Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Image from the iconic Game of Thrones title sequence

I just finished watching the series finale of Game of Thrones (GoT) and it feels like the end of an era.

I grew up watching the show these past 8 years. I still remember the day my ex-roommate, Gopi, suggested it to me for the very first time. I had just graduated and was actively looking for jobs at the time and wanted to start watching something to take my mind off of my job hunt.

I watched the very first episode of the show and immediately got hooked. It was extremely captivating. It wasn’t like anything I had seen before on TV. The quality of the show was unprecedented.

I started watching the show knowing nothing about the books. I loved it. It instantly became my favorite TV series. I binge-watched the rest of the episodes of the first season and waited for the season finale and watched it with even more excitement. Ever since the first season, whenever the show aired, I waited every Sunday eagerly for HBO to drop a new GoT episode and watched it immediately to avoid the risk of spoilers all over the internet.

I, like many of the others who watched the show, rooted for all the main characters, not knowing their fate. I felt bad every time a character that I rooted for died. I obsessively followed all the fan theories on Reddit and many other sources. This was the first time I had seen such a response to a TV show.

I do agree that there has been a quality drop since the part where the story from the books ended, nevertheless, it’s a great TV show.

George R. R. Martin (GRRM) is a genius for coming up with such great content and HBO did a great job by turning it into a TV series.

Thank you, GRRM & HBO for such a brilliant experience.

Gutenberg

The UX around composing a blog post has changed significantly over the years. It has moved from pure text based posts to having image embeds, galleries, videos and cards from various websites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. The text editors are responsible for good UX and it’s great that they are evolving. This evolution lets users focus on the content and makes it really easy for them to express their ideas.

Medium’s Text Editor

Over the past few years, one of the biggest innovations around text editing has been Medium’s Text Editor. It’s a wonderful editor that looks great. Here’s a couple of screenshots of the editor while editing a story on Medium.com:

Medium’s Text Editor showing text styling options
Medium’s Text Editor showing media embedding options

As you can see, the UI looks clean, minimalistic, beautiful and lets the user focus on what’s truly important – Content.

Now, all of this is great, but, there’s one key thing missing here – Extensibility. Being able to extend the functionality of this editor using plugins makes it so much more powerful.

Gutenberg

WordPress’s new text editor is called Gutenberg. It is fantastic. Imagine having the beauty and functionality of Medium’s text editor, along with support for plugins. That’s Gutenberg.

First off, Gutenberg’s UI/UX is amazing. Composing a blog post in Gutenberg feels really fun. It makes you want to write more. It uses this concept of Blocks. Each Block can be an entity in your content. This basically means that a paragraph, image, image gallery, embedded video, embedded audio etc are all Blocks. Here’s how editing a Block looks like in Gutenberg:

Composing this blog post in Gutenberg

The UI looks great and editing Blocks is really simple. Also, the editor comes with a handy shortcut to insert new Blocks. This is activated by typing in “/” anywhere in the compose region of the editor. Here’s how it looks like:

Gutenberg’s shortcut to access various Blocks

The default editor ships with a lot of Blocks. But, there’s a huge community of developers building awesome new Blocks that can be integrated into the editor by installing them as WordPress plugins.

Conclusion

I’m very satisfied with WordPress’s direction to improve the compose experience. I think this is only going to get better and I can’t wait to see what the community comes up with. If you want to give Gutenberg a try, here’s the live link: https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/

The Reverse Switch

After 7 years, I’m back on WordPress. Lot of things have changed in 7 years. For starters, the prices have significantly gone down for hosting your server. Also, the UX of the WP mobile app is now so much better. The new blocks based text editor is very interesting.

One of the primary reasons for me to switch back to WP from Jekyll is to be able to compose blog posts even from my phone.

Lately, my workflow for blogging has been something like the following:

  1. Compose an initial draft in the Notes.app
  2. Once the draft is 80-90% done, convert it to Markdown and iterate over the draft until I find the content satisfactory
  3. Push to GitHub to publish the post

As you can see, steps 2 and 3 require me to be on the computer. Those steps can’t really be done from my phone in a simple way. As a result, I’ve seen myself slacking away from finalizing posts more often.

This switch back to WP should make it more easier for me to post more often. I already notice the difference, since, I’m composing this post on my phone. Now, I can focus on writing more.

Indeed, I did.