Andrei Lupu Interview

This past month, we attended our local WordCamp, WordCamp Bucharest. At the event, we had a chance to interview several interesting WordPress folks and get their unique perspectives on WordPress. One of these great (and funny) people was our former colleague, Andrei Lupu (aka The Wolf), who had an interesting presentation about the upcoming Gutenberg editor.

Before we get to Gutenberg, have you had a chance to read our latest interview with Sami Keijonen, a member of the WordPress Accessibility team? You can check out Sami, and all our other interviews, at our Pirate Interviews page.

Now, back to Andrei! 🙂

Andrei Lupu Interview
Andrei Lupu is a proud Gutenberg-er. To be honest, sailing against the current of Gutenberg critics is not easy, but Andrei is happily preaching his excitement for the page builder every chance he gets.

His philosophy is simple: people need to be more open to the new and stop thinking about the good old days all the time. Otherwise, we would still be using floppy disks, wouldn’t we?

Andrei used to be a part of the ThemeIsle family, where he was crafting our themes and plugins from the back-end. Now, he’s still Gutenberg-ing and programming, but on his own. You can find him sharing dev insights on his personal blog and contributing to WordPress in many different ways.

This interview is all about Gutenberg, but we won’t get too technical! Our talk is more about learning to embrace innovation and adapt to a new perspective.

To learn more about Andrei’s thoughts on Gutenberg, you can read the text version below or watch the video to the right (or both!). Then, let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Andrei Lupu Interview on Gutenberg – “I’m excited that the WordPress users will finally get a creative user interface”

You said Gutenberg is great for writers, so why should devs get excited?

Andrei Lupu:

Well, Gutenberg is pretty much of a wonder from a technological point of view. There are many modern tools used in there, which is very interesting. So I’m not sure it’s all about the content, it’s also about the technical part. This is what I love about it.

What are you most excited about?

Andrei Lupu:

I’m excited that the WordPress users will be finally served with a creative user interface. An easy to use one. Until now, we kind of had our struggle with using the old editor but, as I can see, many people come and say “Hey, I love Gutenberg, it’s very easy to use, I think that it will rock”.

Which Gutenberg myth is most untrue?

Andrei Lupu:

I don’t know, I guess the one that you cannot create meta boxes – the old meta boxes that developers are all worried about. But that’s kind of false because the way you could create your own meta boxes as of today, now you can create your own sidebar API or blocks or you name it. You just have to learn the process. But it’s a false myth that “Oh, it’s impossible to do that now”. No, it’s possible, you just have to do it.

What do we need to have a great Gutenberg theme?

Andrei Lupu:

I think that, right now, we somehow need a new perspective, we need a new way of creating themes with this new editor. Because we are bringing a ton of old things into the discussion. And, to be honest, I recently changed the theme on my website. I was searching a lot and couldn’t find a great theme, but I’m pretty happy with my choice at this moment.

What are the great things about Gutenberg?

Andrei Lupu:

This update will bring a better user experience for authors, not necessarily for developers. But for developers, because I am one, it brings some sort of new rules, new ground for the JavaScript environment. Because until now we had standardization only in the server side, only PHP developers had this kind of rules. But now we are getting rules in the JavaScript part, in the browser, where there was a jungle before: everyone created their own interface, their own style.

Now, Gutenberg comes and says “Hey, this is our style from now on. Here you put your sidebar, here you put your icons, your buttons, your shortcodes”. There are boundaries that come with Gutenberg, which I think is a good thing.

Any sage-like wisdom for those of us who are worried about the update?

Andrei Lupu:

It comes with a deadline. People are scared that if they can’t do it until the end of November, something bad will happen. There are alternatives, it’s a learning process. You can learn Gutenberg the same way you learned PHP, creating shortcodes or meta boxes.

Should people start using Gutenberg now? Why?

Andrei Lupu:

Yes – the sooner, the better. At least only in some safe environment or local environment. And just test it, it’s not going to bite or so. Okay, I know that you already have articles – maybe thousands of articles – written in the old fashion and it’s hard to add Gutenberg there. Just replicate that environment, those websites somewhere safe, try it, and I’m pretty sure that it will be a pleasant experience.

What happens if you install Gutenberg over your old content? Will this change affect it? 

Andrei Lupu:

It depends on what kind of setup you have on your website. Because if you have WordPress as it is, it will probably automatically convert it and it will be safe to use Gutenberg. But the problem comes when people are using editing plugins or old shortcodes or something like that. Their plugins somehow interfere with the content. There is a problem because the person who created the plugin must also come now and create some sort of a transformation process. Without that developer doing so, it will break. But the API, the documentation, the docs are there… anyone can do it. It’s free. I mean, it’s supposed to be an easy process in a way but, again, it’s hard. I don’t know why.

Will Gutenberg get you to start blogging again?

Andrei Lupu:

Yes, I didn’t publish an article for a year. Actually right now I’m publishing my WordCamp Bucharest presentation. But I really hope that, at some point, I’ll come back to writing one article per month or something like that. I wish to do that. Thinking that Gutenberg will bring an easy process for me to create reusable content parts, some code snippets that I’d like to use or share an example of… if I’m going to create a block in Gutenberg for that, probably I’m going to publish more.

Did you grow an impressive beard to be more like Gutenberg?

Andrei Lupu:

Oh, my beard! No, I actually grew my beard to look more like my name, which is Andrew The Wolf (Andrei Lupu means Andrew The Wolf in Romanian). So let’s keep the appearances with the name.

That sums up our Andrei Lupu interview. If you have any questions for him, please leave them in the comments section.

Also, if you have any suggestions for who we should talk to next, feel free to give us some names, as well!

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