Full Site Editing Decision Time

Full Site Editing Decision Time

The WordPress core team is locking down the plan for the rest of 2021. One key decision is when to merge the Site Editor into the core platform.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy, the Executive Director of WordPress, published a post on March 12 that laid out the proposed plan for merging Full Site Editing (FSE) into the WordPress core platform.  She also outlined a communications strategy to raise awareness and strengthen community readiness. She acknowledged the significant implications that FSE, the defining feature of Phase 2 of the Gutenberg project, will have on the platform and the community. You can read the entire post here.

There were two key pieces of news in the post that both WordPress developers and site owners should factor into their planning.

  • As announced earlier, there will be two more major updates to WordPress this year instead of three. WordPress 5.8 is now targeted for July and WordPress 5.9 is now targeted for December.
  • A go-nogo decision will be made in April about whether FSE will be merged into WordPress 5.8 or if that will happen in WordPress 5.9.

Not if, but when

As you can see, at this point the question is not if FSE gets integrated into core, but when it will. There is still a lot of discussion and debate about Full Site Editing across the WordPress community.  Even more than the introduction of the Block Editor, it will change how WordPress sites are created.  As with any new capability this significant, the first release will not include every feature that the community has envisioned.

Justin Tadlock wrote a good overview back in February about what the community felt the “minimum viable product” for the initial release of Full Site Editing should include. He also laid out some of the challenges and broader implications for the community. You can read the post on WordPress Tavern here.

Time to get started?

If you haven’t started to learn about the Site Editor, here is a high level overview by WPCrafter that was posted in December. It’s only about fifteen minutes long and gives you an introduction to basic concepts, terminology, and the current interfaces.

If you want to go deeper and learn more about what this means for themes and how they will get built, Kjell Reigstad of Automatic presented an introduction to block-based themes to the NYC WordPress group in January. It is about 30 minutes long. Kjell explains how block-based themes are different from existing themes, and discusses what that means for both users and theme developers.

Our Take

While it will probably be early 2022 before commercial block-based themes arrive and people using the Site Editor for larger-scale production sites, we do recommend that you start to get educated about these new capabilities and start evaluating the impact on existing sites and new projects.

To start learning. set up a sandbox site and install a block-based theme like TT1 Blocks which is the block-based version of the Twenty Twenty One theme. You will also need to have the Gutenberg plugin installed and activated. Follow us here as we share our findings and recommendations. If you have subscribed to an Outcome Labs Care Plan, our team will be making specific recommendations for your site as things evolve.

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