As we’re nearing 5.8, there’s an increasing demand for people to speak about Full Site Editing and this post should help act as a resource guide to enable more people to do so. As always, I would love contributions from the wider community to build this out into an even more comprehensive resource! While this post covers a lot of content, see it as a go to place to mix and match as you’d like for your own presentation rather than something you need to know every detail of. For example, if you’re presenting to theme authors, you can use this to get a sense at a glance of what might be relevant from what to demo, what resources to share, what GitHub issues to highlight, and more.
- Feel free to re-use or get inspiration from this FSE Overview.
- Pull from this working transcript for the above talks.
Key points to cover around 5.8:
- FSE is a collection of features and not a monolith.
- Because FSE is a collection of features, Core can be flexible in shipping what is both stable and adds the most value.
- 5.8 is focused mainly on bringing tools to extenders with limited changes to the user experience. This includes theme.json, new theme blocks, design tools, and template editing mode.
Depending on who you are and who the audience, the following are your best bets for demo content:
- Block Theme building. @mkaz has some great videos uploaded to YouTube that you can check out and Carolina Nymark has this lovely site.
- Template Editing Mode. Here’s an overview video from yours truly but keep in mind this in progress PR that, if merged, would change the experience of editing a post/page inside template editing mode.
- Explore blocks with a focus on the Navigation & Query Blocks. Note that the Navigation Block is not planned for 5.8. You can see a list of blocks planned for inclusion here.
- Build a custom 404 page. You can follow these instructions to set up your demo.
Helpful GitHub issues:
- Site Editing Milestones: to get a high level overview of how this work has been approached and where to follow along.
- On plans for restricting access: mapping features/functionality in order to update the UI + proposal for a robust permissions system with FSE.
- On types of pathways for classic themes: Enabling FSE blocks in Classic Themes, Experiment to add Customizer Color Controls to TT1, Experiment using theme.json and Customizer, Allow creating custom block templates in Classic themes.
- On the placement of the site editor experience: Design and discussion exploring how best to finalize the placement of FSE related features in wp-admin. This is a long term item to keep in mind as the Site Editor is not shipping in 5.8.
- Upcoming Dev Notes for 5.8 to get an early peak at what’s new.
- Ways to keep up with FSE so people can pick and choose their communication adventure.
- Full Site Editing and Themes: where things are from February 2021.
- Full Site Editing Outreach Program for those interested in helping to test and give feedback.
- A recent series of questions and answers about Full Site Editing from 2021.
- A great overview of FSE features for non technical people.
- Status check on Site Editing and Customization from December 2020 for a more historical perspective.
- Go/No Go Recap post: to show how decisions were made around this release.
- Go/No Go Next Steps post: to give greater context around what needs to happen for each feature to be properly considered for inclusion in 5.8.
- Full Site Editing Outreach Program handbook page: to highlight how people can get involved in giving feedback and improving FSE.
- How to Test FSE: to give practical guidance around how to explore these features.
- Block Theme Documentation: to help people get started with block theme creation.
- Full Site Editing Documentation: to give a high level overview of FSE and an entry point to learn more.
- Theme Experiments Repo: to help people explore current approaches to block themes and various in progress experiments.
- Gutenberg + Themes Roundups: to help people stay up to date on happenings in Gutenberg that impact themes.
- Bi-monthly Block theme meeting: to give people a chance to discuss the latest and greatest with block themes.
- FSE Hallway Hangouts: to hear from those working on and giving feedback on these features.
- Full Site Editing Study: Will WordPress theme shops embrace this new paradigm?
- What would you like to see done as part of the gradual adoption milestone?
- What would make you more inclined to use Full Site Editing? On the flip side, what would make you less inclined?
- Are there any key people or resources like podcasts, courses, documentation, etc that have helped you explore Full Site Editing?
- How do you think Full Site Editing will change the WordPress ecosystem? What excites you there? What makes you nervous?
- What do you think is most helpful to communicate about Full Site Editing right now to put more people at ease and build excitement?
- What are you still confused about when it comes to Full Site Editing?
These are the top questions you can most likely expect to get asked with high level answers to get you started in the right direction. For a more comprehensive list of questions and answers, check out the FSE Outreach Program’s roundups.
What is Full Site Editing and what value will it bring?
Full Site Editing is a collection of features that bring the familiar experience and extendability of blocks to all parts of your site rather than just post and pages. In terms of value, it depends on who you are:
- User: empowerment to customize what you want to your liking without needing to dive into code.
- Themer/developer: focus less on coding thanks to various design tools and more on creating a compelling experience with your theme.
- Agency: greater control and consistency over what you offer clients including things like setting custom branding colors or locking down various aspects of the site such as typography settings.
When you see or feel this value depends on who you are, how early you adopt features, and when stable features land in Core. Thanks to FSE being a collection of features, some independent and some interdependent, there’s wonderful room to ship what’s stable.
What is going to happen to themes and what kinds of pathways are being created?
In the long run, it should make theme development much easier and simpler with design tools ready to tap into allowing theme authors to focus less on coding and functions and more on design expression and aesthetics. Because Full Site Editing requires a block based theme, this makes themes extremely important to get right! As a result, lots of pathways are being created including the ability to use theme blocks in a classic theme, exploring how to use the customizer and site editor as part of a “universal theme”, unlocking the ability to create a new block template in a classic theme, allowing classic themes to adopt the block widget editor, and more.
Key: Themes are an important part of the FSE experience, lots of work is being done to allow for a breadth of options going forward, and we need feedback from theme authors to make the transition easier.
What about page builders/site builders?
FSE is being built in a way that site builders, if they choose to, can build on top of what’s being created. Overall though, FSE is being built partially so people don’t get locked into one site builder over another. While the goals shared between FSE and site builders are similar in terms of empowering users and give better tools to customize a site, the main difference is that we are developing tools that work for users, themers, and hopefully also page builders by expanding how WordPress uses blocks as a whole. Since Core has to strike a nice balance, it’s expected that future plugins will play a role here in exposing more/less depending on user needs.
How will restricting access to these features work?
This will depend on who is asking the question (a user, a theme author, a developer, etc) but some of the GitHub issues referenced above should help. For users, I’d focus on the fact that they would either need to seek out a block theme to use or their current theme would need to ship specific updates. For a themer/developer, I’d share that there will be various options to opt in and out of this work (for example with creating block templates). Upcoming 5.8 dev notes should address this for any new features.
Will upgrading to 5.8 cause FSE to take over my site like the Core Editor did in 5.0?
No. 5.8 is focused on giving tools to extenders first and foremost before more user facing changes are launched going forward and integrated into themes.