Core Editor Improvement: Refining the template creation experience

These “CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. Editor Improvement…” posts (labeled with the #core-editor-improvement tagtag A directory in Subversion. WordPress uses tags to store a single snapshot of a version (3.6, 3.6.1, etc.), the common convention of tags in version control systems. (Not to be confused with post tags.)) are a series dedicated to highlighting various new features, improvements, and more from Core Editor related projects. 

Alongside more template options comes some exciting refinements to the overall experience that should allow you to move faster with more accuracy to do what you want to do. In isolation, these enhancements might not catch your attention but, when viewed collectively, it’s clear that the template experience has been greatly improved. These will all be available in the future WordPress 6.1 but you can explore now in the Gutenberg plugin.

Start a new template with a strong foundation

Previously when creating a new template, you were met with an empty page. As of GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. 13.9, you’re now given content from the closest related template in what’s called the template hierarchy. This addresses some long standing feedback around how frustrating and underwhelming it was to start from scratch each time, with some opting to copy/paste contents from other templates into their new creations. 

As a bonus, when Gutenberg 14.0 comes out, you’ll be notified right away about the new template being created upon entering the editor.

Find the exact template part you need

Template parts power parts of your site like a headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes. or footer and make up some of the building blocks for templates. You can create your own, use the ones provided by your theme, and even customize the ones your theme offers. Previously, when searching the Inserter, your options were limited based on the groupings of template parts. This meant you still needed to select the template part you wanted, even after adding in an option like “Header”:

Now, you can search and add the exact template part you want directly from the inserter, saving a few clicks. It also allows you to have a nice preview before adding a template part in so you have a sense of what you’re adding ahead of time:

Going a step further, the ability to search template parts was also added to the template part setup state so you can find your favorite template part quickly:

A modal showing the option to search for a template part.

Move with accuracy

As folks make a site their own, there are two additional quality of life improvements to mention that help make it more obvious to see the impact of your actions. The first is a View Site link directly from the Site Editor so that, after saving some changes, you can quickly get a sense of how your site is coming together. While this is an interim step before something more comprehensive like a browse mode can be implemented, it’s still a step in the right direction. 

Toolbar showing new view site option in the Site Editor on a blue background

Finally, if you want to start over after making some changes, the experience to do so has had a nice copy update to make it clearer what actions you’re going to be taking. Rather than being presented with an option to clear customization, it’s now clarified that you’ll be using what’s provided directly by the theme by deleting the customized template. This aims to help ensure that important decisions made by folks lead to the outcomes they want. 

More to come

Expect work to continue here, especially as more templates are added and refinements to the experience at scale become more apparent. To learn more about what’s to come and get inspired, check out the Site Editor & Templates Roadmap overview issue.

#core-editor-improvement, #gutenberg