Questions about the Future of Themes

This week we held a meeting at the last minute in the #themereview slackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at channel (you’ll need an account to see it). The goal of the meeting was to discuss where themes are going in the future.

We (the TRT reps) do not have all the answers but we do think this discussion is important to have and to keep open going forward.

We had a handful of questions that we wanted to get an answer on:

  • Is it time to allow theme authors to use what is available from the editor?
  • How can theme authors be more involved with the editor building experience and influence where it is going so that it is going where they need it?
  • In what ways does future editor plans affect themes?

How can we, as the people that build themes, influence the direction the editor is going in if the destination has already been decided?

William Patton

Matías Ventura offered up specifically these 2 things which we can help with that are not yet decided.

We made a proposal to the Theme Review Team and are seeking opinions from the team and from theme authors:

My proposal is firstly about allowing 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. templates into themes. Secondly it is about the pros/cons of including custom blocks directly.

William Patton

Ultimately we want to allow theme authors the ability to make use of all the features the editor can offer. Even the experimental ones, we think it’s important that experiments are done by real people to solve real-world problems.

The issue highlighted with allowing all themes to do this is that it results in a type of lock-in which we generally want to avoid at all costs. We also don’t want to have things exposed to end-users that may break in the future.

For experimental themes what was suggested is that instead of standard theme submissions and the queue authors could test these things and place them 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. for us to check out. I think this is a good idea and something we will try to make happen.

We had 2 final points we wanted to get across to act as open-ended questions we can work on in the coming weeks and months. Please feel free to ponder these and share in the comments any insights you may have.

  • Theme authors: We propose we allow themes to experiment with current and future features. We will tag them as experimental . What are the thoughts on this?
    • Sidenote: this is likely best done not in the standard review system but instead on GitHub or similar.
  • Editor builders: How best can we help if we do not yet know ReactReact React is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to reason about, construct, and maintain stateless and stateful user interfaces. or have the time to look through the thousands of issues on GitHub.

As for ways to help out there is work ongoing to create a demo space here:

As for a few action points here is what we need to do before we have another discussion about this.

  1. Get a list of things that are in discussion and relates to themes (Josepha has kindly offered to get us the inside scoop on this.)
  2. Get a list of blocks that are missing for themes right now (TRT and theme authors are in a good position to tell people what they are missing and any sticking points they have.)

Thanks to everyone who attended the meeting for this. It was very short notice so if anyone wants to bring anything up that was not discussed or considered in advance feel free to pop by #themereview channel and let us know.