FSE Program: Answers about the FSE project

This post is part of a series that provides answers to questions gathered in early February. Thank you to everyone who submitted a question so our knowledge can grow together! Each post will help provide foundational knowledge for future documentation efforts, and future calls for questions in the coming months. 

All posts in this series:

The focus of this post: 

This post focuses on questions related to the overall project, including the role of blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. based widgets & navigation screens, the why of FSE, and how easy it will be to use for a beginner.

1) FSE suggests to me a huge step away from a reliable template system and just adding a new bloated layer. Shouldn’t we get 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. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ on more solid footing before considering this? 

Think of it more as a step towards building upon that current system and putting it in users’ hands to directly interact with it. Tied to this, the current template system will continue to work as-is since FSE must be opted into. Since the Block Editor is already a stable part of WordPress coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. with versions being bundled into each major releaseMajor Release A set of releases or versions having the same major version number may be collectively referred to as “X.Y” -- for example version 5.2.x to refer to versions 5.2, 5.2.1, and all other versions in the 5.2. (five dot two dot) branch of that software. Major Releases often are the introduction of new major features and functionality., FSE is set to build upon that foundation. Rest assured that there will be plenty of time to acclimate to FSE too before any changes to the current template system are made. 

If you’re interested in helping with the template system, particularly if you are a theme author, please contribute to this open GitHub issue on Covering All Features of Template Tags in Full Site Editing. 

2) What is the feature scope of FSE? What features and tools of the current web platform will it offer in order to facilitate the creation of a complete website? 

The Site Editing Milestone Tracking issue is the best place to get a sense of feature scope for the project currently. From these milestones, you can see how the following features/tools become available as a result of FSE: 

  • The site editor interface.
  • Template editing. 
  • Many new blocks to build themes like the Query Block.
  • Global styles and design tools. 

3) Will Full Site Editing be understandable even for a beginner?

In time, yes! Ideally, Full Site Editing will make WordPress as a whole even easier to understand as a beginner. Instead of learning separate systems for writing posts, adding widgets, or creating a menu, users will be able to manage their sites seamlessly in a consistent editing experience. As this post touches on, the MVPMinimum Viable Product "A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development." - WikiPedia should make it possible to replicate the major functional elements of the Twenty Twenty-One theme, using only blocks, without any coding knowledge. This likely means that, to start, Full Site Editing will be understandable for beginners using the TT1 block theme that’s designed to work with this new experience. In time with more feedback from users influencing future product work, the experience will become even more intuitive across more block themes and the underlying site editing functionality. 

To help ease people into the experience, there’s an open issue to create a Site Editor Welcome Guide similar to the Block Editor one. Feedback is welcomed on that issue if this is an area of interest!

4) Is there a prototype we can see to understand how Full Site Editing is planned to work?

Currently, there’s not a finished prototype one can explore. This is partly because what is often referred to as Full Site Editing exists as multiple subprojects broken down into various milestones. The 2020 State of the Word demo is the best thing to review right now to see Full Site Editing’s promise. The MVP for April is meant to be something like a prototype – stay tuned. 

5) What kind of site will I be editing in WordPress.comWordPress.com An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content. WordPress.com is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. https://wordpress.com/?

The FSE Outreach Program is specifically focused on WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ and can’t speak to WordPress.com’s plans. You will want to contact them at: https://wordpress.com/support/contact/ 

6) Has FSE been tested against/with site builders installed to prevent incompatibilities?

Currently, Full Site Editing’s focus is to build a reliable MVP for a seamless user experience. It’s not tested or built explicitly to work with site builders, as it’s meant to be a Core-first feature that page builders can then integrate with. It is being built, though, so that site builders, pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party authors, theme authors, and more can take advantage of FSE features, from Global Styles to template editing. In general, the focus will be on allowing pathways for various types of extensions from FSE rather than a focus on integrating specifically with certain site builders. With that said, anyone is welcome to join the FSE Outreach Program and report problems/concerns! 

7) Why is Full Site Editing being made?

I’ll lean on two of our product leaders to answer this question!

“Full Site Editing, as part of the overall Gutenberg project, has a few specific goals. From a user standpoint, its goal is to lower various barriers to entry—such as knowledge of code—while also providing a more streamlined user interface to manage both content and configuration with a familiar set of interactions. From the standpoint of the technology, it moves WordPress into a modern era of development and makes use of newer, faster languages. Philosophically, it also brings WordPress closer to ideals of the open web, allowing your content to move with you.”

– Josepha Haden Chomphosy. 

“The site editor opens up the ability to edit and customize parts of the site that used to be only accessible through code editors or ad hoc interfaces. For example, being able to edit the 404 template with the same familiar block tools.”

– Matias Ventura in this Status Check for Site Editing post

8) How would we follow the progress of Full Site Editing without needing to go through various issues on GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. https://github.com/?

The best way to follow progress is to review the monthly “What’s Next in Gutenberg” posts. These posts highlight both how various parts of Full Site Editing are progressing and what’s planned for the coming month. You can find all posts using the tag #gutenberg-next

For theme developers, the Gutenberg + Themes roundup posts should also help keep you up to date on the latest changes. 

If you want more options to dig into details, check out this post that covers the many ways to stay up to date depending on your interest level and capacity. 

9) What WordPress skills do I need to have to use Full Site Editing?

The exciting news about Full Site Editing is that the aim of the project is to allow someone to edit their entire site without a need for technical skills. While technical skills may not be required, it will be helpful to understand certain concepts like templates and global styles, that haven’t been something WordPress users have had to think about before. These concepts will be less necessary to understand as deeply as the user experience becomes more intuitive in time. For example, eventually one will think more about “creating 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.” rather than “creating a template part.” This helps shift attention away from the technical underpinnings and more to the content creation process itself. 

10) What happens when the support for the Classic Editor plugin ends on Dec 31st, 2021?

After Dec 31st, 2021, the Classic Editor plugin will go into what’s called `maintenance mode`, where the active maintainers will no longer focus efforts on keeping the plugin up to date with WordPress releases. The plugin will remain in the repository, so if there is someone who wants to take on that maintenance work, that will be possible.

11) Looking from writing the Documentation for FSE perspective, I wonder how we would introduce it? Where would it live (obviously in relevant Handbooks but in which parts of it, as what “type” of work with Gutenberg)? 

Documentation is such a key element to help more people embrace Full Site Editing! There are currently conversations underway around where these efforts should live, how the information should be presented, and more. This is going to need to be a joint effort across various teams to get right, and I encourage anyone interested to get involved in these conversations by joining #docs and #core-editor in WordPress Slack

12) At the moment, once you install the plugin your WidgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. screen is transformed into a block-based interface. How can a site owner (and theme & plugin developers) opt-out of that, or can they? 

Of note, keep in mind that the work around bringing blocks to the Navigation and Widgets screen is being done to help both bring benefits sooner rather than later to more parts of the site building process for users and to pave the path towards a future full site editing first experience. 

Currently, both new screens are opt in via theme supports or by installing the Gutenberg plugin. It has yet to be determined what sort of upgrade pathway will be provided to users who might want to either temporarily or permanently explore the new screens. Going forward, sites can opt out of the screen using the same opt in method via theme supports. For example, by adding, remove_theme_support( ‘widgets-block-editor’ ) as mentioned here.  

Note: there were two people who submitted questions around this topic and they have been merged into this single answer. 

13) Both features Widget and navigation are integrated into the CustomizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings.. Many people are accustomed to the Customizer, what will change for them? 

The only big change is that those who are comfortable working in the Customizer will now be able to take advantage of the power of blocks when they do so! For more context, work is underway to bring blocks to the Customizer so that this familiar pathway can be yet another way to take advantage of and explore blocks. You can read more about this effort specifically for the Widgets screen here and for the Navigation screen here

#fse-answers, #fse-outreach-program