Astra, a free theme that has steadily been growing in popularity, is now fully compatible with Gutenberg. The theme was first released in May 2017 and has more than 100,000 active installations. It was downloaded approximately 2,000 – 4,500 times per day over the past month and currently maintains a 5-star average rating on WordPress.org after 844 reviews.
Astra’s creators advertise the theme as fast, lightweight (less than 50KB on frontend), and compatible with many page builders. These features have been key to its rapid growth. Last week they announced full Gutenberg compatibility, which means sites built with Astra will be able to take advantage of all the new features in the editor when 5.0 is released.
Astra’s Gutenberg compatibility update includes front-end styles displayed in the editor and support for the full-width alignment option. The width of the content in the editor matches that of the frontend, and the same is true for the typography, colors, and background.
The theme also ensures that the default Gutenberg blocks, i.e. quotes and galleries, will inherit Astra customizer styles to match the rest of the site.
Astra’s creators support the theme by offering commercial packages that include additional features and plugins, starter sites, add-ons for page builders, and support. They plan to offer additional Gutenberg features in commercial add-ons. Astra’s Ultimate Addons product will introduce custom blocks, such as Section, Heading, Info Box, Post Grid, Google Map, Table, Social Share, Menu, Buttons, along with pre-made starter templates.
After two months of weekend work, Anders Norén reported that all 18 of his free themes on WordPress.org have been updated to be compatible with Gutenberg. Norén’s popular minimalist style themes have a cumulative rating of 4.97 out of 5 stars and have been downloaded more than 2.2 million times. They are active on an estimated 100,000 WordPress installations.
“There are no custom blocks or other fancy stuff to be found in the updates, but if you’re running one of my themes, you should be able to update to WordPress 5.0 and start using Gutenberg without any hitches, in the editor or on the front-end,” Norén said. “If you plan to keep using the classic editor, things should look mostly the same after you install the update.”
The Gutenberg compatibility update for Norén’s themes includes editor styles, with layout, typography and colors matching the theme, styles for core blocks and new alignment options, and custom font sizes and color palette in the editor. Norén also took the opportunity to do an overall code cleanup and add improvements for older versions of PHP, accessibility and localization improvements, and bug fixes, amounting to 17,525 lines of code added or modified.
“The past couple of weekends have been grueling, but knowing that my themes will be ready for WordPress 5.0 – whether it hits the November 20th release date or not – was worth it,” Norén said.
Themeisle has updated Hestia with Gutenberg compatibility in the theme’s 2.0 release. The popular Material Design WordPress theme is the company’s flagship product and is installed on more than 100,000 WordPress sites. The company is planning to release a brand new theme that will be fully Gutenberg compatible. They have not yet announced if Zerif Lite (100,000+ installs) will be updated for the new editor.
Six weeks ago, searching the WordPress.org Theme Directory for “Gutenberg” produced 26 results where compatibility is mentioned in the theme descriptions. That number has jumped to 53. Support for the new editor seems to have happened much faster in the commercial theme space where searching for Gutenberg on Envato already turns up hundreds of results before the editor has even landed in core. Authors of free themes on WordPress.org don’t always have the same motivation. Those who support popular themes are more likely to have their themes compatible by the time WordPress 5.0 arrives, especially if the free theme is connected to a paid product.