How to convert classic widgets to block widgets, What is a Universal theme? – Weekend Edition 190


Some people in the community are worried about that WordPress 5.9 will change “everything”. Of Full site- editing, all you will see in 5.9 is a sneak preview of what will be, in an impressive way. But that doesn’t change anything, if you don’t want it to. There won’t be an overnight automatic update of your site, and you don’t know how to handle it. I understand the fear, though.

The last five years, there was plenty of doomsday amplification. That’s what social networks depend on for advertising. People coming back in outrage. It might also happen in WordPress groups on Facebook and other places.

WordPress changes are not sudden. You are in control. You got this.

The web follows wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy, appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature. Or as I phrase it – nothing’s perfect, nothing lasts and nothing is ever finished. There is beauty in it and there is peace in it. And there is exciting creative and brilliant work being done on all the WordPress teams.

I am very happy that you are here, so I can tell you about it. And please, let me know what grabs you. What are you working on?

Yours, πŸ’•

PS: And if you have questions about Full-site editing, you can send in your question to the FSE outreach program by October 27, 2021.

New fabulous patterns by Tammie Lister

In Weekend Edition 189, I mentioned the Patternspiration site. This week, I went back to check out the new patterns. This one intrigued me to no end. Check it our for yourself!

Gutenberg Development and Design

In his post Site Editing iA concepts – Part 2, James Koster picks up where Kelly Hoffman ended her explorations last week. Koster tested both ideas on real life examples “to see how they handle complex plugins that add custom post types”. Read the post and find out about his recommendation.

Anne McCarthy published the FSE Program Pattern Party Summary. Apart from providing important feedback to the developers and designers of Gutenberg, McCarthy also highlighted encouraging quotes from the comments:

While some things are still not totally intuitive to new users, I feel that Gutenberg made more big steps ahead in just a few months. I enjoy creating content in it and some of the things I have in mind are easier to achieve.


In the post, Hallway Hangout: 5.9 Go/No Go, Site Editor IA, and more, Anne McCarthy summarizes a impromptu online hangout with community and team members to talk through the various aspects what features will land in WordPress 5.9. They also looked at Tammie Lister’s Block Patterns, the locking API for blocks and the Navigation block. A fast paced run down of what’s going on among friends.

 “Keeping up with Gutenberg – Index 2021” 
A chronological list of the WordPress Make Blog posts from various teams involved in Gutenberg development: Design, Theme Review Team, Core Editor, Core JS, Core CSS, Test and Meta team from Jan. 2021 on. Updated by yours truly.

In yesterday’s post by Justin Ferriman, former Learndash, wrote about what works and doesn’t work in Matt’s Page Builder. Once you look past the ClickBait headline and the expression of personal frustrations, there isn’t much you can argue with Ferriman. He is right. Gutenberg is not a page builder. Yet.

Only with WordPress 5.9, will we see the first version of site editing, template, template parts and a user interface to change some global designs. Built in the open, the full-site editing part in the next version, will only give users an idea what Gutenberg can become in terms of page building. It will not hold comparisons with page builders that have many years of development in their own universe. Elementor is in its fifth year, Beaver Builder in it’s seventh year. Gutenberg full-site editing? Not yet.

If you want to see what is possible at the moment, watch Anne McCarthy demostrating in this five minute video: Using duotone in theme.json to customize your image blocks. See how it works for Cover Image, Feature Image in Query Block and stand alone image block.

Still images from the video

In this post Using Block Patterns to speed up site builds,  Courtney Robertson walks you through the steps to adopt page sections with Block patters from your Theme or Block Directory. Roberston answered the questions on why you should use them, how you use them and where to learn more.

Joe Casabona just published his new course on LinkedIN Learning: Creating Block Patterns with WordPress. “In this course, experienced course developer Joe Casabona shows you how to take advantage of block patterns to create more flexible WordPress without needing to know code.” read the course description. Casabona tweeted: “It’s a cookbook style course that shows you how to make all sorts of patterns!”

There is new hope for the Gutenberg Forms plugin, the only Forms plugin with a Gutenberg-first approach. Justin Tadlock wrote about the plugin’s Odysee in his article: WPChill Takes Over Gutenberg Forms, Plans To Shake Up the Free Forms Market

Developing Custom Blocks for WordPress

Next Week! Don’t miss it! Join us on October 28th at 12 pm EDT / 16:00 UTC
Gutenberg Times Live Q & A: Converting classic widgets to blocks
Learn from the BuddyPress team members, Mathieu Viet, David Cavins, Varun Dubey.

Gutenberg Times Live Q & A: Converting classic widgets to blocks Learn from the BuddyPress team members, Mathieu Viet, David Cavins, Varun Dubey.

In this week’s Twitch stream, Ryan Welcher can be watched Building a pre-publish checklist plugin for Gutenberg.

Carlo Daniele created this comprehensive tutorial for Building Custom Gutenberg Blocks on the Kinsta blog. It’s meant to bring Beginners up to speed. Daniele covers the set-up and the scaffolding tool @wordpress/create-block, explains in depth the folder and file structure, and this also includes the handling of the built-in local web environment wp-env. The example Block is a Call to action (CTA) for affiliates, something quite useful and a nice change to the basic hello-world example.

What I am missing and what would probably be a nice follow-up is a discussion on when you have to build your blocks. There are other ways to provide content creators with great experience by adoption existing blocks: be it by creating Block Patterns, augment the Block Styles, or build Block Variations. All options are much less involved, then going all in on Custom Blocks, that need to be maintained separately.

And if you want to dive deeper into block development, Ryan Welcher got you covered. He updated the Example Blocks repository on GitHub. Welcher wrote in his Make post: “These examples can be used in many ways. You can read through them to learn how to create blocks, check out the repository and modify them to see how they work, or use them as a starting point for your own blocks.” He asked “Please consider opening an issue or pull request with your example suggestion.”

WPCampus has released their video recordings. Here are three that covered developing for Gutenberg and blocks:

All their recordings are linked from their schedule. It’s a treasure trove for sure!

Speaking for recording: Video and Slidedeck of my page builder summit talk is now online: Gutenberg Adoption: Levels One through Five. The Google Slides have all the links to the resources shared. I covered these topics and shared a ton of links and resources.

  • Level 1: Style and Control 
  • Level 2: Create Block Patterns 
  • Level 3: Adding Block Styles and Variations
  • Level 4: Create Custom Blocks with ACF
  • Level 5: Create Custom Blocks with ReactJS

Need a plugin .zip from Gutenberg’s main (trunk) branch?
Gutenberg Times provides daily build for testing and review.
Have you been using it? Hit reply and let me know.

GitHub all releases

What is a Universal theme?

The theme team at Automattic has now five Universal themes in the WordPress repository.

What is a Universal theme? You might ask: “A Universal Theme is a block theme that can use the Site editor but can also be configured in a more classic way.” – Or that’s the idea. For the themes to work, you would need minimum WordPress 5.8 (for the theme.json) and the Gutenberg plugin (for the site editor) .

The team also published on the site Themeshaper a few articles for developers exploring Universal themes in more depth.

We will need to see how far the idea can be pushed with WordPress 5.9. We’ll start testing with the alpha version, as soon as 11.9 is merged into core.

You can help testing by using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin and select the bleeding edge channel and the nightlies stream from the settings page.

WordPress Events

October 28, 2021 – 1 pm EDT / 17:00 UTC
Post Status: Headless WordPress Webinar

With Experts from WebDevStudios

  • Brad Williams, CEO and Co-Founder
  • Lisa Sabin-Wilson, COO and Co-Founder
  • Greg Rickaby, Director of Engineering
  • Amor Kumar, Frontend Engineer

November 4th, 2021,
WPEngine Summit 2021 (EMEA)
starts at 10 am UTC / 6am EDT

With many fantastic speakers, among them CEO Heather Brunner, Chris Weigman, Rob Stinson, Hashim Warren, Grace Erixon, and Brian Gardner

On the Calendar for WordPress Online Events site, you can browse a list of the upcoming WordPress Events, around the world, including WordCamps, WooCommerce, Elementor, Divi Builder and Beaver Builder meetups.

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“Blocks on a Wood Floor” by Thomas Hawk is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0