The block editor disrupted the WordPress industry. We have fans, haters, and a solid base in the middle.
I was skeptical for quite a while. What’s the case for blocks? Why do we replace WordPress widgets, menus, and other parts with blocks? I couldn’t really get it.
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Full Site Editor
Then the Full Site Editor or Full Site Editing was introduced, and it clicked for me. Now everything made sense. By porting all of the moving parts of WordPress to blocks, you have a central modular element for all areas of WordPress.
What is a block?
A block is a single functional unit. This can be as simple as a paragraph or a button, but it can also be quite as complex as a table block where you can configure rows, columns, headlines, borders, and more.
What is Full Site Editing?
Full Site Editing allows you to edit your entire website with blocks. The header, footer, and widget areas now use the same components (blocks). Even menus are blocks now.
The Full Site Editor is a complete editing and management tool that allows everyone to create, modify and customize templates for all areas of your website like search, tag, and category pages, archive pages, front page, blog page, and more.
Template parts give you control over specific areas of your website. That can be as obvious as your website’s header or footer area or as specific as a Query Block that is only used on blog archives or a specific category – it’s up to you.
Block patterns are defined blocks with a premade design that you can quickly insert into your templates (or pages). You can quickly add them from within the Block Editor by clicking “Insert” and “Show all”:
I have to be honest with you, at least for now, I’m not really a fan of patterns. They are clunky to manage. Providing them within a theme (you need the entire content within a PHP file) feels like a step backward. I can see that these patterns will make a huge difference in the future, especially with awesome tools like Extendify available.
Global Styles and theme.json
As a developer, I love working with the theme.json file to define all of my colors, fonts, font sizes, and other global styles for my website. I don’t see this happening with end users, but for developers, it’s great.
The global styles solution within the Full Site Editor is a great approach to handle that functionality as an end user, but it’s quite frustrating how limited it is right now compared to the theme.json.
Problems with Full Site Editing
I agree that the Site Editor isn’t really ready for the general user. A typical WordPress user may not even know what templates are, how template parts affect the templates, and where and how to use Repeatable Blocks.
We are just at the beginning of Full Site Editing, and there is quite a lot to do to get even out of the beta.
The UI/UX of some existing FSE blocks is a nightmare. I have worked with WordPress for over 12 years and developed a serious number of plugins and themes for it, and I couldn’t create my navigation without watching a youtube video.
BTW: If you are also confused by it, take a look at the following video:
The future is coming
I don’t say Full Site Editing is the right answer for any website right now, but it looks really promising to me. The UI/UX of the Block Editor improves on every new release of WordPress, and it doesn’t look like Full Site Editing is the end of React within WordPress – take a look at this awesome proof of concept for the admin area:
You can read all about this proof of concept here: https://make.wordpress.org/design/2022/06/13/thinking-through-the-wordpress-admin-experience/
As a product developer in the WordPress space, I love the idea of having ONE solution for building websites in WordPress Core. The mess I experience with different Page Builders daily has to stop, or more and more product developers will switch to other platforms. The amount of support is just insane these days, and Full Site Editing has the potential to end that frustration.
While tinkering with the Full Site Editor and several different (and good!) examples of blocks, I decided to focus on the Block Editor for all of my products.
I will still support things like shortcodes, but everything will be Block Editor first in the future. The release of Qyrr Pro was the first step in a series of updates that will come along this year, and I’m pretty excited about it.
Sure, it will frustrate some users (especially those with Page Builders or themes like Avada), but as a solo developer, I need to concentrate on a market segment – times are gone when a single plugin can support all builders out there.