One of the most empowering statements to come out of WordCamp Europe 2022 was when Matt Mullenweg said, “I believe Gutenberg can be a greater contribution to the world than WordPress itself.”
This isn’t the first time Mullenweg has presented this vision of Gutenberg’s pre-eminence as an open source project. In the Q&A that followed his 2021 State of Words speech, he said, “Gutenberg is something even bigger than WordPress, which basically says how do we edit and create the web? And how do we get as many people as possible, both proprietary and open source, to collaborate on this? »
Making Gutenberg available on the wider web was part of the reasoning behind dual licensing the project under GPL and MIT. The use of proprietary applications, and in particular mobile (where the GPL is not common), is better supported by the MIT license.
Gutenberg is already finding its own destiny outside of WordPress. projects like DrupalGutenberg and Laraberg were among the first seeds of the larger Gutenberg ecosystem, demonstrating that communities other than WordPress find value in the project and can adapt it for use with their apps. At WordCamp Europe, Mullenweg announced that the two tumblr and Day one are currently testing Gutenberg in their web applications.
Tumblr users who want to access the new beta post editor, which was codenamed “Gutenblr”, can click the prompt at the top of the page to switch. It’s opt-in for now while it’s still being tested.
Activating the beta unlocks the new Gutenberg-powered editor with redesigned buttons and icons. Users can post a series of multiple blocks in what looks like a clean mini post editor. Some blocks can be dragged and dropped in a different order on the draft, but that’s still a bit buggy. Tumblr’s editor is fun to use compared to the WordPress version of Gutenberg which does a lot more but at the cost of having to support a lot more settings and controls.
When Automattic acquired Tumblr in 2019, Mullenweg was candid about its intention to replace the Tumblr backend with WordPress.
“WordPress is an open-source web operating system that can power just about anything, including Tumblr.com, but it’s also a big property, so it will take a bit of time to figure out and migrate,” Mullenweg said.
Two years later, in November 2021, Tumblr’s changelog Noted that the development team was working on a major new version of the web beta post editor, leveraging parts of Gutenberg. In a Twitter conversation Discussing Tumblr’s architecture, Gutenberg lead architect Matías Ventura said that his Gutenberg implementation stores everything in JSON format, while WordPress serializes HTML as the default experience because it needs to work with the ecosystem. In both cases, the blocks are created as structured data.
“I personally look forward to the time when you can just copy and paste blocks between platforms like you do with models!” Matías Ventura said while tweeting Gutenberg’s screenshots on Tumblr and Day One.
This kind of interoperability between applications is similar to the idea behind the Block Protocol project. It aims to build a block system to integrate interactive blocks into any web application. As more of the web adopts the block paradigm, it would be useful to be able to share blocks through a standardized protocol.
The Block Protocol specification is under development by the team at CHOPwho is currently hire a wordpress developer to create a Block Protocol Gutenberg plugin. The plugin’s goal is to “unlock the entire Block Protocol block ecosystem for all WordPress users (both technical and non-technical)”, which would expand the range of blocks available to WordPress users. Gutenberg.
When the Block Protocol project was announced, it didn’t seem likely that it would use Gutenberg as the basis for its specifications. However, the wide use of Gutenberg on the web cannot be ignored. This upcoming plugin is more like a bridge or connector that ensures Gutenberg is always relevant in the Block Protocol ecosystem.
WordPress is an important player in the creation of both blocks and an intuitive editor to publish them, as the main incubator for the initial development of Gutenberg and essentially its early adopter. The block editor making its way to more apps like Tumblr and Day One is a major milestone, and it’s inspiring to see collaboration on an initiative connecting Gutenberg users to another global block registry designed to move between apps on the web.