Imagine that you go to work one day and everything has changed. Your desk is now a touchscreen. Your chair is a giant ball. The bathrooms have been moved. Your boss tells you that it’s all much more efficient and you’ll love it once you get used to it. Right. You want to smash a watermelon. Well, we’re sorry to break it to you, but that’s what recently happened in the WordPress universe. The editor, where you add content to your posts and pages, over the past few years has changed in a huge way. Fortunately, AIM has taken the change in stride and has fully embraced the WordPress Gutenberg editor and its block building system for web design, and the result is that our clients have more freedom and versatility than ever.
WordPress Goes to the Blocks
The new editor is called Gutenberg, like the guy who invented printing hundreds of years ago. The Gutenberg editor changes the way you create content on your website in a profound way. Instead of adding text or pictures to the big white board of the old editor, Gutenberg lets you add “blocks” for different kinds of content such as text, headlines, images, galleries, videos, even poems! And each of these blocks can be moved around on the page, duplicated, and customized with background or text colors. You can add columns or even add blocks within columns. It’s a big bold world of options, but it is not intuitive, and that’s where we come in.
Gutenberg takes time to understand and even longer to get comfortable with. Fortunately for you, we’ve been spending a lot of time with the new editor. Over the past few years we’ve tested each new version of the editor, closely following its progress and evolution because it impacts how we create websites and how we train our clients. With all of this Gutenberg experience under our belts, we decided on two things. First, all of our new websites will fully support Gutenberg. Second, we will help you learn how to get the most out of the block editor.
Gutenberg Behind the Scenes
One of the aspects of the block editor that people may not appreciate is that the blocks need to be customized for each theme. The default styles are suitable only for the most basic websites. Theme authors must incorporate block styles into their themes if they are to be used with Gutenberg. For this reason, old themes won’t display block elements in ways that compliment the theme unless the theme itself has been modified to do so.
At AIM, we’ve been working with our own version of block content for most of the past decade. Our ThemeBlocks framework theme was based on the same concept that web pages should be versatile, with both content blocks and styles available for customization. With the advent of the new WordPress block editor, we’ve authored a new framework theme called AIMFrame, which is built around Gutenberg. We’ve also created a number of specialized blocks, such as our Query Block that allows us to display content from any post-type dynamically on any post or page. Currently, the only query-type blocks available elsewhere are very limited. It’s just another way that AIM is building solutions ahead of the curve.
The Future of WordPress
Over the past year, we’ve seen a great deal of change in the WordPress platform, most of it driven by the evolving functions of the block editor. Coming up in the future, we expect to see block design extended to site elements such as the header and footer elements. Full-site editing is being worked on by a core group of WordPress expert developers, and some early results are available for testing. As always, we’re studying these new technologies and approaches, preparing for the future, and looking for ways we can innovate better solutions for our clients. Gutenberg may have ushered in some big changes, but they are just the beginning.