I suspect that you might have heard about block patterns, but if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Patterns are collections of blocks which anyone can assemble for easy reuse at a later date. You can make them as simple or as complex as you, style them and save them away. When you’re ready to reuse them, they’re just one click away. It’s a great time saver.
Having said that, not all of us are great at design, or perhaps we’ve just not had the time to explore how block patterns are created. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a source of patterns which we could use in our WordPress websites, safe in the knowledge that they were completely free to use? There is, and it’s called the Pattern Directory. You simply find a pattern you like and copy / paste it into your site.
You could stop there, but you could also use this as a way of learning how blocks are constructed. Open up the pattern to see how it’s laid out. What settings were used to create the styling?
Right now, the Pattern Directory is quite small. There’s a few hundred patterns to explore, but it could certainly do with some more contributions, and that is what this podcast is all about.
The Pattern Creator is the way to create patterns so that they can be submitted, reviewed, and hopefully accepted into the Pattern Directory.
We’ve got two perspectives on the podcast today from people who come at it from different angles.
Ana is a self taught WordPress themer and designer who is making use of patterns at Anariel Design, her website building business, and Kelly is an Automattician who has been working with the team building the Pattern Directory and Creator.
We talk about how the Creator works, how you can submit your patterns and what constraints are there for having your submissions accepted.
So, if you’re curious about how patterns can speed up your website building workflow, this episode is for you.
Ana is @ana_segota on Twitter, and @anasegota on the Make Slack Channel.
Kelly is @ryelle on both Twitter and the Make Slack Channel.
[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley. Jukebox is a podcast, which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case, learning about the new pattern creator.
If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or by going to WP Tavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players.
If you’ve got a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, well, I’m very keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you, or your idea featured on the show. Head over to WP Tavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and use the contact form there.
So on the podcast today, we have Ana Segota and Kelly Choyce-Dwan. I suspect that you’ve heard about block patterns, but if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.
Patterns are collections of blocks which anyone can assemble for easy reuse at a later date. You can make them as simple or as complex as you like. Style them and save them away. When you’re ready to reuse them, they’re just one click away. It’s a great time-saver .
Having said that, not all of us are great at design, or perhaps we’ve just not had the time to explore how block patterns are created. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a source of patterns which we could use in our WordPress websites, safe in the knowledge that they were completely free to use? There is, and it’s called the pattern directory. You simply find a pattern that you like and copy paste it into your site.
You could stop there, but you could also use this as a way of learning how blocks are constructed. Open up the pattern and see how it’s laid out. What settings we’ll use to create the styling?
Right now, the pattern directory is quite small. There’s a few hundred pounds to explore, but it could certainly do with some more contributions. And that is what this podcast is about. The pattern creator is the way to create patterns so that they can be submitted, reviewed, and hopefully accepted into the Pattern Directory. We’ve got two perspectives on the podcast today from people who come at it from different angles.
Ana is a self-taught WordPress themer, and a designer who is making use of patterns in her website builds. And Kelly is an Automattician who has been working with the team building the Pattern Directory and Creator. We talk about how the creator works, how you can submit your patterns and what constraints are there for having your submissions accepted.
So, if you’re curious about how patterns can speed up your website building workflow, this episode is for you.
If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading over to WP tavern.com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.
And so without further delay, I bring you Ana Segota and Kelly Choyce-Dwan.
I am joined on the podcast today by Ana Segota and Kelly Choyce-Dwan. Hello.
[00:04:01] Ana Segota: Hi.
[00:04:01] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Hello.
[00:04:02] Nathan Wrigley: Very nice to have you both here. As we always do at the beginning of the podcast, I’m going to give both of you an opportunity to introduce yourselves, to give us a bit of an orientation.
If you’ve listened to the introduction to this podcast, you probably know that we’re going to be talking about the pattern creator. And so it would be important to know why the two guests today are coming on talking about that. So, we’ll take it one at a time. We’ll begin with Ana. Ana, just tell us a little bit about your journey with WordPress and how come it is that you became involved with the pattern creator.
[00:04:33] Ana Segota: So, hi Nathan, nice to meet you and thank you for inviting me. So I’m Ana Segota, and I am a themer, and I love creating WordPress themes using block patterns. I always was more as a designer, but I learned to code to be able to create WordPress themes myself, but now having a block patterns is such a relief for me because I can concentrate on design more.
[00:05:04] Nathan Wrigley: That’s really nice. Thank you. Yeah. The intention of the tool is to make all of those decisions a little bit easier. So it’s nice, nice to know that in your case, it’s working. So, okay that’s going to be one perspective that we’ve got in the show today. And another perspective comes from Kelly. So Kelly, just spend a moment, tell us who you are please.
[00:05:21] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Sure. So my name is Kelly Choyce-Dwan, also ryelle online. I work at Automattic and I have for over seven years. I started with WordPress in 2009, and I’m now working on the Meta team where my focus recently has been on the pattern directory and pattern creator.
[00:05:41] Nathan Wrigley: Now many people listening to this podcast will be very up-to-date users of WordPress. There’ll be using the tools that are shipping all of the time, and they may well have discovered patterns and be using them to great effect.
On the other hand, I suspect that there’ll be a fair amount of people who as yet have not delved into patterns. They may know what they are. They may not. So I’m wondering if we could really just rewind a little bit, make no assumptions about anybody’s knowledge about patterns and just lay out what they are. So it’s a very general question. Either of you feel free to answer it. What are patterns in WordPress and why might you wish to use them?
[00:06:24] Ana Segota: So for me block patterns, I like predefined and ready to use layout that you can click or drug and create pages. It’s like a collection of blocks arranged together to help you create different layouts. If you’ve used sometimes page builders, or Elementor templates, for example, it’s the same thing. You can use them on your website. You can adjust them, change the layout, change the colors. And I think they’re very useful.
[00:06:59] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you. So they are basically quick ways to build websites. You’re using other people’s predefined layouts. The work, in great measure, has been done for you. You can discover collections of blocks, which are generically called patterns, and you can click on those and import them into your post or page or whatever it might be.
So it speeds things up. I’m curious, for those of you, who’ve never used this before again, how do you actually build them? What’s the process that one might find themselves in, and bear in mind, we might be speaking to users of WordPress who are familiar with page builders, and don’t really find themselves interacting with the WordPress block editor.
So we may need to have a little bit of a description around there. What are we actually doing? How do we create and build patterns?
[00:07:51] Ana Segota: Okay. so mostly, I’m building block patterns for the themes. As a background, I first start, with niche, different niche, and what can be useful for that niche. And then I start creating block patterns directly in the editor, where you have all the options of block that you can combine in one block pattern.
So mostly I started with a group block, where I put then columns or cover or images, and start creating different ideas and different layout.
[00:08:34] Nathan Wrigley: Are you able to save those, as WordPress currently stands? Are you able to save those and I’ll stay with Ana. Are you able to save those Ana so that they can be reused on other websites. In other words, can you save more time by having your own little collection of blocks, which you then can use on this website over here and this other completely different website?
[00:08:58] Ana Segota: Maybe Kelly knows better, the other way, but what I know you can always copy the block you have and paste it on other website. Or you can export it. But not sure if you can save it inside the editor for like a gallery or something. I’m not sure that you can, or if you can do this, maybe Kelly knows that.
[00:09:22] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Well, I know that you can, if you copy the block code into like a code file, the you can register it that way, but it requires code.
[00:09:33] Ana Segota: I think, there is no easy way to save it in a gallery for the beginner user, for example.
[00:09:41] Nathan Wrigley: At the moment, it feels as though it is the domain of people who are fairly experienced with WordPress. All of the tooling, with things like Elementor that you described, where you, you might have a private cloud of things that you’ve created in the past, and you can log in, and there’s a cloud service attached and you can download those to all of the other websites. We’re not quite at that point yet, although maybe some of the discussion that we’ll have today will revolve around that.
[00:10:10] Ana Segota: Yeah, I would love that.
[00:10:12] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, that would be a really nice addition.
[00:10:14] Ana Segota: But I think the, pattern creator is doing some kind of saving those block patterns and one place where you can reuse it. But we will come to it.
[00:10:24] Nathan Wrigley: That’s okay. We’ll come to that in a moment. Just to say, patterns are collections of blocks and you piece them together, akin to a jigsaw and you build up designs, and style those designs, add images, add forms, add whatever it might be, background, color, padding, and so on, until you’ve got something that you’d like to look off. And at the moment, it probably lives within one WordPress website. But you can copy and paste that over somewhere else, but there’s no sort of cloud functionality.
And so, to the main conversation today, which is the pattern creator. Just so that you know, the links will be in the show notes to everything that we talk about today. And the pattern creator may well be something that you want to go and play with because it enables you to do a very large amount more than potentially you can do in your normal WordPress website. So, whoever wishes to take this. What is the pattern creator? Hopefully we’ll be providing people with the link so they can find that. That’s all good. But what’s the purpose of it? Why was it built? Why did the WordPress team decide that a tool like this needed to exist?
[00:11:33] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: So the pattern creator is a place to go and create patterns to share with anyone who uses WordPress, and it was created to make the process of making a sharing patterns easier. It’s a place that you can go and make a pattern and you know that it can be reused without having to write that code.
[00:11:54] Nathan Wrigley: So, at the moment it’s not only is it a place where you can go and create patterns. It’s a place where you can go and discover other people’s already created patterns. And if you’re, if you’re coming to this podcast from another page builder, think about it as rows. You’re essentially grabbing rows from websites or component parts of websites. And so it serves that double purpose. Not only can you create your own, but you can also go and freely download other people’s work. Have I got that right? Have I misstated that?
[00:12:25] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: That’s correct?
[00:12:26] Nathan Wrigley: So in terms of how the editor works, we need to go to the website, the pattern creator website. And once we’re there, my understanding is that you need a, a wordpress.org account.
Once you’ve got yourself, a wordpress.org account, you can log in and you are presented with something which looks very, very similar to the usual WordPress block editor interface. It’s a little bit more spartan because the menu on the left kind of basically doesn’t exist. So all of those options for posts and pages and what have you are gone. Let’s talk about the design decisions.
So the menu on the left is gone. We’ve got the option to add blocks. Are we just dealing with a subset of the core blocks or can we add any of the core blocks?
[00:13:15] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: It is a subset currently, because we don’t have the dynamic content that might be on your website. So we can’t replicate the full experience of using that block. But almost all of the core blocks are available.
[00:13:30] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, so you can log in and you can start building out your blocks, or rather, I should say you can start building out your patterns. Then presumably there’s some kind of save process. And if you’re happy with things, can you use this if you chose to do it this way, can you use this as a private repository of your own blocks, that you’re maybe not ready to share with the world? Maybe they have to be kept in a draft state or something like that. Could it be used in that way? I know that’s not the intention. The intention is to have them shareable, but you were to design something and be not entirely satisfied with it, could you keep it there and come back to it at a later date and tweak it?
[00:14:13] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah, totally. You can save things as drafts. Actually, when we were first building it out, one of the ideas was that it could be a private repo for you to put your own patterns in. That isn’t built yet, but it could be in the future.
[00:14:26] Nathan Wrigley: So there is a kind of workaround to make it a directory of your own, if you simply save things as draft. But that isn’t the point. The intention is to make it universally available to everybody. And so on.
Does this require an up to date version of Gutenberg on the backend? So just to be clear, it’s like a SaaS product. You’re not installing WordPress anywhere. You are just going to a website and interacting with it. But I’m just curious to know, as Gutenberg is updated and modified and the blocks change, we’re several years in, and there’s been a great deal of change in the way that certain things work.
Do you have confidence that everything that you build today will look the same in, let’s say a couple of years time. In other words, do you anticipate that some things may break in the future or are you trying as hard as possible to mitigate against that?
[00:15:18] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Well, I hope it won’t, but the pattern creator is using always the stable version of Gutenberg. So it will always be up-to-date when you’re creating patterns. Patterns created a few months ago, we’re created with an older version of Gutenberg, but between backwards compatibility block transformation, Gutenberg is trying not to break your content too. So I’m fairly confident that things will continue to work. If there are patterns that do brake, we have a reporting mechanism for reporting that.
[00:15:51] Nathan Wrigley: So it’s just Core blocks that we need to worry about. And it’s a subset of the Core blocks. Now, I’m looking on the interface at the moment. There’s the option for me to add a title? Obviously that’s just for the purposes of knowing what the pattern is that I’m saving somewhere. And then I can, in the normal way, click the little plus icon and I can add blocks as I choose. Put a group in, put some columns in and so on, and fiddle with those blocks just as I would do on my regular WordPress website.
And I’ve got the list view where I can see the stack of all of the different things that. I’ve created. And then on the right-hand side, you’ve got a title and a description. Do both of those serve the purpose of showing to somebody, once it’s been submitted to the pattern directory, which we’ll get onto in just a moment. Those titles and descriptions would give the people, browsing the pattern directory, some orientation as to what it was about and what it was designed to achieve.
[00:16:46] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah, that’s right. The title is the pattern title, and it’s the same when you’re in that little sidebar and the top title, they’re just two inputs for the same thing. Good title would describe what the pattern is, like one of the pattern contains, what it should be used for.
[00:17:01] Nathan Wrigley: Then in order to presumably aid search on the other end in the pattern directory. Currently we have six categories. There’s no option to create categories of your own. At the minute we look like we’ve got buttons, columns, gallery, header, images, text, and then there’s the option to add in keywords, maximum of 10.
Again, is this all just to help the taxonomy of it, to help assist people on the other side to locate things which you’ve got buttons in and specifically columns and galleries and so on? Is that the That’s the sole purpose of that.
[00:17:34] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: That’s right. And, they’re also used, those are the same properties that are used in WordPress Core when you’re registering patterns.
[00:17:41] Nathan Wrigley: So I could spend hours happily building out my new blocks and constructing them up into patterns and saving them away. And once I’ve got something that I’m happy with, there’s a blue submit button at the top right hand corner in the same way that you would have publish in WordPress typically, but this is submit.
What is the process, what’s going on there? What is the list of things which happen after that? So I’m thinking in terms of, I just clicked submit, but presumably at that point, all sorts of other things are set in motion. Maybe it’s sent to a particular team and people have to authorize things and check that it doesn’t break any guidelines. And that might be a long list of things that go on in the background there.
[00:18:24] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah. So when you submit a pattern, it asks you a few things more just to make sure you filled out all of your details. there are a few things that we’ll check for automatically, making sure you’re using a decent title. We’ve had a few patterns that are just called my pattern, which isn’t helpful for other people. So we detect things like that.
So after the automated checks, it does get submitted as pending. So it does not automatically approved yet. And there is a pattern review team that will look through the pending patterns and publish things that are valid. Most things do get published. So you probably would get published within a day or two.
[00:19:02] Ana Segota: It’s mostly hours or a day. I submitted here, so top, one day
[00:19:08] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it’s really quick. A big gripe about the, let’s say the theme review team or the plugin review team was that there was quite a long wait, sometimes very long. There’s a lot more complexity, I guess, within a theme, a lot more code floating about. So at the moment. if you submit something, as of, let’s say May 2022, you’re very likely to have a decision fairly quickly.
In terms of that being authorized, what are the guidelines? What are the kinds of things that are allowed and disallowed? In other words, so you mentioned that a good title, a good descriptive title is going to set you on the road to having its, authorized and put on the pattern directory.
Are there any other guidelines that need to be, you need to be mindful of? Not only in terms of getting it submitted, but things that you don’t want people to submit because it contravenes certain rules or regulations.
[00:20:03] Ana Segota: I think the most important part is to combine multiple blocks together, so not just to use one block and post it. So multiply blocks together and create some interesting and useful layouts. So maybe front design part and also something that can be creative and useful to the users. Also to highlight the capabilities of the blocks they contain and provide a starting point to customize the content.
Good pattern book needs to be, has a well-defined purpose too. And for don’ts, maybe to avoid to design patterns for a single theme. So to think about it to be used in different websites. Not to create a pattern that is like a full page. Or just a simple pattern that is using a paragraph. And I think you need to use photos from the gallery there. You can’t import your photos or from some other website, and that’s probably it.
[00:21:11] Nathan Wrigley: So the photos are coming in from, Kelly, maybe you can help us out here. Are they coming in from Openverse?
[00:21:18] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: They are yeah. It’s all CC0 photos from Openverse. So they’re able to be used by anyone without any, without worry about crediting people.
[00:21:27] Ana Segota: Yeah, that’s very helpful.
[00:21:30] Nathan Wrigley: Another podcast episode altogether isn’t it? The whole Openverse project’s fabulous. Yeah. so obviously there’s constraints in terms of the do’s, you know, it needs to be usable on multiple websites, and so on, just as Ana said, but there’s some certain don’ts as well. We’ve prevented the ability to upload images by just using Openverse images, which is great.
But also, I guess that would be in terms of the text that you write into paragraph or heading fields, there would be a requirement for it to be, let’s call it family friendly. You know, we don’t want anything which might cause anybody any hassle and presumably that’s a trip wire which the team would immediately reject it on.
So, okay. Let’s let’s imagine that we’ve built this fabulous pattern. It’s absolutely hit the guidance on the head and it’s been approved. What then? Where does it go? Where does it live? How can other people find it?
[00:22:24] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: So it’s in the pattern directory, which is just wordpress.org/patterns. You can use that website to search through patterns. Once you found a pattern that you like, you’re able to use it in your own website, just by simply copying it. And there is a copy button on each pattern that you can use to copy the code for it.
And if you just paste that straight into your editor, you have that pattern.
[00:22:48] Nathan Wrigley: So, you go to the pattern directory, presumably you would then search and filter against the things which you created when you were submitting your pattern. And then there’s a simple copy and paste button. You copy it. It’s in the clipboard of your computer and you just go over to your website and in an empty block, there’s no sort of container or wrapper that you need to stick it in. You literally just paste it into a brand new empty text block and all will work?
[00:23:18] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yep.
[00:23:19] Ana Segota: Yeah.
[00:23:19] Nathan Wrigley: Are there any gotchas there? Because that process, whilst it’s not necessarily quite as optimal as the cloud that we were talking about earlier, where you could actually see it within your WordPress website, which I guess ultimately would be an easier experience?
Does it always work? Are there any situations where copying and pasting that code has unexpected consequences. I don’t mean things breaking. I just mean that the styling, for example, something that the theme brings to bear might make things look peculiar and not quite how you intended.
[00:23:51] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah, I think that’s possible because it is, I mean it uses the Core blocks. So if your theme styles the core blocks minimally, maybe, you’ll probably be fine, but if your theme is doing anything really creative with some of the blocks, I suppose you could have some trouble where a quote that you copied from the pattern directory looks totally different on your site.
[00:24:12] Ana Segota: But if you are using a full site editing theme, I think you are good with.
[00:24:17] Nathan Wrigley: It should just work. Yeah. Do you know if there’s any intention to bring any of this kind of functionality into WordPress Core. And what I’m meaning by that is that I could hook up my let’s say wordpress.org account to my website. And then I could create patterns inside my website and then authorize them to be submitted to the pattern directory.
I feel like that might be quite a useful workflow at some point in the future, because then you’re not necessarily having to go out and go to a different website in order to create the patterns and publish them and so on. And equally, I wonder if in the future there are any plans to make it so that I can pull these patterns in, in the same way that we described that page builders like Elementor and so on, have their cloud templates and so on, and so forth.
[00:25:11] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah, I think the second is much more likely than the first. So if you were to create a pattern on your own website. Uh, you might be using any number of blocks that are not Core blocks. So I don’t know that creating a pattern on your website and pushing it up is on the roadmap at least, because there’s a lot more gotchas. We can’t control the media that you’re using. Like we’re able to use Open verse images on the pattern creator.
So there’s a lot more, a lot more like gotchas that way. But, having an ability to pull patterns from the pattern directory on wordpress.org into your own site. I do think that that is probably going to happen soon.
Already, you can call out, well already in WordPress 6.0, you’ll be able to register pattern slugs when you’re building a theme, and then it will pull down those patterns from the pattern directory. So you can pull patterns like that.
[00:26:06] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. That’s, that’s interesting. So imagine that I’ve submitted one of my patterns. I’m very happy with it, but a year or two passes and I now for goodness knows what reason, I now don’t wish that pattern to be part of the directory. I’m wondering if either of you have any knowledge about whether things can be removed or once I’ve submitted it, is it up there for life? And I have essentially given it over to the community in perpetuity.
[00:26:36] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: You can revert your pattern to draft, if you want to take it down. You can also trash it. We’re not tied to always supporting things the way that the theme and plugin directories are because there isn’t really as much of a tie to your content and this thing on wordpress.org, because once you copy a pattern down, you have it, you don’t need to sync back up with the parent. So we don’t need to, we don’t have the same issues of keeping something around.
[00:27:00] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, so you can curate that yourself. You can just, if you like return it to a draft status. So there’s a permanent connection between the wordpress.org repository that I can access with my user login and password, and the pattern being published. In other words, when I clicked submit, it’s not just taken from my submission and put into some other SaaS, if you like.
So my expectation was that when I submitted it, much in the same way that I was submitting a form on a website, that form can then live somewhere else. You know, the form submission can come to me via email. I can’t rescind that form being sent. But in the directory the submit button and the draft status button is directly connected to whether it’s on the pattern directory.
So if I click draft again, it will immediately, without any human supervision, it will suck it out of the directory and mean that it’s no longer there.
[00:28:03] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah, that that’s correct.
[00:28:05] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I really didn’t understand that. I just assumed that I was submitting it rather like a form. Somebody would inspect it, check it into another platform. So that’s kind of good to know.
[00:28:15] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah. It also means that you can edit. So if you make your pattern and then you decide that you actually, you’ve submitted it, it’s been a week though. And you don’t like the color of the button. You can make that change. It’ll submit it back to pending, and it has to go through that review again. But, once it’s published, your pattern will have the new change now.
[00:28:34] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. So we have to go through the process. Do you have any insight into how popular patterns have become over time? I mean, I still feel that the editing experience for proprietary page builders is something that people are keen for Gutenberg to have. You know, in other words, what you see is literally what you get.
There’s no ifs or buts, it’s just exactly the same on the backend as it is on the front end. And I feel that a lot of people are not moving over to Gutenberg because that experience is not there yet. So, this one may be for Kelly, it may be for Ana. Ana, you might like to draw on, you know, your experience or maybe your friends and colleagues. Is it as usable yet? Are patterns as useful to you as your page builder that you may have used in the past yet? Or if we still got a way to go, what are your, what are your instincts on that?
[00:29:25] Ana Segota: From my point of view, I think the block patterns are now really well made and they can be really useful. And I think they are mostly easier to use them. So for the user’s point of view, but they come more to the problem where we are starting to use templates, for example. Full site editing and templates. Block patterns are I think easiest part from the whole full site editing,.
From my experience, mostly they like block patterns but, I think we are still in early stage because there is not a lot of themes that are full site editing themes. And sometimes we also have older themes that we are updating with block patterns, but it’s like a mix of old way and new way. So I think when we start doing more full site editing themes, it will get easier and user will get to know znd to accept it more.
But I think block patterns are really useful from the user side, but templates are a bit tricky now, I must say, a bit confusing because we have a two editors now, like site editor and normal editor that they know from past. And they’re asking why I see now here block pattern, but in the old editor I need to click on the edit template to edit the template. It’s a bit tricky and confusing at the moment I must confess.
[00:31:00] Nathan Wrigley: We’re on the cusp of WordPress 6.0 being released, and as each different, a new release comes around, there is more being added and the complexity sometimes goes up and hopefully at some point the complexity will go down again and be more straightforward to use.
I guess that one of the biggest wins of using patterns and the pattern directory, which you would submit things to with the creator, is that all of this is just free. It’s completely freely available. You can use it in any which way you’d like, there’s no constraints over how you might use it. And if we rewind the clock about, oh, I don’t know, let’s go for about 12 or 13 years.
I imagine that the plug-in directory felt like a similar thing, you know, you would submit your plugin and within a few hours, somebody would say yes. That’s great, thank you very much. We now know that WordPress has 50,000 plus plugins. The directory whilst being very useful is quite hard, it’s very difficult to track things down. We’ve got certain things being recommended because they’re popular and it may be hard for people to have their bits and pieces discovered.
I’m just wondering, Kelly I’ll fire this one at you. I’m just wondering if in the future there are plans to make it so that as you submit patterns, there’s maybe more options around curating it, more taxonomy, terms, greater ways of being able to search and discover things. Because at the moment, it’s easy.
There’s a handful of patterns, well, that’s not quite true, but you get point. There aren’t 50,000 of them. But in the future, when this takes off, I could see there being literally hundreds of thousands of patterns. And at that point it’s going to be extremely difficult to separate the ones that you would like from the ones which are just there in front of you, but you don’t necessarily feel able to use. So really I’m just wondering how that may be curated in the future. Any roadmap plans for that?
[00:33:00] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah. you’re right there are, what did you say, 50,000 plugins?
[00:33:03] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah,
[00:33:04] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah, there’s 400 patterns.
[00:33:06] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, yeah.
[00:33:07] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: So a little different. I don’t know that there’s any concrete roadmap for what the future of this directory might look like. There are some discussions about whether there should be different categories, like buttons, columns, taxonomy. There’s questions about how we should handle patterns that are more for site building versus just content patterns. So I do think that this is all very much still like to be decided, and really if anyone has opinions, I’m sure we’d love to hear them.
[00:33:39] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, we’ll get onto that actually now because that feels like a good point. So obviously this is being built out in the open. The pair of you have obviously taken a great interest in it, but it may be that people listening to this, this is new to them. And they think that they would like to play with this a little bit, become involved with the team.
So maybe again, I’ll direct this one at Kelly first off. Are there any ways, better ways where people can get involved in the project of the directory or the creator? Where are the best places to go and hang out?
[00:34:12] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: If you want to have feedback about the future of the pattern directory or if you just want to report that something’s not working. The project is on GitHub. It’s at github.com/wordpress/patterndirectory.
[00:34:27] Nathan Wrigley: So that’s the best place to go if you wish to find out about becoming involved. Ana, just wondering about your experiences of being involved with this. Have you got any, any insights? Is there a thing that you found the most useful? A, I don’t know, a Slack channel or a website where people are helping each other out. A group of some kind, maybe a community online somewhere where this is all happening?
[00:34:50] Ana Segota: I was in contact per Slack, with Anne McCartney also and, mostly Slack and Twitter, but yeah, mostly Slack or Github, yeah.
[00:35:01] Nathan Wrigley: Now, I know that neither of you will be able to answer this question directly, but the theme repository and the plugin repository, they feel like there’s no way that they are going away. They’re going to be here for the long-term. You know, I can imagine decades from now, they’ll still be in existence. Do you both have confidence that this journey that we’ve taken on where blocks and patterns are becoming the new, the new way of creating quick and easy websites. Do you feel confident that this is the way it’s going to be done? You know, that we ought to sail our ship in this direction?
Your long-term thoughts really on whether or not this is the way it’s going to be done in the future.
[00:35:40] Ana Segota: I hope so. I really hope so. I think this way is, better way of making, for example, I am in theme business, so, it’s easier to create themes. Especially to offer easier way of using themes to users. So finally theme can be a design for me, and that’s a really big step in the right direction. So I really hope it will stay. And also be better with the time and more easier to use.
[00:36:12] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you. And Kelly.
[00:36:14] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah, I do think that this is the way forward. I think that using blocks and making patterns is really only going to become more, more standard. Easier to use. And so I think that this is going to be the way to make websites
[00:36:28] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Just one last quick thought. I mentioned something similar earlier and Ana talked about it, I’m going to direct this one at you, Kelly, if that’s all right. I don’t know what your experience is with other website building tools. And we mentioned page builders, such as Elementor and, I just wondered what your thoughts are on where the user interface is and the user experience is at the moment.
Maybe you’ve got some insight into that. Maybe you don’t, but I just wondered whether you thought that it was yet at a point of maturity. And that kind of ties into the question I’ve just asked about whether it would be widely adopted, because it feels like there’s a big holdout of people the moment who simply cannot make the move because the experience as yet doesn’t have that, it’s exactly the same on the front end, as it is on the backend. And Ana, I think you just said, Yeah in the background. You can identify. You’ve committed, you’ve jumped over and you’ve made that journey and put the investment of time into…
[00:37:24] Ana Segota: Yeah, but it takes a lot of challenges, yeah. Because I get the input from the user side and I also used Elementor before to see how it works. And I must say it’s still a long way. But, what is most confusing now to the users, what I said before, also, those two editors and two different phase. We now have again templates that you can edit.
And they’re a bit confused. Like, okay, I go on out to edit the template and I saved it and now it’s applied to all my pages and now you need to explain it that they need to refresh it and pull it back. And it’s a bit confusing. So we don’t have one editor where you can do all the things. For example, you come to one editor and click, for example, to choose a layout and this layout is there and you can edit it and that’s it. Yeah, it’s a bit struggle for now.
[00:38:25] Nathan Wrigley: I do wonder if that struggle, and I’m going to see what Kelly makes on this, I do wonder if that’s going to be for a little while into the future, if that’s going to be a limitation in terms of adoption, is the fact that there are difficulties. There’s a lot of learning which needs to take place to wean you off those tools and, whilst the WordPress Core way of doing blocks and patterns and so on is free, widely available, done in the open, open source and all of that kind of stuff. I wonder if the adoption is going to be stifled because of the constraints that Ana just mentioned. What do you think about that?
[00:39:04] Ana Segota: I think it depends also on us, on themers a lot. How we will implement this and make it easier for the users. And we also need to educate now the users, how they can use it and make it as easier as possible. And sometimes there’s not that easy because you need to follow updates and to do the updates all the time and to educate people about it.
But I think it’s a good step in the right direction. And I think with the time and with the education people will adopted it yeah. Just by creating a pages using just block pattern it’s a really a big step. And it’s a great thing. You can really create most everything with block patterns without using templates for example.
[00:39:54] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I think people just need time, the inspiration to get into it…
[00:39:59] Ana Segota: It’s a new, it’s a new thing and you always need time to learn something new.
[00:40:03] Nathan Wrigley: That’s right. We actually interviewed Courtney Robertson from the Learn initiative last week. And there’s an awful lot of content. And I think that’s maybe a piece that was missing in the past, the ability to go and find video tutorials, which answer the exact question that you’re looking for.
Kelly, can I put that one to you? Is it basically the same question? You said that you hadn’t got a great deal of experience with page builders and so on, but I’m just wondering if you had any intuitions around there, whether or not the UI and the UX is, is everything that you guys had hoped it would be, or do you feel that there’s still quite a lot of work going through WordPress six and seven and maybe even, eight.
[00:40:39] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: Yeah, I haven’t used page filters. I am definitely a pretty vanilla WordPress user. But I have been, you know, working with the site editor and I can see that it is a little confusing still. I do think that it needs to be iterated on, but I think that the future is going to be good.
I think the plans are there and it’s constantly getting better. So I’m very positive about it. Yeah.
[00:41:02] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you. Okay, just to wrap up, if people have listened to this podcast today and they would like to get in touch with you and make contact and use your expertise. What’s the best way of getting in touch with you? It could be a Twitter handle could be an email address, or it could be nothing. You might wish to share nothing at all, but I’ll start with Ana. What’s the best way to get in touch with you, Ana?
[00:41:24] Ana Segota: Twitter, or Slack or email. It’s all good. Maybe you can add a later?
[00:41:31] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, I will definitely add your Twitter and Slack into the show notes. And same question to you, Kelly. What’s the best way to get in touch with you?
[00:41:40] Kelly Choyce-Dwan: You can find me on Twitter, Ryelle, R Y E L L E or on wordpress.org Slack. I can also chat there.
[00:41:49] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, Ana and Kelly, thank you so much for talking to me on the podcast today, and I appreciate you giving me an hour of your time. Thank you very much, indeed.