New Iceberg Plugin Brings a Distraction-Free Writing Experience to WordPress
Ever on the hunt for a more beautiful, simplified writing experience inside WordPress, I jumped at the chance to beta test the new Iceberg plugin. Rich Tabor and Jeffrey Caradang, the same team behind CoBlocks, have created a new markdown editor built on top of Gutenberg that provides the best writing experience for WordPress since core’s retired Distraction Free Writing mode. Iceberg features a minimalist editor with four color themes, the ability to create a custom theme, and a set of typography controls. In switching to Iceberg, there is not much missing much from the default block editor that would be necessary for writing. Users can drag and drop media into Iceberg and the backslash command works to trigger the block inserter. It also includes a Table of Contents, word and character counts, reading time, keyboard shortcuts, and support for emoji. “Iceberg was brought to fruition out of an experiment to make WordPress look and feel more like my favorite writing applications,” Tabor said. “My personal publishing flow was to write in an external application, paste it all into the block editor, followed by fixing/adjusting/resizing everything–honestly not fun. You see, writing with blocks is just ‘ok’ – and doesn’t feel natural. “After chatting with others, I realized a lot of folks shared the same sentiment and that such a small number of folks I talked to actually composed articles within WordPress. And although I appreciate how far the block editor has come over the years as a site editor and page builder, I wanted to morph the experience to better support publishing.” The Iceberg name is a nod towards Guten “berg.” Tabor said he wanted the project to seem more approachable, without being tied to WordPress or emphasizing blocks. Tabor said he was inspired by dedicated writing applications like Bear, Ulysses, Dropbox Paper, and Google Docs. What he loves most about Iceberg is that its design is centered around the writer’s preferences. “The editor themes that sit at the core of Iceberg’s design language empower each writer to define their flavor of the editor,” he said. “Every color variable is auto-generated based on the editor theme and applied throughout the interface as necessary.” Gutenberg was also a strong inspiration for the design principles that guided Tabor in creating Iceberg. “Gutenberg itself is undergoing quite a transformation with what’s being dubbed as ‘G2’ – a new design system geared towards improved contrast, modern lines and an overall cleaner look,” he said. “I knew I wanted to push Iceberg in that direction, bringing a clean and modern look to the writing environment.” Under the hood, Iceberg is simply an extension of the block editor that de-emphasizes blocks to better enable writers. Since the plugin manipulates the editor itself, users’ content remains intact even if it is deactivated. “It’s a clever combination of React components, styles, CSS custom variables and UX that is centered entirely around the art of writing,” Tabor said. “In short, if folks are familiar with Gutenberg development, they’ll find Iceberg similarly structured.” Tabor said he wants to keep the plugin simple while also exploring where he can push the writing experience further forward. Possible features coming to the roadmap include goal setting, readability analysis, an improved pre-publish checklist, and better post previews/live previewing. Iceberg Gets Positive Reviews at Launch, Fills a Gap in the Block Editor’s Support for Writers Iceberg is launching as a commercial product, priced at $39 for a single site or $99 for unlimited sites. » Read More
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