Playing with the Block Editor (ptui!)

So, this post was (‘is’ as I’m typing this) created entirely using the Block Editor (ptui!)

The above sentence is on its own Paragraph Block. It’s the default block when I started typing. Also, this this paragraph is in its own Paragraph Block that was created when I hit ‘Enter’ at the end of the first sentence.

Let’s review. Paragraph Blocks work exactly as they do in Word and other editors. Meaning, as long as you keep typing without hitting ‘Enter’, the words and sentences you write are all considered to be in one paragraph.

But, the moment you hit ‘Enter’, word editors create a new paragraph by increasing the spacing between the last group of words you typed and the new group of words. The Block Editor (ptui!) does the same; it assumes you want a new block (and the default is a paragraph block).

Edited to Add: If you don’t want to create a new block but still want an extra line space between the text, you can do so by using Shift-Enter — hold down the Shift key and then hit Enter; that will move the cursor to a new line. Hit another Shift-Enter and now you’ve added another blank line . . . like this . . .

This text in green is all in one Paragraph Block. As long as you use Shift-Enter, the editor will not create a new block.

Note: you might be able to change the default block but I don’t know if that’s the case since I’m still learning. Meaning, perhaps you can make the default block be an Image Block. I mean, that seems as if it would be a no-brainer, and FSM knows it often seems the programmers meet that criteria.

I think many people would benefit from looking at the Block Editor (ptui!) as they would look at a word editor (Word, Open Office, etc.) and, in your mind, replace the word “paragraph” with “paragraph block”.

Until you get used to blocks, I recommend turning on the Spotlight Mode (click on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner and click on ‘Spotlight Mode’. You will then notice that only the active paragraph is “lit up’ and all the others are grayed out. You can switch between paragraphs just like you would in Word . . . by clicking with your mouse where you want the cursor to be.

A word about menus . . . if you right-click in Word or other editors, a menu pops up which lets you format the appearance of what you are typing.

In the Block Editor (ptui!), the menu (Toolbar) for the given block is always on and by default sits right above the active paragraph.

That can be confusing to some, especially because the Toolbar turns on and off depending on what you’re doing (it turns off when you’re typing, but turns back on when you move the mouse).

For me, the better option is to anchor the Toolbar at the top of the page, below the main menu that’s beside the “W” logo. That’s accomplished by clicking the three vertical dots in the upper right (the opposite side of the the WordPress ‘W’ logo) and clicking the ‘Top Toolbar’ option.

So, that’s a brief overview . . . but it’s not why I’m writing this post. Before I continue, let me add a photo. Adding a photo is confusing to some.

If I drag a photo into my workspace, the program automatically creates an Image Block outside the block I’m writing in, and depending on where you have the cursor, it might go either above or below the Block you were working on.

Again, this is somewhat similar to working with Word . . . try dragging/inserting a photo into Word, and where it’s placed and how it behaves is controlled by default options like alignment, whether it’s in front or behind or in the same space as the text, and depending on where your cursor is. Meaning, in Word — like the Block Editor (ptui!) — dragging and dropping an image might or might not work like you want it to.

The better option when using the Block Editor (ptui!) is to insert an Image Block. You do that by clicking the [+] in the upper left corner (next to the WordPress ‘W’ logo).

When you click the [+], a menu opens up with a choice of blocks. Choose Image, and a nice block opens up. Inside it, there are options for uploading, selecting from the Libray, or inserting via a link.

For the people who want to add a border, the Image Block removes the easy way that you could do it in the Classic Editor (or when using the Classic Block). Or, if it’s there, I don’t see it (yet another thing I need to research).

If you are not adept at HTML editing, I advise you to insert photos using the Classic Block (as I discussed in previous posts).

If I feel like it, I might do a post showing where and how to set the border option as default so that you only have to do it once. But not right now because I want to research it a bit more.

Me? I add a border when I process my photos, so it’s not a problem.

BUT . . . there is another annoyance with the Image Block . . . It doesn’t fill the width of the available real estate. Meaning, no matter what I try, the image is slightly narrower than the width of the text. That only appears to be an issue with this post. in my last post, the photos filled the available width. Perhaps they will here too once published, but it’s not showing it in the preview.

I’ll insert a photo using the Classic Block to see if it behaves differently after publishing.

It does appear that when the image is inserted using the Classic block, it behaves as it does when using the Classic Editor.

So, I’ve digressed quite a bit from the reason I started this post. I originally wanted to play with the font size options in the Paragraph Block. In my previous post, I mentioned I wasn’t happy with the font offerings they gave us when they removed the Adobe Toolkit.

Well, the Paragraph block has additional controls when it comes to the font.

I can reduce the size of the font for a given paragraph. For instance, I reduced the size of the font for this paragraph. I can then preview the post to see what it looks like. I need to preview it because the font when you edit a post is not the same as the font when you publish a post. Don’t ask me why because I’m a logical person and when someone says “Visual Editor” it means a different thing to me than it does to WordPress and the Block Editor (ptui!). I assume it would be a WYSIWYG editor (what you see is what you get).

Edited to add: while the font in the above paragraph looks smaller on my PC, when I read the post on my mobile phone, the font in the above paragraph is larger than the regular font. Go figure.
Curiously, a big reason for going to the Block Editor is to accommodate different writing platforms. Oh, and accommodate “content creators” who want to make their material eye-catching. We, the ‘plebeian’ class of bloggers have to suffer the consequences.

That particular size option doesn’t appear to offer a legibility improvement. Likely because that’s a scaled-down version of the original as opposed to a different size of the same font. I might be wrong, but it doesn’t appear to be proportionally changed since the spacing between letters seems proportionally different. I could be wrong, and the font just looks bad at that size.

Plus, in the ‘visual editor,’ the font doesn’t look as small as it does once published. That means I’d have to do many, many trial adjustments — each with an accompanying ‘Preview’ — to get the fonts exactly as I want them.

It’ll be a bit of a pain because there are four settings that control how the font appears, and while they are interconnected, they also modify proportionally as opposed to absolutely. It’s like trying to guess which of 24 different possibilities is the one you want by changing multiple variables at the same time.

Anyway, there are some useful things you can do with the paragraph block but others that make no sense. You can change the text color of the entire Block. Or just a portion of it. You can add a Drop Cap . . . although you cannot see it until you stop typing, so you don’t know how it will look. And, if you don’t have enough lines, it looks weird. I never liked Drop Caps.

You can also add a background color, except that this will make the text portion of the block smaller so that the color can go around the whole text.

Unlike color options and other formatting options (like line height) that one might use for visual impact, the fact you can add an in-line image — much like you can in Word — is mystifying. It’s mystifying because unlike Word, you cannot control how it interacts with the text. Basically, this is an image that is tied to the Paragraph Block as if it was a letter or number. Once there, you can’t move it. You can change its size or delete it. That’s it.

Here, I’ve added the above image as an inline image. I did it by clicking the ‘down’ arrow in the paragraph menu and choosing ‘inline image’ and picking an image from the Media Library. That will insert an image at the cursor. I can then control the size. Obviously, this isn’t very useful to me, and I don’t know who it would be useful to. It might be useful if the text ‘flowed’ around the image, but I don’t see such a setting. Once placed, I don’t see a way to move the image.

One other annoying behavior occurs when trying to highlight a portion of the text. For no reason, the display may jump to a different block and even highlight multiple blocks at the same time. At first, I thought i was doing something wrong, but no . . . the Block Editor (ptui!) appears a bit spastic.

So, all in all, I’m still not impressed. Understand, it’s not that I can’t or don’t know how to work with the Block Editor (ptui!) . . . it’s that I don’t need it, and using it increases the effort of creating a post.

Classic editor will be what I will continue using. Not the Classic Block — although that is usable — but the Classic Editor. If they ever get rid of the Classic Editor, then I will move to the Classic Block.

“And if they get rid of the Classic Block?”

Well, Bob, as Jayne says . . . “That will be an interesting day.

One final note . . . try to avoid editing posts you’ve created using the block editor and which contain a lot of blocks (like this post) . . . whenever I went back in to add something, I ran into glitches that had me lose content.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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