FSE Program: Answers from Round Two of Questions

This post is part of a wider series that provides answers to questions gathered through the FSE Outreach Program. This round of questions was started on April 28th and is being consolidated into a single post since there were substantially less questions. Thank you to everyone who submitted a question so our knowledge can grow together! Stay tuned for future rounds.

1) How is the further handling of “additional CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site.” intended if 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. should disappear? Not everyone can and wants to adjust everything in the blocks. In my opinion, “normal” Website Builders need the easy way to make changes to the CSS of a theme.

This is under discussion right now as it’s expected Global Styles will cover a large majority of use cases that might require CSS but there are still expected to be situations when Custom CSS is needed. 

2) Can I choose to use regular post/page editing instead of full site editing, and use the customizer to adjust my full site?

This is tricky to answer as the specific experience you will have depends on your theme and how much it might have adapted to full site editing. If you aren’t using a 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. theme or a theme that has started to adopt full site editing features, you can continue to edit your site as normal using the Customizer. There is lots of work underway though to help block themes continue to have parity in the Customizer, classic themes have ways to opt into aspects of full site editing, and for the idea of “universal” themes that work with both Classic site editing tools (Customizer/Menus/Widgets) or the new Site Editor to come to fruition

3) Will various blocks that are in Full Site Editing also be included in the post/page editing screen?

In preparation for 5.8, each of the 20+ theme blocks that have been created for Full Site Editing are under evaluation to see if they can be included in Classic Themes. You can check out the progress for this effort in this overview issue.  

4) Will we create a site in Full Site Editing instead of in the post/page screen?

Great question! Because so much of this depends on your theme and what it has opted into it, it depends. However, let’s say you are using a block theme which means it has opted into the features of Full Site Editing. In that case, in the long run, you can expect to build your site in the Site Editor experience (various templates, your 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., your menus, etc) and your site’s content using the post editor. This might mean you first create a few pages, like an About and Contact page, before digging into the Site Editor to make any adjustments you’d like to the templates those pages use. Don’t expect the Site Editor experience to come just yet to WordPress 5.8 though as it’s not currently on the list of defined projects to ship

5) How will we manage all the different variants from Reusable blocks, Patterns, Page template and Full Site Editing templates?

There were three questions related to this topic so I’m having this question represent the bunch! Let’s first start by defining each to get on the same page about their different uses. The following definitions are pulled from the Glossary in case you want to explore more of these terms: 

  • Reusable Block: A block that is saved and then can be shared as a reusable, repeatable piece of content. Learn more about creating and using these blocks
  • Block Pattern: Patterns are predefined layouts of blocks that can be inserted as starter content that are meant to be changed by the user every time. Once inserted, they exist as a local save and are not global. Learn more about creating patterns
  • Template: A template is a pre-defined arrangement of blocks, possibly with predefined attributes or placeholder content. 

To think about how these might work together, here’s a pretend example showing when you might use each through the lens of a cooking themed site:

  • For new recipes that you’re working on and still refining, you can easily create a reusable block that makes it easy for people to submit a survey about their experience. This reusable block could be added to any new recipes you create making it easy to have a great feedback loopLoop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. https://codex.wordpress.org/The_Loop..
  • For any recipe you’re working on, you can use a block pattern to quickly set the structure of your recipe content editing what’s added from the pattern knowing that any changes made after inserting the pattern will only impact that post. This saves you time and helps create consistency when sharing your delicious recipes. 
  • You’re starting a new series of recipes centered around quarantine cooking and, to help differentiate the posts in this series, you create a new template for these posts to enable a more custom experience when folks are viewing those recipes compared to your usual ones.  

As you can see from the above, there are a ton of tools baked into Full Site Editing and figuring out how best to both distinguish them and show how they can be used together is crucial. Right now, there’s an in progress discussion and design around the final placement for many of these features. The good news is that because there is overlap, consistency in experience can be created across each. For example, this issue shows how designers are thinking about what can be learned from the Reusable Block editing experience to influence the isolated Template Part editing experience. Currently, there’s a bug causing Reusable Blocks to not be able to be inserted into the Site Editor. In the long run though, this should be resolved. 

6) Will 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/ ever have page builder features, like columns and pagination. Something that I can already do with Kadence Blocks.

Gutenberg already has the Columns Block in place and, with the Site Editor, will have a Pagination Block. Currently, the Pagination Block is not expected to be included in Classic Themes though so you’d have to use a Block Theme to access it in the future. 

7) Can one convert templates to become Reusable blocks or Patterns or the other way around?

Currently, converting a reusable block to a pattern is under discussion here but, in general, this is not yet something that’s been pursued. Rather than seeing conversions between these items, it’s more likely to see patterns being integrated into template parts and other various blocks like the Query Block

8) Will there be anything that resembles Full Site Editing in 5.8?

As a reminder, Full Site Editing is a collection of features including various projects from Global Styles to new Theme Blocks and more. As a result, there is plenty going into 5.8 that will resemble Full Site Editing! You can read more about these planned features here. In the context of this question though, I imagine you’re asking about user facing changes that resemble the Site Editing experience. In that case, the closest feature coming is Template Editing Mode and the corresponding useful Theme Blocks you can use when in that mode, like the Navigation Block. If you’re keen to learn more about this feature, check out the latest call for testing!

9) What new front-end CSS will WordPress output to support FSE? Will those styles be separated from the existing block stylesheets? What options with theme developers have for customizing them?

Gutenberg will definitely be outputting some new CSS. For example, Gutenberg can now provide front-end code for wide & full alignments, for block padding, and many other block customizations. The majority of Gutenberg-provided CSS will be customizable via theme.jsonJSON JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a minimal, readable format for structuring data. It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML.. The goal is that themes won’t actually have to edit or override very much of that with CSS at all in the long run.

Since the whole theme is made of blocks, all of what’s described above will be block stylesheets. In terms of theme customization, that will be mostly made possible via the controls in theme.json. If a theme wants to augment that with extra-specific styles (like custom animations or hover states, etc), they can use CSS though. However, for the most part, customizations will be possible within theme.json.

Thank you to @kjell for helping answer this particular question.

10) What current themes do you recommend that will work well with FSE?

The best place to snag blocks themes are from the Theme Experiments repository. Keep in mind that both FSE and these themes are experimental and in progress! In particular, I’d recommend using the TT1 Blocks theme, which is what’s being used for the FSE Outreach Program testing. 

11) Are there any plans later to add features to the list view?

Yes. There’s an overview issue covering improvements to the List View. This includes everything from enabling block movers to being able to fold in nested items. 

12) Is there a way to more clearly surface documentation for theme authors that are not deeply involved in the FSE project development itself?

As of a few weeks ago, a new Developer Handbook page was created as an entry point into Full Site Editing, including a section for theme authors to learn more. This is an early effort to start surfacing this documentation more alongside efforts like the bi-monthly Block Theme meeting and the Gutenberg + Themes Roundups. Feedback is always welcome for what you’d like to see!

#fse-answers, #fse-outreach-program