I read a blog post by WordPress Co-Founder Matt Mullenweg today. I wasn’t too surprised by what he was saying about the implementation of Gutenberg into WordPress core, and I wouldn’t hold it against him if he touted that propaganda across the universe. He’s already doing it across the globe. In my opinion, the post appeared to sideswipe reality to present Gutenberg as the savior of the world (as WordPress knows it). One of the points being made was in response to his self-asked question “Is Gutenberg Ready?” He stated, “Absolutely!” and then went on to point out that Gutenberg has surpassed his goal of having it installed on at least 100,000 sites. He further pointed out that it is installed on “more than 1 million sites” and linked that quoted text to https://gutenstats.blog/ where they claim some numbers I find intriguing because those numbers just don’t ring true for me.
This is why:
The claim is “1.2 million ACTIVE INSTALLATIONS”. That part apparently can be confirmed, though WordPress.org shows 500,000 active installations less than what is claimed. Doing the math, it just doesn’t add up. I have seen a few reviews written by some notable developers who really did try out Gutenberg. Their opinions weren’t supportive of Matt’s belief that Gutenberg is “Absolutely” ready.
But that’s not the problem I have, really.
The problem I have is with Matt’s seeming expectation that everyone should believe in the development of Gutenberg and how ready it is for release. He is referring to numbers that don’t seem to be supported by information I find. If people are as happy with Gutenberg as Matt would have me believe, then there are a lot of people out there writing a lot of posts on their respective websites using Gutenberg. And that is a problem for me, after reading that there are significant issues and bugs with various versions of Gutenberg. As I will show, mathematically, below, there aren’t really that many people using the latest version of Gutenberg vs. the total numbers claimed. Thus, the plugin is not necessarily as popular as the propaganda might suggest.
According to the plugin page https://wordpress.org/plugins/gutenberg/ , Gutenberg is activated on 700,000+ websites. That is, somewhere between 700,000 and 800,000 separate websites. Does that mean there are somewhere around 500,000 active installations on Drupal? Drupal doesn’t enter into my thoughts as a matter of course, and to suggest the popularity of Gutenberg with Drupal for justification to include Gutenberg in WordPress core just doesn’t compute for me.
Here’s where I think things fall apart.
Taking a look at the advanced page there is a breakdown of percentages; https://wordpress.org/plugins/gutenberg/advanced/
Only 13.2 percent (92,400+) of the 700,000+ are using the current version of Gutenberg. That’s not very impressive.
Of Gutenberg users, 61.6% (431,200+) have not updated the Gutenberg plugin during at least the last two plugin updates. An additional 24.5% (171,500+) for a total of 86.1% (602,700+) have not updated Gutenberg to the latest, absolutely ready (according to Matt) version. Given the experience I personally had with the plugin and the numbers I see, in addition to what I have read about Gutenberg, as a business man, I would not bet on the popular support Mat Mullenweg claims he has for forcing Gutenberg into WordPress core.
Especially when you take a look at the Classic Editor Plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/classic-editor/ which Matt suggests people install to keep Gutenberg from taking over their sites.
Classic Editor has 600,000+ active installations. Of those, 66% (396,000+) are using the current version of that plugin. Numbers found here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/classic-editor/advanced/
I thought it would be a good idea to have a closer look at the WordPress philosophy, just to make sure I’m not off track in my rationale. So, I get down to the part where they say:
“The core of WordPress will always provide a solid array of basic features. It’s designed to be lean and fast and will always stay that way. We are constantly asked “when will X feature be built” or “why isn’t X plugin integrated into the core”. The rule of thumb is that the core should provide features that 80% or more of end users will actually appreciate and use. If the next version of WordPress comes with a feature that the majority of users immediately want to turn off, or think they’ll never use, then we’ve blown it. If we stick to the 80% principle then this should never happen.
We are able to do this because we have a very capable theme and plugin system and a fantastic developer community. Different people have different needs, and having the sheer number of quality WordPress plugins and themes allows users to customize their installations to their taste. That should allow all users to find the remaining 20% and make all WordPress features those they appreciate and use.”
Just for fun, I took the number of active installations just for the current versions of both Gutenberg and of Classic Editor which is somewhere around 488,400. Doing simple mathematics, I took that magic number of 80% and found which plugin should be implemented into WordPress core. Want to take a guess what the answer is?
You would be correct if you guessed the Classic Editor.
With 396,000+ active installations of the current version, the Classic Editor has 81+%.
I could further support my belief with logic involving the rationale for Classic Editor updates. The only significant updates have been to accommodate the implementation of Gutenberg into core. Therefore, I could have used the entire 600,000+ active installations of the Classic Editor to show the popularity of a fully functioning, with minimal bugs, plugin. The numbers “ABSOLUTELY” do not support Gutenberg being forced into the core of WordPress.
Of course, this is strictly my own personal opinion. But I think it is supported by some rather striking statistics from the source, WordPress.org.
I’m not going into the rest of the post Matt made. You can read it yourself. I include a link to his post below. Make up your own mind. I think it is important to do so.
If you decide to stay with WordPress and install the Classic Editor plugin, you might also want to consider an addon created with sound logic behind it. https://wordpress.org/plugins/classic-editor-addon/
Being completely honest, I prefer not to use the Gutenberg version of WordPress and have to jump through hoops to get back to what I want.
I will just go with ClassicPress.
I prefer my ship to sail without so many holes.
As an afterthought, I don’t believe I should have to install a plugin to revert WordPress to the less buggy version without Gutenberg. If I want Gutenberg, I should have the option to install it as a plugin if and when it should become genuinely production ready.
Matt’s “WordPress 5.0: A Gutenberg FAQ”
Please bear in mind, I am aware that nothing I say is going to change the direction WordPress is headed. The world is still going to be rotating in the same direction when WordPress 5.0 is released. However, I do believe there are going to be a great number of people potentially harmed by the change because most of the people running websites with WordPress have believed the 80/20 promise and those people may be in for a significant surprise or disappointment.
Having said that, I really do hope I am wrong and that ClassicPress is just an option businesses may find more compatible with their workflow.