EditorsKit is becoming somewhat of a “hotfix” plugin for Gutenberg, especially with the additions to the 1.14 release this week. Developer Jeffrey Carandang added new link formats for nofollow rel attribute options, along with a fix for an annoying bug in Chrome that causes Gutenberg metaboxes to overlap. He has been closely monitoring feedback on both Gutenberg and EditorsKit, introducing features for which users have an immediate need.
Google recently announced new ways to identify nofollow links with two additional rel attribute options for specifying links as sponsored and/or user-generated content. The Gutenberg core team has expressed hesitation on a PR that would add nofollow link options, invoking WordPress’ 80/20 rule.
Since the related PR doesn’t seem to be a priority, with no movement for two weeks, Carandang decided to add the nofollow and sponsored rel attribute options to EditorsKit, so users can start following Google’s recommendations without having to switch to HTML mode. He also managed to make it work with the version of Gutenberg included in core.
Chrome users may have noticed that the block editor has a nasty bug with metaboxes overlapping, obscuring the main content area. This problem was introduced in the recent Chrome 77 update and is present on WordPress 5.2.3 and older versions.
Chrome developers are aware of the issue and a fix will be in the next release. Version 78 is expected October 22. Since it is a bug with Chrome, the Gutenberg team has opted not to release a fix/workaround for this problem. In the meantime, they recommend updating to WordPress 5.3 if it is released before the Chrome bug is fixed. This isn’t likely, as 5.3 is scheduled for mid-November.
The Gutenberg team also recommend using a different browser or installing the Gutenberg plugin to fix the issue. Andrea Fercia noted on the ticket that the plugin is still listed among WordPress’ beta plugins and may not be advisable to use in production on some sites. Users with a technical background can implement one of several CSS solutions in the ticket, but this is a frustrating bug for users who don’t know how to apply code fixes.
Carandang added a fix for this bug to the most recent version of EditorsKit. So far his strategy of being responsive to users’ requests seems to have been successful, as his Gutenberg utility plugin now has more than 1,000 active installs. He said he is happy to add hot fixes for EditorsKit users and will remove them once the fixes have been added to Chrome and/or the block editor.
EditorsKit 1.9 was released this week with a new Block Styling feature for the image and cover blocks. It allows users to change these blocks to be displayed as circular, diagonal, inverted diagonal, rounded corners, or with a shadow. It also adds a “full screen height” display option to the Advanced block settings panel. This makes it easy to turn the Cover, Image, and Media & Text blocks into a hero section.
Jeffrey Carandang, the plugin’s author, has also added a full height toggle option to the editor screen. It makes the editor’s minimum height match the browser’s viewport so that metaboxes are not in view until the user scrolls down. This creates a cleaner interface when creating new posts and pages. It is also optional, so it doesn’t exclude sites where the content added to the metaboxes is more important than the main posting area.
Version 1.9 introduces a feature called Utility Classes to the Advanced CSS Class(es) option. The classes can be removed in one click from the selected block and the preview instantly updates to reflect the change. It also includes auto-suggestion for classnames so they can be easily re-applied.
Carandang shared sample code for how theme developers can add their own utility classes using a custom PHP filter. This makes it more extensible but seems unlikely to that theme authors would go to the trouble, given the plugin’s relatively small user base at the moment.
He is working on improving interoperability with other plugins in the ecosystem by adding filters for plugin and theme developers to make better use of EditorsKit. He also continues to add tweaks and improvements for those using Jetpack, Block Lab, the Genesis Framework, CoBlocks, Thrive Comments, ACF, and other popular third party extensions.
Carandang launched EditorsKit on Product Hunt where new users are discovering the plugin for the first time. He also set up a new “frontenberg style” live demo that lets users test EditorsKit features on the frontend of the site. Demo sites like this are a good way to market Gutenberg blocks, making it convenient for users who would otherwise have to install the plugin on their own test sites.
“My main objective is for EditorsKit to be known in the community,” he said. “I feel like it’s really solid plugin and I need to reach more people. With tons of blocks plugin available, utility plugins like EditorsKit are being left out.”
Although Carandang has no plans to release a pro version of EditorsKit at the moment, he has considered creating commercial extensions for it in the future. Marketing a utility plugin has so far proven to be more of a challenge than plugins that offer custom blocks.
There was some discussion in the EditorsKit community on Facebook about recent EditorsKit features straying into the design aspect of site building. While the new Block Styling options may be a useful for some users, custom shapes and layouts straddle the line between design and editing features. It seems like a slight departure from the more utilitarian editor features the plugin became know for, such as markdown formatting, block visibility, drag-and-drop import/export, and the ability to disable auto-saving.
Carandang may need to tread carefully to keep the plugin from becoming a catch-all drawer of “features that would be nice to have for Gutenberg,” for the sake of marketing it more effectively.
“I don’t plan on adding design utility classes,” he said. “Just padding, margin and flexbox. The rest should be from the theme. I’m planning to help out theme devs that will support EditorsKit with the integration. I don’t want the plugin file to be huge and filled with CSS for design. My goal is still Gutenberg Editor Toolkit.”
A loose EditorsKit roadmap is public with upcoming features outlined in issues on the plugin’s GitHub repo. Most of of those listed seem more aligned with editing than design, so future versions of the plugin likely will not bloat the plugin with too many design-related block settings panels.
WordPress plugin developer Jeffrey Carandang has rebranded his Block Options plugin to EditorsKit. Carandang created Block Options prior to co-founding CoBlocks, which was recently acquired by GoDaddy. It began as a plugin for controlling block visibility, inspired by his Widget Options plugin, but has since grown to include more features for managing Gutenberg blocks. EditorsKit now offers the following capabilities:
- Devices Visibility Options
- User Login State Visibility
- Display Logic
- Advanced Custom Fields Integration
- Block Guide Lines
“As much as I love the name ‘Block Options,’ it has started to become too generic and has been used a lot on the Gutenberg editor itself,” Carandang said. “So, I have decided to change the name to something that stands out and fits the purpose more – page building block options for the new editor.
“The name EditorsKit came from ‘Editor’s Toolkit.’ I’ve been progressively moving towards building a set of tools that will help users navigate through the editor more conveniently, besides giving them visibility control.”
Version 1.4 of the plugin introduces the new Block Guide Lines feature, one of the features to go beyond visibility management. It allows users to toggle guide lines on/off for titles and editor blocks to check element boundaries. Carandang said the feature becomes especially useful when handling nested blocks.
The last major release of the plugin also improves the UI and UX with a new “Visibility Settings” modal for managing all visibilities in the same place. The modal includes an “Advanced” tab for more complicated options that are more likely to be used by developers, such as custom display logic and ACF visibility support.
Under the umbrella of its new branding and website, Carandang plans to expand EditorsKit to include more tools, with the next set focused on developers. Next on the roadmap is a setting to toggle Auto Save on/off and theme support for page template body classes.
Check out a quick preview of the improved interface and new features below: