

    I will admit that I absolutely hate the block editor. However, when I do use it, what I do is start typing as normal but in the HTML/Text part of it and I use shift+enter for each paragraph. Then when I look at visual, the classic block is automatically placed at the top of the text. That’s really the only way I can comfortably use it.

    I did recently see a comment from a member of staff on the forum that was rather telling, in which she said that eventually even the Classic editor will go, because nothing stays the same forever (or words to that effect.) If I can find it again, I’ll give you a link to it. My plan if that happens is to move my blogs to Blogger or, if by then my eyesight is worse, I may just stop blogging altogether. I’m hoping it’ll be a long, long time in the future.

    1. I remember you asked to have your new site switched to Classic, but that was during a period when staff were willing to do so. That attitude on staff’s part seems to have changed and that switch in MySite is likely temporary. (Sorry!)

      Once your accounts/sites are changed to the Block Editor in the MySite interface by default, you’ll only have access to the Classic Editor (as opposed to the Classic Block) in WP Admin. And it appears from a recent staff reply in the forums, the Classic Editor availability in WP Admin is due to the Classic Editor plugin, which leads to all kinds of other questions!

      As I mentioned in a different post (Just Write) I think WPcom isn’t really aware of the wild variety of methods that people employ to create content. Wouldn’t it be easier to just write your post in a text editor like Notepad or EditPadLite and then copy and paste it into the WP Block Editor? That will automatically become a Classic Block. Or of course, WP Admin’s Classic Editor is available too, for the foreseeable future.

      With regards to that staff reply you mentioned, there’s really no escaping reality. The Block Editor is baked into the core software on ORG; the Classic Editor plugin was announced to be available until 31 Dec 2021. What happens between now and then is anyone’s guess. At the rate things are going in the world, I hope we’ll be around to worry about it together!

      1. Yeah (she says with a sigh)… isn’t that always the way on this site? Oh well. Thankfully my current blogs are running fine using the classic editor in wp-admin, but if that goes (first, presumably, on dot org, then here) then I’m probably out of here. I’ve adapted to a multitude of changes on wpcom over the years, even things I was quite irate about to start with, but this concerns something that really feels like it’s a part of my being. I went from typewriters to word processors to wysiwyg editors and I really, really don’t want to change.

        Yes, I can certainly do my posts and pages in wordpad first, but I like the experience of writing a post and having the blog interface around me at the same time, it makes me feel more connected to it. I’ve got notifications around me, and can see what’s happening and what needs doing, what needs editing, as I go. With Notepad, that’s not there, it’s just me and it. To me that’s like sitting down to a blank sheet of paper – my mind tends to go blank too! I suppose what I’m saying is that the surrounding interface of the editor I’m using is important to me. The Block Editor even with the Classic Block, is just so alien to my nature. Just plain wrong.

        What I do – and always have done – is log in via wp-admin, so I get straight into the dashboard there first thing. Because of that I’ve not experienced the MySites Editor change, and I don’t unless I deliberately visit it. I didn’t take to the Calypso editor (I wasn’t blogging here anymore when it was first introduced, and gave it a wide berth when I discovered it when I returned to the site) so have just continued on the old wp-admin dashboard. I’m happy with that.

        As you say, let’s hope we’re around to worry about it. Can never tell what will happen.

        When all’s said and done, unless it’s ones occupation (and I’m glad it’s not mine) blogging is something I enjoy but it’s not the be-all and end-all of life, which I suppose is just as well.

        Thanks, Jen.

      2. Reading between the lines of a new staff reply in the forums, if your site(s) hasn’t yet been switched to the Block Editor at MySite, it looks like you might have a reprieve (aka stay-of execution). Seems WPcom is deploying and iterating as they go given there are people reporting issues even if they use the Block Editor at MySite.

        FWIW-I went the same route as you. Typewriters were first (also piano) in around 9th or 10th grade (I still remember my teacher, Mr. Frank), computers only arrived in my last year in college and then it was a terminal and not a “personal computer.”

        Gads, suddenly I feel ancient!

    2. Did you know that if you use Shift+enter in the Block Editor then it will start a new line in the same block rather than start a new block? (Useful for poems).

  3. I have 3 sites but have not received the e-mail announcement of change for any of them. My Sites still tells me “The new WordPress Editor is coming” and that I can get ahead of the game by changing over now.

    Still have to try the new Block Editor on my test site as I’ve been told by people who did try it out early on that for photo blogs it can really mess up your galleries. Guess I’ll find out soon…

    1. The important thing to know is what editor is currently in use at MySites. All indications are that’s what determines what will appear at WP Admin when your MySite editor defaults to the Block Editor.

      It’s an excellent idea to do tests now so if you run into any issues, you’ll be able to ask and be prepared. AFAIK – If you are staying with the same theme, things should stay as they are. I’d also suggest looking in the forums for similar issues.

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