Atomic Blocks Rebranded to Genesis Blocks, Migration Path to New Plugin Coming Soon

StudioPress, which was acquired by WP Engine in 2018, is rebranding its popular Atomic Blocks plugin to Genesis Blocks. WP Engine also acquired Atomic Blocks in 2018, growing the plugin’s user base from 3,000 active installs to more than 60,000 over the past two years. The purpose of rebranding is to more tightly align the block collection with the Genesis brand.

“We decided to elevate the Genesis brand to be the parent brand for all of our block and theme products moving forward,” WP Engine VP of web strategy David Vogelpohl said. “While we could have changed the title of the Atomic Blocks plugin, we wanted the slug to represent the Genesis brand so we decided to create a new plugin to achieve that outcome.”

Unfortunately, in order to get the preferred slug for the plugin, WP Engine has to create a new plugin, instead of renaming the existing one. The company is creating a migration tool to move the plugin’s 60k users over to Genesis Blocks.  

“Based on initial prototypes, the migration path will be automated for most users of the plugin,” Vogelpohl said. “We believe that migration technology will be available at the end of our next two-week sprint (starting next week), but we aren’t able to commit to a date until more work has been completed.”

The new Genesis Blocks plugin will now be explicitly developed in support of StudioPress themes and the Genesis Pro package. This doesn’t mean the blocks cannot be used with other themes. Rather, it’s more clear to users that the collection is designed to look best with WP Engine’s products.

Genesis Blocks contains the same 22 free blocks found in its predecessor but can be upgraded via a Genesis Pro subscription to add more blocks, full page layouts, and pre-built sections. The subscription also includes access to advanced block-level user permissions as well as support for the Genesis Framework and its commercial child themes.

Pro

Moving forward, all new features will be added to the new Genesis Blocks plugin, while support for Atomic Blocks gets scaled back to security releases and updates necessary for compatibility with WordPress.

In time, it will be deprecated, but only after enough users have migrated over,” Vogelpohl said. “We don’t have a date for that yet and any future decisions will be based on the percentage of people who have migrated and the effects of that decision on the users who have not migrated at that time. It’s important for us to make decisions that are respectful of the users of any of our products and the sites they manage. We will clearly communicate future plans and dates for deprecation, but for now, users of Atomic Blocks will have plenty of time to migrate. We will continue to update Atomic Blocks for security releases and functionality relative to updates in WordPress until the plugin is officially wound down.”

When WP Engine acquired StudioPress and the Genesis Framework, the company said it planned to integrate it tightly into the the WP Engine Digital Experience Platform so it performs better there than anywhere else. It’s an interesting trend among WordPress hosting companies, similar to GoDaddy’s acquisition of CoBlocks and Themebeans, where the company is gradually refining its product acquisitions to provide its own flavor or “experience” of WordPress.

WP Engine also plans to rebrand the Block Lab plugin as Genesis Custom Blocks. The plugin will also have a similar migration path for its 8,000 active installs. WP Engine’s goal with the rebranding effort is to make page building with the block editor more streamlined, as well as an extension of its current product lines.

“Genesis Blocks will play a big role in how we deliver value under Full Site Editing in the future, so this is the first step in helping the Genesis community and anyone in WordPress build better sites faster with the block editor,” Vogelpohl said.

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14 responses to “Atomic Blocks Rebranded to Genesis Blocks, Migration Path to New Plugin Coming Soon”

  1. Orhan Tolu says:

    I wonder what will happen with the Atomic Blocks theme?

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  2. Aaron says:

    Locking users into WPEngine hosting – smart move. Sucks for anyone invested in Atomic waiting for new features though.

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    • Bianca says:

      That’s not what is happening here. Both Genesis Blocks and Genesis Pro can be used without WPEngine hosting.

      I believe it’s more like people who do host on WPEngine get a more streamlined experience with the Genesis Pro blocks available as an add-on.

      Do they hope to get more business with this approach? Probably, but I don’t see this as wrong, persé. In my experience so far they are not the dashboard taking over spamming kind of company.

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  3. Darn! It’s time to immediately remove the Atomic Blocks plugin from my website. Thank you for the heads up Sarah.

    I pledge going forward that I will only use core WP block plugins! I just don’t like these types of surprises and their associated moving goalposts.

    Now, if I can only find that plugin that identifies where a block plugin is used throughout a website…

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    • In case anyone is interested, the “Find My Blocks” plugin is the plugin I was looking for. Many thanks to Justin for writing about this plugin and to Eddy Sims the plugin author.

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  4. Anh Tran says:

    I see they release Genesis Blocks on .org. I wonder why don’t they change the name of Atomic Blocks and keep the old slug.

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    • Kaspars says:

      I was wondering about the same thing — why is the plugin slug on .ORG that important to have everyone go through the migration path. Looks like the block namespace has been changed to genesis-blocks so they need to search and replace all instances of the previous atomic-blocks namespace.

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    • I have the same issue with my EditorsKit plugin. Unfortunately, the slug would be the plugin’s folder name and text domain. It would probably be more confusing keeping atomic-blocks as the folder name under /plugins.

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  5. We really need to figure out a way for slugs to update and migrate cleanly.

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  6. As mentioned, the slug and URL on .org would have to remain atomic-blocks while the public facing name of the plugin would be Genesis Blocks. This would be confusing for users, especially as the plugin grows over the years. Not to mention juggling two product names internally. It’s not ideal, but long term it was the right move.

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    • Hey Mike – who gave you authority to replace my standard GB Button block with your Atomic Blocks AB-Button Block? For months now, I have been selecting the “Button” block thinking it was the standard GB button block, but discovered this evening, it is actually your AB-Button block.

      I checked all the Atomic Blocks, and you have indeed removed the prefix AB from all of your block names. This is REALLY confusing. Now I have unintentionally inserted Atomic Blocks buttons all over my site.

      NOT HAPPY!

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  7. When did Atomic Blocks remove the “AB” prefix from their block names?

    I have been using the Button block for months now only to discover that I’m actually using the Atomic Blocks button block!

    I am so upset. I can no longer find the standard GB button block. Did Atomic Blocks remove or replace the standard GB Button block with their AB-Button block?

    Who gave Atomic Blocks authority to name their button block “Button” which is suppose to be the name for the GB Button block?

    What am I missing here?

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    • Just noting that Gutenberg/WordPress removed the Button block. Or, at least you can no longer add it by itself. Instead, you have to use the newer Buttons block, which will allow you to add one or more buttons. I’m not a big fan of how this works. Button should be available outside of Buttons.

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      • So let me get this straight, please. WordPress removed the Button block, and then Atomic Blocks/WPEngine renamed their AB-Button block to Button.

        Thank you for letting me know Justin.

        WPEngine, this is sneaky, and you should be ashamed of yourself! You misled the entire Atomic Blocks Plugin users when you removed the “AB-” prefix from your Atomic Block names! Now I have unintentionally scattered your blocks throughout my site.

        Come hell or high water, I will remove Atomic Blocks, and never associate with WPEngine in any way!

        Thank you Justin for clearing this up.

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