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Advanced Gutenberg Review: New Blocks + User Access Controls For Gutenberg

Last Updated on July 13th, 2020

Published on September 14th, 2018

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the WordPress content creation experience is about to get a massive makeover in the form of the upcoming Gutenberg Editor in WordPress 5.0 (you can try this editor for yourself without installing anything at this website).

One of the neat things about Gutenberg is how extensible it is, which brings us to the subject of today’s review:

Advanced Gutenberg is a free plugin from JoomUnited that adds lots of helpful new functionality to the Gutenberg editor.

This new functionality comes in the form of both new Gutenberg blocks (how you create content layouts with Gutenberg) and new editor controls, like the option to control which blocks users have access to based on user roles or even for individual users.

Keep reading my Advanced Gutenberg review to learn how this plugin can help you while using Gutenberg.

Advanced Gutenberg Review: The Feature List

As you learned above, Advanced Gutenberg offers two types of additions.

First, you get ~13 new blocks to use in your Gutenberg content (at the time of writing this review – I’m assuming they’ll add more in the future). One of these – separator – is actually an enhancement for the barebones existing block, while all of the others are brand new additions:

  • Post summary – generates an automatic summary based on Gutenberg’s content title structure.
  • Advanced Button Block – create buttons with more styles than the native button block.
  • Advanced List Block – create a list with icons, as well as customizable icon covers.
  • Map Block – load a Google map with custom position, zoom, tooltip, etc.
  • Advanced Table Block – create tables with more control over style and color.
  • Accordion Block – display information in a configurable accordion interface.
  • Tabs Block – display content in a customizable tab interface.
  • Testimonial Block – including the person’s image, as well as other customization options.
  • Counter Block – display various types of counters for numbers on your site.
  • Advanced Image Block – add hover text, overlays, colors, and more.
  • Advanced Video Block – customize both local and embedded videos.
  • Separator – more separator options for size, color, and spacing
  • Social Links Block – use custom icons to link to your various social profiles.

The custom Gutenberg blocks are cool by themselves, but I think the neatest functionality in Advanced Gutenberg is the new controls.

These let you:

  • Create custom profiles for user roles or users that control which blocks people have access to while using Gutenberg.
  • Add custom styles to Gutenberg.
  • Configure the default styling for all the new blocks in Advanced Gutenberg.

Hands-on With Advanced Gutenberg

When you install and activate Advanced Gutenberg, you’ll get a new Adv. Gutenberg area in your dashboard sidebar where you can configure the plugin’s functionality (the new blocks will also be available in the Gutenberg interface as soon as you activate the plugin):

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advanced gutenberg review interface

Let’s go through what you can do here – then I’ll show you some of the new blocks.

Profiles Tab

The Profiles tab is one of the most powerful areas in Advanced Gutenberg. It lets you control exactly what individual users have access to when they create content with Gutenberg.

Basically, a “profile” is a set of permissions for which blocks people can access. You can then apply profiles to:

  • Entire user roles
  • Specific usernames

For example, if you allow third-party authors at your site, you could create a profile for Contributors that gives them access to all the blocks they need for creating blog post content, but not other more advanced blocks.

First, you toggle individual blocks on or off (including third-party blocks):

enable disable blocks

Then, you can pop over to the Profile Attribution tab to activate the profile for:

  • Individual user accounts
  • User roles

target users

And then when the applicable user(s) go to create content, they’ll only see the blocks available in their profile. I tested this by creating a profile with access to just two blocks – image and paragraph. It did indeed work:

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limited blocks

If you assign multiple profiles to the same user, they seem to get the one with the most permissions.

Right off the bat, this feature is pretty awesome for controlling access on your site. And you don’t have to use it just as an access control – it can also be handy for streamlining the interface by simply hiding blocks that you never use.

Configuration Tab

In the Configuration tab, you’re basically controlling default settings. One neat thing is the Default Blocks Config tab:

default config

This lets you control the default styling for the blocks that Advanced Gutenberg adds:

configure defaults

Custom Styles Tab

The Custom Styles tab lets you configure your own CSS styles/classes to use inside Gutenberg.

For each class that you add, you can:

  • Choose the name/class
  • Choose an identification color
  • Add your custom CSS

For example, you’d add it like this:

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custom styles in gutenberg

Then, you’ll be able to quickly apply that style while creating content with Gutenberg:

use custom styles in gutenberg

That’s a neat way to save time with custom styling. It’s kind of like this method for the current editor – but simpler.

Translation Tab

Finally, the Translation tab lets you translate the plugin into your own native language:

translate advanced gutenberg

And that’s it for the settings!

To finish out this Advanced Gutenberg review, I’ll give you a look at some of the new Gutenberg blocks that you can use in your designs.

Advanced Gutenberg New Content Blocks

Like I mentioned, all the new blocks in Advanced Gutenberg are available as soon as you activate the plugin.

You’ll insert them just like you would any other block:

new gutenberg blocks

I won’t show you every single new block, but here are some of my favorites…

The Count Up block lets you create a number counter that counts up to a certain number. You can also use the column adjustment to add multiple counters:

gutenberg counter block

The Tab block gives you a really simple interface for creating multiple tabs. And you also get a good number of style options. You can actually interact with the tabs while using Gutenberg – it’s very WYSIWYG:

gutenberg tabs block

The Advanced List block lets you create those cool icon lists:

gutenberg icon list

And the Accordion block gives you the same level of control as the tab block, but in an accordion format. This one makes it really easy to create those cool collapsible FAQs:

gutenberg accordion

Again – this is just a sampling of the ~13 new blocks that are available to you.

All in all, you get some really handy blocks that let you create more advanced content.

Advanced Gutenberg Pricing And Final Thoughts

Advanced Gutenberg is 100% free right now. None of the features are locked behind a paid version, and you can download it straight from WordPress.org.

While Advanced Gutenberg’s new blocks are helpful, there are a lot of interesting block plugins, so I don’t necessarily see that as its biggest differentiating feature (though again – the blocks definitely help).

What I find most unique is the role editor/profile manager. I think that will come in really handy for several use cases. You might want to:

  • Simplify the Gutenberg editor to remove blocks that you don’t use.
  • Limit which blocks authors or contributors at your site can use.
  • Restrict which blocks your clients can use so they don’t break anything.

Additionally, I like the option to create your own custom styles and apply them in Gutenberg. This is something I set up for my own site with TinyMCE and it definitely comes in handy when creating content.

Because Advanced Gutenberg is 100% free, you’re really not risking anything by trying it out. If you’re already using Gutenberg, consider giving this one a go. And if you’re not, keep it in mind for when WordPress 5.0 ships.

Get Advanced Gutenberg

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Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.