Big News for Themes, Full Site Editing, and WordCamp US is Back!

Episode 21 July 29, 2021 00:28:03
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WP Review
Big News for Themes, Full Site Editing, and WordCamp US is Back!
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Hosted By

Joe Casabona

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WordPress 5.8 is out and I've been playing around with Full Site Editing a lot! In fact, this episode is pretty theme-heavy. News about block patterns, the direction of the theme directory, and more. 

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Episode Transcript

Welcome to WP review a show that provides analysis on what's happening in the WordPress space and what it means. For users and business owners in the ecosystem. I'll also tell you about helpful tools to build better WordPress websites, upcoming events, and more. This podcast is brought to you by GoDaddy pro. My name is Joe Casabona. Now let's get into the review. So first off I will be talking a lot today. About WordPress 5.8 and full site editing. I do have a video over on my YouTube channel going over. What's new in 5.8 and I just wrapped recording on a major update to my using the block editor course. And I'm rolling out a brand new course called mastering full site editing. Those two courses should be available within the next couple of weeks. And, uh, there'll be available to members first. So, if you want to get a jump on these brand new courses, You can head over to creator courses.com/join. And you can become a member at the monthly. Quarterly or annual level and make sure to use the code WP review. All one word. For 20% off forever, that's a forever deal. So, uh, again, create a courses.com/join. Use the code WP review for 20% off. And you. We'll get access to the, using the block editor course and the master full site editing course, as well as all the other great courses in content I offer. Over there. Okay. Now let's really get into the review. Uh, first up top stories. Uh, there's a few. I think, oh, most of the stories I have today are coming from. Uh, WP Tavern. So I'll try to do them in some sort of a reasonable order. And the first. His initial patterns for the patterns directory launched. Uh, I'm really excited about this because one of my patterns made it into the initial launch for the pattern directory. And people have started. So, uh, really excited. I hope it's a, it's a podcast subscription box. Uh, shout out to Mel choice for helping me with the design of that. Cause I'm, I'm good at putting the right things where they should be, but I'm not good at making them look pretty. Uh, the patterns directory is officially launched now. Eventually it will make its way into WordPress core, where in the patterns area you'll be able to search for a pattern and the results will be pulled from the patterns directory, much like what you do with themes and plugins. But we are not quite there yet. They were working out. They, the WordPress open source team. Uh, we're working out. Uh, some, some bugs and things like that. And so it's not quite ready for core, but I would expect it to make it into core before 5.9. That's just a gut feeling I have. Uh, and when it does, I think it'll just be absolutely fantastic. Um, I'm really excited. Uh, because I block patterns are. A really easy way to create these reusable sort of templates for. For your WordPress site and the more. Uh, accessible these block patterns are the better. So, uh, keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, you can go to wordpress.org/patterns. And copy. A pattern. There's a copy button. It gets copied to your clipboard. You paste it into the block editor. And the block pattern shows up there for you to edit. You could make that a reusable block. But just keep in mind that with reusable blocks, unless you then convert them again to regular blocks. If you change it once it changes everywhere. But, uh, I think I liked that as, as big news. Um, Uh, launched just a couple of days, maybe just a day after. Um, The, uh, The release of 5.8. This post, our meeting is actually from today. So, uh, You know, I think they, it went live and then they waited a couple of days to make sure. That everything was working and they announced it today. So that's the block patterns directory. You can find it over at wordpress.org/patterns. Uh, next up. Is I think a really good story. From. WP Tavern. Called theme creation will be easier, but we are not there yet. Basically since full site editing came into a much clearer view. When it wasn't just. Kind of the name. Of a phase. I've been thinking about the ramifications. Of what this means for theme developers. Right. I, I made my bones as a theme developer, basically in the WordPress space. That was my bread and butter. Uh, I, um, I, most of my work was taking PSDs and converting them into WordPress themes. And my first book was about exactly that. Uh, it was called building WordPress themes from scratch. And the publisher provided me with a P uh, uh, PSD, a Photoshop file and I sliced it up and I turned it into a WordPress theme. So. Yeah, I've been thinking a lot about that. And I know that there are people who think that this is going to be. The death. Of theme developers. But I think it's quite the contrary to that. And I'll elaborate on this more in, in the main segment about full site editing. But, you know, I think there's a really good quote from Timmy Lister here. Uh, the way that themes have evolved within WordPress has made creating them easier. Uh, this feels like that feels like a bold statement, but it's true. And it's absolutely true. Uh, as Justin goes on to say, it's not a stretch. Um, to, to say that, and many would be asking for the secret sauce recipe of easy theme creation. Um, And. On the one hand as Justin points out here, right? It's it's it could be complex. Right. Cause there's like a ton of API. And there's like composer files sometimes. And. It's definitely not. As easy as it was from a development standpoint, when I was doing it. Um, when I first started, I should say. But. With the theme dot Jason file. And full site editing. I think the job. Of theme developers is going to change. Dramatically. And for the better. Uh, because they won't need to cram in. All of these. Features. They won't need to come up with weird hacks to make certain things work. They can. Do the guideposts, right? They can pick the right fonts and do all the good padding and letter spacing and, and all of these typography things that most people find impossible. They can pick good color schemes and color palettes. They can set the padding in the margins the right way. And then they can include block patterns. And let full site editing, take care of the rest. I think that's going to be a really good thing. And that's, that's what I covered in my word. Camp. Santa Clarita talk. Um, you know, what theme developers can and should think about. I think the better, the better the tools for making software like themes and websites. The more time we can spend. On solving the right problems. Like making sure our websites are accessible. Uh, making sure our websites load quickly, even on bad internet connections. Um, And, and making sure we have well-designed usable sites. So I think this is a really good article. Everything I'm talking about here will be linked in the show notes [email protected] Of course. Uh, and the last big story I want to mention here is. Extremely interesting to me. Uh, next phase, this is also from the Tavern. Uh, the next phase. Of the WordPress theme. Review overhaul, open meeting and calls for feedback. Uh, so the, the wordpress.org themes team announced an open discussion and date for a zoom meeting with theme authors, the team is proposing a new set of guidelines that reduces and simplifies what is currently in place. I think this is. A very good thing. Uh, we've talked about, I've talked about this in. Uh, on a post status podcast and, and with various other people about. How we need. I think. We need something better than what currently exists. So. Uh, Matt Mullenweg, uh, mentioned this in the post status slack as reported by WP Tavern. the.org theme directory is particularly bad when you compare it to any half decent commercial theme marketing page. Or the designs available on other site building services or theme forest directories. the.org theme directory rules and update mechanism have driven out creative country contributions. It's largely crowded out by upsell motivated contributions. And he's absolutely right. Uh, I think that there are too many rules, uh, look at what happened to Astra last year. Uh, they, you know, They knowingly broke the rules, but. They're the first non-default theme to make it to a million. Active installs or maybe a million installs, maybe it wasn't active installs. Um, and without these upsell mechanisms, they have no way to. Support that side of their business. So they included affiliate links. Which again, that's against the rules and I can see why it would be against the rules. But if there were better rules in place, Maybe we would, we would not see. Uh, upsell motivated contributions, right? If we could. Let's say in the support area, direct people to premium support. Or have a marketplace. Four themes and plugins to sell directly on wordpress.org. I know there are complexities to that. But WooCommerce is doing it. Uh, and there are probably organizational. Uh, hurdles because the WordPress foundation is an international. Non-profit organization technically. But. Uh, I, you know, I think that. Some, obviously something's got to give, right. Matt has recognized it. The WordPress themes team has recognized it. Um, and they're, they're calling for feedback and actually those comments. Uh, and the discussion has happened. So. By the next episode in two weeks, I will report back on. Um, You know, what, what went on during that discussion? Once all the. Once all the feedback. Uh, is publicized and cooperated. Um, but I think that this is going to be a very good thing. It's, it's a really good time to be a theme developer, I think because the tools are getting. Much better. Uh, to create good themes. And now the.org theme directory rules. Are changing, presumably for the better. So we'll see, we'll see what happens. I'm really excited. So those are. The top stories for today. Uh, let's. Take a quick break with a word from our sponsor. Our sponsor is GoDaddy pro I'd like you to know about GoDaddy pro. GoDaddy pro is an experience tailored specifically to the needs of web designers and developers and helps them more efficiently manage their work and deliver results for their clients. Combining website, client and project management, GoDaddy pro is an integrated solution made by and for web professionals. Whether you need. Whether you're new to web design. Or looking to grow your business, you'll find the tools, products, guidance, and support to help you deliver results for clients. At the heart of GoDaddy pro is the hub from one intuitive dashboard. The hub seamlessly brings your sites, clients, and projects together. I can't stress this enough. Everybody I've talked to about the hub things. It's. 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Which is all about. Uh, WordPress 5.8 and specifically full site editing thoughts. I just spent. About a week or so. Recording. The updates to my courses, multiple courses and a new course, really. Um, And so. I, I got to kind of dive in and use full site editing. Uh, and explore it to the fullest as it exists in the Gutenberg plugin. And I'm really excited about what you will be able to do with full site editing. Uh, the template parts are super cool. I was able to quickly and easily make a two column layout using a sidebar template part. I suspect in a future iteration of full site editing, you'll be able to register sidebars because you can already register headers and footers. Which is neat. It lets you make micro-sites right. Cause if you have a theme with a blank, totally blank canvas. You can have a custom header. And a custom footer. For specific categories, right? This gives you. The ability to customize templates in a way that you only used to be able to do with code. And it does, you know, you, you do have to understand. The. The WordPress template hierarchy a little bit, or at least that gives you an edge. Right. Um, So. You know, you need to understand kind of what a single. Uh, S uh, singular template is. And what template parts are. Um, So, um, I'm just kind of writing down an idea here for understanding theme development for full site editing. Uh, it just kind of dawned on me right now that it's probably super helpful. Um, but. It's um, I'm really excited about what. As a theme developer myself, what I'll be able to do without having to write code. Um, and then again, I can focus on. Some some better. Uses of my time. Right. That's why we have reusable software. That's why we have, well, that's why we use open source software. Because that gives us a jump on. Focusing on solving the harder problems. Now that said it is very buggy. Uh, in recording one of my videos. I realized that the space key didn't work. And I haven't explored it further. I'm not sure if it's a full site editor thing. Or if it's a blocks thing. Cause that's the theme I was using. Maybe it's a Chrome thing, but in the midst of recording that. Video. I got my, my, uh, editor will hear just how very frustrated I am. Uh, or was, and how much you'll have to edit out. And so I had to figure out a way around that. Uh, so it's really buggy. It's definitely not ready for prime time yet. And there are a few reasons for that first. I couldn't get global styles working. In TT one blocks. I don't know if that's just because I had 20, 21 enabled and used. That before enabling TT one blocks. I don't know if it's. Some bug where, uh, the theme dot Jason file is overriding the global styles in the site editor. But that's a pretty big feature that isn't currently working as I tried it. I'm going to try other full site editing, enabled themes. Maybe it's a TT one blocks thing, like I said, but, um, the fact that I couldn't get that to work in a video where I'm trying to use just the default stuff. Is problematic. Uh, there's also issues with consistent padding margins and widths in the normal block editor. You can say you want something to be full with or wide width. Uh, or, you know, some sort of content with you can do that with headers and footers. You can't do that with any other blocks in the block editor right now. Um, In the site editor rather. Uh, and so I created a two column layout and then I basically had to add like 50, 60. Pixels of padding. To the left on the left column and to the right on the right column so that everything wasn't slamming up against the sides. Uh, and again, this is, I reiterate this in the course a lot. This is a highly experimental feature. They say it. Uh, it's, it's noted everywhere. And most people at this point are not going to be using it. This is, this is essentially a developer beta. And I created this course now because I wanted to get a jump on how it works and. How it evolves. Uh, and I want to show people how it works and how it's evolving in the course. So it's definitely not ready for prime time, but. It is super powerful. I can't stress that enough. You can, I mean, I'm just thinking of situations with something like WP landing kit. Uh, which is a plugin that does in WordPress, in the WordPress dashboard, domain mapping. And so with that and full site editing, I can create full micro sites in a single WordPress installation. Thanks to full site editing. I can modify. These templates and posts. And do things that I was trying to do with the post editor block or the post listing block recently, that was very frustrating to me. So the full site editor. It is. So good. The concept is good. The execution so far is going really well. I love what the team is doing right now to make sure they're getting enough feedback and testing. And the features that are in 5.8 right now work well, the query block or the query loop block that's in there right now. The blocks in widget areas works pretty well. I would love to see a way to. Just have kind of like a big blank widget area so that I can add like columns or rows, but. You know, that's just kind of me thinking out loud. Uh, the page templates, right? So modifying the page templates. In the kind of strips down site editor that we have in 5.8 works really well. We do that in the block editor course, we use the site template editor. To create a cool looking page for our concept site. So. I am. My overall thoughts. I'm really excited about this. I have been since I first demoed it. It's super powerful already. It is still very much beta software. Uh, so it's still buggy. It's not ready for prime time, but. If you start using it today, make sure to provide feedback. Uh, because this is the time where we, you know, early adopters can have a strong influence on. The direction of full site editing. So definitely check it out. I'll have a link in the show notes to the full site editing. Page. Area. And there's also, if you want to get involved in the slack. Uh, the, the may court press slack. There's a whole channel dedicated to that F S E outreach experiment. Um, and so again, I'm really happy with the way things are going. They're super excited. All right. Let's wrap things up with some recommendations. The first. I would have included this in the new section, but. It seems like a good recommendation for an event. WordPress word camp. Us is back. Last year, you might recall the whole Genesis of this project happened because of the announcement that due to online event and zoom fatigue. Uh, and just everything that was going on. Word camp us was canceled, both in-person and online. But this year word camp us is back. It's online. It's on October 1st. And they're shaking things up a bit. So, uh, they're going to do their best to give us the best online experience ever. And it's free. So in the next month, we'll have call for speakers, call for sponsor and volunteers. Lots of opportunities. That's over at us dot word, camp.org. October 1st WordCamp us is back. I will certainly be attending. I'm going to apply to speak. I always apply to speak. So. Uh, I'm, I'm excited to have that back. Another thing, a tool, if you will. Uh, is that I was just amazed just to made, just made aware of. Yesterday. Is frost WP. It's not out yet. It's a block-based theme for designers, developers, and businesses of all sizes. Made by the venerable Brian Gardner. Um, he, uh, of course, was involved with the founder of studio press. And it looks great. I think it's probably going to. Uh, handle all of the things. I think it's probably going to apply all of the things that I've been talking about. Not that I'm saying Brian Garner used to listen to me about theme design. Because he doesn't. Um, but. I think that the, what I feel will make a successful theme. Is what we will find here. So you can check that out at frost, wp.com, sign up to get early access. And you can test that out too. Again, Brian Gardner. Um, Looks like fantastic work. I'm excited to try it out. Alrighty. That's it for the review. Thanks so much for listening. Thanks to GoDaddy pro for sponsoring. To get even more WordPress insights to subscribe to the show. Head over to WP review.io. You can find all the show notes and all the links I've mentioned there. If you liked this episode, share it with a friend and be like, Hey. You do WordPress stuff. Try and listen to this show. Uh, and then of course, if you want to get the earliest possible access, To the Gutenberg Gutenberg course using the block editor and the full site editing course master full site editing. You can sign up. To become a member over at creator courses slash join. And be sure to use the code WP review at checkout for 20% off for life. As long as you're a member that discount will apply. Okay. Uh, until next time. I'm Joe Casabona and I'll see you out there.

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