Weekend Edition #151 – Theme Development, Block Editor Plugins and Using Blocks Outside WordPress


WordPress history was made this week, when the all-women release squad pushed WordPress 5.6 over the finish line. Congratulations to the co-leads, Josepha Haden, Helen Hou-Sandi and Dee Teal and their crew of 30+ women and people who identify as non-binary. On the announcement post, you can browse the list of all contributors and follow the links to their profiles. I know, I know. You are here to read about the block editor and Gutenberg. I will get to that in a minute.

Let’s marvel a moment longer at the astonishing First of an all-women release squad for a major WordPress release, the open-source project that powers over 39% of the Internet.

🙌 🎉 💞 🥂 ✨

Back to the block-editor. The many links and information in this edition might be a bit overwhelming. It will tide you over the upcoming quiet time around the Holidays. Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to learn about the upcoming WordPress events.

Next week (#152) will be the last Gutenberg Times Weekend Edition for 2020. I will take a break for two weeks from work and WordPress. It’s the time of year to catch-up with close friends and family and plan for the uncertainty of 2021 in business and life. On Jan 9th, we’ll start the new year with edition #153.

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Now, don’t let me keep you from watching videos, reading tutorials, editorials testing plugins and themes and register for awesome WordPress events.

Until next week, stay safe and warm.

Yours, 💕

Recording: Case Study: The Making of Open-Source Story by Yoast with Blocks

We had a fabulous time chatting with Yoast partner and CTO, Omar Reiss and content team lead Willemien Hallebeek, who took us behind the scenes of the making of the Open-Source Story, a richly illustrated and interactive post about the nature of open-source from a collaborative business point of view.

Thanks for everyone who joined us and brought some great questions. A big Thank You to Anne McCarthy, who joined me as co-host and moderator.

The video is now on YouTube with the shared resources. The transcript is in the works.

And “Welcome” to our new subscribers, who came for the show and stayed for the Weekend Edition. 💞 So happy to have you!

The Gutenberg team has changed their release cycle slightly. Instead of 2 days between Release Candidate and new version, they give themselves and others 7 days to tests the new version. This changed the schedule a bit for the next release.

  • 9.6 will be released on Dec. 23 (RC on Dec. 16th)
  • 9.7 will be released Jan 6th, with RC on Dec. 30th)

Mark and I will be on holiday break and our next episode of the Gutenberg Changelog podcast will be recorded on January 8th, 2021, and cover both releases.

To bridge the time, I suggest you read two posts by Matias Ventura, architect for Gutenberg and learn more about the current state of affairs.

Status Check: Site Editing and Customization
It’s an excellent summary of the current status of Gutenberg’s Phase 2. It’s a bit longer, you probably should get another cup of hot beverage and get comfortable reading in. It definitely is worth your time.

Sidebar Controls & Component System
“The first half of this year brought some needed updates to the design language of blocks, with a strong focus on improving the block footprint, toolbar system, and the inserters. Now it’s time to revise the state of block controls primarily used in the sidebar and its underlying component set. This is the next widest topic for the evolving design language.” wrote Ventura.

Theme Development

Kjell Reigstad published the 31st update on Gutenberg + Themes with the week’s discussion on theme related issues, updates and fixes to theme related editor aspects. Towards the end he also lists these “Overview” issues:

  • Full Site Editing Milestones. 24551
  • Template Tags in Full Site Editing. 22724 
  • Missing query block functionality. 24934
  • Query and Loop block tracking: 24762

Full-Side Editing

Anne McCarthy headlined: The FSE Outreach Program is Officially Starting!. You might remember the call for WordPress users to test the Full-Site-Editing experience in Spring. It’s now time to get ready.

If you build, manage or maintain sites for yourself or others or if you publish content using WordPress, join the program! It is a great opportunity to shape the next big change coming to WordPress in 2021. We will be testing specific workflows every week and discuss them with a cohort of people as well as with the Gutenberg team. This is not for developers, but WordPress users who don’t use code to built their sites. Go on, read the article. I wait 🙂

Carrie Dils, Freelancer Coach, published the Full Site Editing Update for Studio Press. After a short introduction, she went into more detail on each of these moving pieces and highlighted the aspects most relevant to full site editing. 

In his post, Getting Started with Block Themes, Ben Dwyer, provides you with the first steps to create your block-based Theme, with the Site-Editor in mind. It’s the first post of a series it seems. Future posts will cover: Templates, Patterns and Global Styles. Meanwhile, these links are for your perusal and self-study.

G2 Components started as an experimental project. It is a from-scratch reimagining of @wordpress/components designed to accommodate the ever-growing and ever-expressive needs of the Editor and the platform. We shared links to the site before. Jon Quach and his Gutenberg teammates are getting ready on exploring how and integration into the block editor might work. Let Jon take on you on his Walkthrough + Integration Ideas on Twitch, where he holds almost daily live stream while working on this project.

Twenty-Twenty-One Default Theme

Tweny-Twenty-One is now available for download announced co-lead developer Mel Choyce. She thanked her co-lead Carolina Nymark and all contributors. It’s an impressive list. This year’s default theme is WCAG 2.1 AAA-compatible. Here are additional resources:

  • Download from the WordPress Theme repository
  • The Documentation of the Theme is now available on the WordPress Support pages. It lists details of all the different features, for accessibility, Starter content, Block Patterns, overlapping columns, support for Post Formats, Dark Mode support, and more.
  • The block-based version of the Twenty-Twenty-One Theme is still under development and you can follow, test and contribute via the GitHub Repository

Twenty Twenty-One Theme for WordPress: A Minimal Default Theme for 2020 Machielle Thomas at Bluehost, wrote about what’s new with WordPress Twenty Twenty-One theme and how the new default theme supports block-building.

Block editor plugins

Justin Tadlock has an update on EditorPlus 2.4 for you: EditorPlus 2.4 Released, Builds Upon Its ‘Extend Core Blocks’ System

Just released and also mentioned in our Live Q & A show this week: Google Doc-Style Editorial Commenting for WordPress, a precursor to Collaboration coming to Gutenberg in Phase 3.

Developing for block editor and Gutenberg

Igor Benic, early adopter of the block editor, has some tips for you how to troubleshoot “Invalid Hook Call Error in React” in your Components. It’s especially interesting because Igor teaches nice bits about package handling.

Antonio Villegas explored in his post “How to work with WordPress blocks outside Gutenberg with Node.js” and provides a short code example. It could open up all kind of opportunities to leverage the modern JavaScript environment in other apps.

Tim Toomey and his team at CovertNine, builder of the C9 Blocks plugin, shared their latest project in the post: Building a Custom Blocks-based WordPress Website for A Client with A Free Theme, using their creations. You can sign up for early access to their GreenSock based C9 Animation Blocks plugins

Upcoming WordPress and Related Events

December 15, 2020 12 pm ET 17:00 UTC
5 Tips For Building Rockin’ Membership Sites
Join Brian Krogsgard and Cory Miller to discuss the secret to successful membership sites. On Commerce Journey

December 15, 2020 at 12:30 pm ET / 17;30 UTC
Webinar: Grow Your Agency by Offering SEO Services
Join Lindsay Halsey of Pathfinder SEO as you learn how to package your SEO services, pitching them, and the process to deliver them. Hosted by GoWP

December 17, 2020 11am EST / 16:00 UTC
State of the Word 2020 w/ Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress. Livestream on WordPress YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Details here.

Viewing party: Steak of the Word 2020 organized by Robert Jacobi and Big Orange Heart.

December 17, 2020 1pm ET / 18:00 UTC
Webinar: The 5 W’s of Decoupled Hosted by Pantheon.
Boost Performance and Gain Flexibility Through Decoupled Architecture. Join Pantheon’s Technical Product Marketing Manager, Steve Persch to learn how decoupling gives you the power of flexibility and access to modern build practices which can provide a significant boost in performance.

December 22, 2020 6:30 – 8:30 pm EST
WordPress “Mega Meetup”: The “End of 2020” Episode – David Bisset will be interviewing me about the latest editor and Gutenberg goodies in the latest WordPress 5.6 release. Ending the year with fun games and a WP-T-Shirt contest. Find out more

January 22, 2021 – 24-hour event
The festival of WordPress – WordFest
Enabling a global celebration of WordPress, bringing our community together in a safe environment, whilst facilitating freedom of movement within a 24-hour virtual event. The organizers just announced the first set of speakers.

Learn. WordPress Discussions Groups, with discussion and Q & A for workshops help by WordPress Training Team, some of them on the block-editor.

WordPress Meetup Online Events Calendar. 
It’s a single place to see what upcoming events are planned by the army of WordPress Meetup organizers, as well as specialized meetups, like Elementor,  or WooCommerce. A site built by the brilliant Javier Casares.  


I got C9 blocks but have not tested them.

BTW Jetpack failed my Twitter authorisation.

I keep G plugin updated & activated but i can’t locate the QUERY Block .
Could You giude me,Ms Birgit?

Read also Mr Ventura notes
Need some time to think about them.

Hi there,
Thanks for leaving a comment. Jetpack and authorization is a bit wonky sometimes. Their support is fabulous and they will likely be able to sort this out for you.

The query block is right now only available when using a block-based theme.
There are two block-based themes available in the Theme repos on WordPress.org

You can also use one from the Gutenberg team’s Theme Experiments.
Hope this helps!

Thank You for the Nth time ,Ms Birgit!, I use Blocksy and love it!,
Yesterday stsrted exploring GO because I think Mr Rich Tabor is among its developers. and that speaks volumes to me.
Now i will have s look at Q.

Warm regards!