Buggered by Mister Blocky

In the mid-60s I worked on the Monotype typesetting machine which was driven by a 28-hole ribbon, and by 1982 this was replaced by the Bedford Blue digital typesetting system. Since then I’ve trained on half-a-dozen code-driven typesetters and in 2008 I started blogging, first on Blog, moving to Google’s Blogger, finally settling on WordPress.

So I’m not a newbie to setting words on a monitor so why after a lifetime of writing words do I find the WordPress Block Editor so counter-intuitive?

WordPress describes ‘Gutenberg’ as:

. . . the codename for a whole new paradigm for creating, that aims to revolutionize the entire publishing experience as much as Gutenberg did the printed word.

Well, that’s what WordPress say, Johannes Gutenberg completely changed typesetting and printing making it infinitely easier than the old method of hand-written manuscripts. Not so WordPress’s Gutenberg.

First, this ‘improved’ Block Editor system is slower as the internet has to cope with all the pretty pictures.

The system works with blocks, which is great if you’re just hitting words and spaces. The problems arise when you want to format this text using HTML (next to impossible) or add any illustrations, each needing its own ‘block’. The post then needs a block to add the picture’s caption, and yet another block for subsequent text.

Another option is to type your post into your text editor/Word application of choice and then copy and paste it into the Block Editor piece by piece, block by block, placing images (in image blocks) as you go. And to think before, you had the inconvenience of ‘inserting’ media and voilà completed.

As for the widgets! First, a few minutes elapse as the blocks are generated. Then the CSS block doesn’t show the line numbers or first characters on each line of code on my laptop, and the whole sequence of blocks are doing a jig at the same time.

It’s not just an old man resisting change, over on WordPress.org, the Classic Editor has a rating of 4.5 stars or so, out of 5 stars. While the Gutenberg editor, which was still listed separately last week when I was over there has a rating of 2 stars out of 5. I’m surprised it managed a single star.

The Last Post

I had intended to upload to CabbieBlog until Sunday 29th February 2032 which by then I would have been writing about London for nearly 25 years and had become a mid-term octogenarian, probably writing from the security of my old peoples’ home. Sadly if WordPress discontinue offering the ‘classic editor’ option of their much-derided new method of working I’ll be signing off a lot earlier.


10 thoughts on “Buggered by Mister Blocky”

  1. I always compose my posts in word then copy and paste, I agree that the classic editor was much better than the current version. As Mr Boeing said, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”


    1. Because I’m too mean to pay for self-hosting and a bespoke website, I have to recode every post: drop cap, typeface, type size and any quotes. Impossible using Block Editor. I really should spend more time writing rather than tarting up the site.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Seems this is what all computer applications end up doing: if you’re not writing new code I guess life’s just too dull! I dare say there are some tech-whizzes to whom the new block system is an improvement — for most of us though it’s a bit of a mess. I agree that classic was/is better.

    If you copy and paste an old post, originated in Classic mode, you’ll be offered the option of continuing in classic mode. I’ve not really test driven this, but I did just manage to get a picture into a “block” along with some type, and also managed to get one word of the type into a different color — these being my two main problems with the block system.


  3. I still only use the Classic Editor. I have experimented with Mr Blocky, but hate it with a vengeance. Like you, I may have to rethink blogging completely once the Classic is removed.
    Cheers, Pete.


    1. I don’t think WordPress are interested in amateurs, even though, as you say, 5 million prefer the old system. WordPress are trying to monetize the platform. Thanks for your comment.


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