Theme Switching, Global Styles, Blocks in REST API and more – Weekend Edition #184

Howdy, howdy!

Today we have a great mixture of links to tutorials, news, general information, call to action and events. Now that the summer is over, it feels there is another wave of WordPressers are starting to adopt the block editor, block-based themes and to pay more attention to what’s happening in the Gutenberg world. Or is it just me diving into the topics full-time?

Before you get distracted by the headlines below, let me ask you: Do you have your WordCamp US Tickets, already? Now is the time!

WordCamp US will take place as a one-day virtual event on October 1st, 2021. It’s free and takes place on a Friday, so it won’t cut into your screen-free weekend activities.

  • The first and second set of brilliant speakers were announced this week.
  • There is still a Call for Directors out and if you want to help with Live Chat moderation and capture audience questions you can apply until Sept. 16 for three shifts. More here.
  • Take the opportunity and meetup with a small group of local friends for a watch party. Don Soschin has some ideas and tips for you. Create your WCUS 2021 Attendee Pod.

See y’all at WCUS!

Birgit 💕

Full-Site Editing and Theme design

Speaking of events, next week Anne McCarthy, Marcus Kazmierczak and Dave Smith will gather for a Hallway Hangout on September 16th at 11 am EDT / 16:00 UTC. They will discuss adoption pathways to full site editing, what’s working, what successes folks have had, what blockers people are running into, and what might help more folks participate. Beyond just the benefits of learning from each other, this information will ideally be used to help influence future resources and to give insights to the teams working on these items. Join the #fse-outreach-program WP Slack channel for updates.

The next feedback round for participants in the FSE outreach program is a Theme Switching Exploration. Imagine a world where one could seamlessly take product review patterns from one theme, styling from another, and product display templates from an eCommerce focused theme to create a store. Or imagine being able to switch themes while retaining your favorite palette of colors and typography.

The focus of this exploration is more on “wishful thinking”. In the instructions, Anne McCarthy guides you through a very basic theme switching process, and then asks you to creatively think about what you’d like to see happen. In other words, the focus is not so much on finding bugs, and more on gathering useful insights that will help design this experience. 

If you need some additional inspiration on how your want to approach your switching journey, read Justin Tadlock‘s Exploration Report on the WP Tavern: Insights Into Switching Between Block Themes

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

André Maneiro compares in his post The developer experience of WordPress presets how to handle presets for WordPress themes before and after the release of WordPress 5.8, when theme.json was merged into core. It’s a practical recap on the advantages for developers to migrate to theme.json even for classic themes.

In The Global Styles Interface issue on GitHub, Matias Ventura covers the broad design aspects of global styles, the upcoming user interface for theme.json. Ventura discusses the iconography, small previews, the handling of color palettes, elements and filters, and color tools. Take a look and chime in on working on TNBT (The next Big Thing)

Shaun Andrews, on the design team, shared in The WordPress Editor: Document Status and Visibility the next-generation designs for the Gutenberg Publish section in the side bar.

A group of theme developers met at this week’s Hallway Hangout to discuss current Full-site editing issues, pull requests and designs. Anne McCarthy posted the recording and a summary on the Make Blog.

Gutenberg Changelog #51 is now available with transcript.

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Gutenberg for Site implementers and Content creators

In her post Cascading impact of improvements to featured images Anne McCarty shows you how improvements to the Featured Image block lead to more possibilities for content creation with short videos.

Not in and of itself block-editorial, but still a great story: Automattic Acquires Social Image Generator Plugin, Plans to Integrate with Jetpack. Daniel Post‘s plugin was a dream come true for social marketing people and save so much time. Post and the plugin have a sustainable home with Automattic now.

The team working on the Pods Framework have published their Field Guide for the next version (2.8). Among many other new features and fixes, you’ll find the new Pods Blocks which allow you to

  • List Items,
  • show a Single Item,
  • display a Single Item Field,
  • show a Public Form, or
  • embed a View (any file) from your theme / child theme.

They also included compatibility with the new WordPress 5.8 Query Loop blocks!

For those creators out there looking to get ahead with some common custom block needs, our new Pods Blocks API allows you to register your blocks. Congrats to Scott Kingsley Clark and his team for the major effort to add Gutenberg capabilities to the framework!

The MetaBox team published an in-depth comparison between Gutenberg vs. Page Builders – What is Better & Faster?. Of course, this is still premature, as Gutenberg isn’t a full-featured page builder yet, and is missing quite a few customization and layout feature most page builder provide. This post also runs websites built with Gutenberg and Oxygen in a speed test comparison.

 “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.

Block Building for developers

Jonny Harris, WordPress contributor, sponsored by XWP, created a plugin, REST API blocks that adds block data in json format into the REST API. Once installed, there will be two new fields added to the rest api, has_blocks and blocks. Sounds pretty nifty. Thanks to David Bisset for tweeting about it.

Rich Tabor created a tutorial on how to create a Publish Checklist for the block editor. If you work in a team of writers, ensuring that various content tasks are completed before an article is published. Tabor how to use a template to display the check list for the editor.

Matias Ventura shared this fabulous post by Dennis Snell, code wrangler at Automattic. In Gutenberg posts aren’t HTML… Snell explains the idea to store block information in HTML comments in post_content. It was an eye-opener for me.

Create and Display Math Formulas is an interesting requirement and mostly used by scientists and Math teachers. The developers Dennis Snell and Adam Silverstein have a block for this group of writers.

  • MathML by Adam Silverstein is available in the plugin repository and the Block Directory
  • In Typesetting Math in Gutenberg by Dennis Snell walks you through the genesis of his block. With this example block, Snell explains, “I try to design my blocks so that all of the processing and loading costs stay in the editor while editing the post”.

For the seventh episode of the Jukebox podcast, Nathan Wrigley interviewed Gutenberg contributor Ajit Bohra on Gutenberg, Full Site Editing and React. The two covered quite a bit of ground. Grab your favorite beverage and listen.