18 Comments

  1. Bill
    · Reply

    How will FSE impact using WordPress for organization/company websites. In that context, themes are meant to be locked down to ensure there is a consistent design. And moving theme development from code to the UI is not good if you have a workflow dependent on using version control for your theme.

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    • Steve Grant
      · Reply

      This is exactly my concern with both Gutenberg and FSE.
      There is NO WAY I want my client’s junior staff dragging a Query block onto the home page so they can accidentally show “latest news” 3 times.

      I do not want clients dragging theme elements around and they don’t want that either. They want simple editing. They want to update their “about us” and edit their product details, and their text and images, but that’s it.

      My clients do ask for better editing of course, such as : “how do I add a table and set the padding” or “how do I turn off the big image which is at the top of some pages”. But any time I have a client’s employee who decides to start “improving” the company site it’s a disaster. Most clients never want to edit their templates !!

      The assigned staff who are tasked with updating the content of client sites sites are usually the most junior and inexperienced. If there’s a firm of architects then web updating falls to the intern or graduate who can’t be trusted to make a decent cup of coffee yet.

      My job as their WP web developer is to make the editing experience foolproof.
      My job as web support is very often un-FUBAR-ing the mess they make when editing the site. If some exhuberant employee has installed a weird banner plugin, or pasted a bunch of Wysiwyg HTML into the page.

      I want a locked down editor for clients, I need locked templates which don’t allow them to break the layout.

      It seems like all this full-site-editing development is all for amateur businesses who run their own Wix style sites. Basic blogs and 1-man-bands. Micro businesses.

      Where are the tools for devs like me who need to lock WP down in a myriad of ways to provide a robust CMS to clients?
      Where is the feature set for SME websites? I need to lock these templates in 50 ways so that “Daft” Jimmy can’t drag in queries on the home page and edit the main menu!

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      • Berel Greenwood
        · Reply

        It seems like all this full-site-editing development is all for amateur businesses who run their own Wix style sites.

        This is also my impression. Might be a nice idea for some personal website of some tech savy devs who like to change everything once in a while but not really thought through for real world company sites where some random person gets “assigned” to “update the website” and has no idea what a block is and never will have. They look for those fields for a title and a text and a publish button and nothing more…

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      • Mih
        · Reply

        Worth to check the demo about 5.8 for easier understanding of what is/will be possible.

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      • Stan
        · Reply

        This is so spot on and thank god im not the only one with that kind of mindset. I dont get the idea WP being a ‘builder’ because it causes even more problems. Ive been developing custom themes for 8 years or so and ive never had the need froms clients to edit the sites and add banners.
        Thanks Steve!

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    • Justin Tadlock
      · Reply

      If anything, you will eventually have more control over locking down design and layout elements than what is possible with traditional WordPress. You would be able to lock templates, enable or disable blocks and patterns based on permissions, and more. Much of this is possible now, and we can expect more advanced features in the future.

      Remember that “locking down” things like this outside of the basic role capabilities is not native to the classic editor either. Developers have to build such things on top of it, regardless of the editor.

      As for developing from code instead of a UI, I don’t see anything having to change in that regard for agencies and other developers.

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      • Marc
        · Reply

        Yeah. In the future.

        I am NOW working with clients on their site.
        I create NOW new sites for them.
        And NOW i do not want my clients change the full site design.

        The WP Updates are a running experiment with every update and new features. Opens more and more design features for the client – i and the client do not want.

        As a long WP developer – currently i am making some tutorials in laravel and sympfony – to get the controll back. my client only wants to change the content, not the design.

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        • Justin Tadlock
          · Reply

          There is nothing stopping you from doing that now. You do not have to give control over the design to your clients.

          I am happy to talk specifics and help out where I can if you run into an issue — I am a developer too. If there’s something I don’t know, I’ll try to find out or find someone who does know. Seriously, shoot me a message at justin@wptavern.com or on WP Slack @greenshady anytime.

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        • Bastian
          · Reply

          I am NOW working with clients on their site.
          I create NOW new sites for them.
          And NOW i do not want my clients change the full site design.

          I’m in the same position as you. So far, I’ve used the block editor for a couple of client sites and every now and then I receive an email asking me to fix a page layout because the client screwed it up while adding and deleting blocks. Thankfully, those are not very complex sites so it’s not difficult for me to fix them. For the rest of my sites, I still resort to the classic editor.

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      • Andreas Nurbo
        · Reply

        The block editor and FSE should really have permission handling built in from the get go before more is merged as part of core. Just because the TinyMCE editor was flawed before does not mean that the new editor should be even more flawed regarding permissions.

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  2. Fabricio
    · Reply

    WordPress improvements are not killing themes but page builders as Elementor or Visual Composer. If I would be part of the team of those companies I would be very concerned about my future.

    Sadly, because I’ve enjoyed of both for many years.

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  3. Ricardo
    · Reply

    Big changes coming. As a designer who works with other site builders, I’m looking forward to the shift.
    One thing I’m wondering is how will the Query block work in “a world of blocks”.
    Will it rely mainly on CPTs & Taxonomies – will these be the developer way -, not custom fields?

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  4. Felix Krusch
    · Reply

    In regard to the comments above and without any doubt a dev will have to define block usage by utilizing the user roles.

    The coming FSE features mentioned above are certainly interesting and I am looking forward to explore them fully.

    To be honest they sound much more interesting for a theme dev like me than anything else block-based yet (except for the widget areas, which we kind of got a preview of already). The reason might be that I am coming from a dinosaur world where you keep your content separated from your design — as much as you can at least. Fancy block patterns will work on landing pages, but probably not on ten year old blogs and magazines trying to keep their content future proof for the next 20+ years. Nobody wants to back edit years of content for a new screen-size, design fad, a simple theme change or whatever might come in the following years (kiss – keep it simple stupid!). Looking at past experiences, I just say short-codes and translation plugins!

    While this might at least partly explain the hesitance of theme developers jumping on the “block wagon” fully committed, I fully share Justin’s outlook that there has never been a better time to be excited about theme development than now.

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  5. Kevin James
    · Reply

    WordPress need to update gutenberg blocks and add few more options like table of content, pro & cons section and few others so that bloggers need not install 3rd party plugins

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  6. Spencer Jakob
    · Reply

    Hello all,
    all nice concepts in the pipeline, but again not thoroughly thought in times of responsive webdesign.
    For me it seems like there are things released that are in “early” or “proof of concept” state.
    As a theme developer, integrator or client i can adjust things like color, font size or line height etc. for the component or theme wide, but there is no settings for breakpoints or responsiveness. This will lead to inconsistent interfaces from different theme companies and block lib companies, further leading to inhomogeneous ecosystems.
    There seems to bee a lack of clear strategy/ definition/ target group for whom the new tools are (its just the, oh we need to take care of wix, squarespace and co.), there is no clear ux and implementation resulting.

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  7. GilCatt
    · Reply

    I agree 100%
    Why do people buy themes ? Because they look good.
    Gutenberg provides better design features, specific block design for a unique and coherent theme design. More freedom and power in the hands of the theme designer, in short.

    I am always puzzled by recurrent comments from web designers regarding the danger of customers messing with their websites. Here’s my take on this issue.

    Gutenberg answers the opposite needs of the DIY customer and web designers quite well.

    If you’re a DIY person, it’s more fun than ever. Total freedom with Gutenberg.

    If you’re creating a web site for a customer – in essence not a DIY person, keep that in mind -, no worry : you can lock blocks into place, can’t you ? There’s a solution for that : template_lock, built in core. Want to lock block-styling options as well ? The use of ACF blocks or any equivalent solution is a simple answer : data is decoupled from the design. Appropriate freedom for the customer.

    Yes, it is easy to turn a great looking theme/website into something nondescript. All you need is an access to the website’s backend and no knowledge of website design. The typical scenario is the small business owner hoping to save money going the DIY route, buying an option packed premium theme believing he will get the same result as the demo that seduced him. What ensues is usually a total design disaster. But all is fine : he did not want to invest in the first place.

    Still, some web designers seem to give admin rights to their customers. Why ?
    Worse : many use such best-selling DIY premium themes. These were not built for web designers. Others give access to their favourite page builder, with some quick instructions. Don’t complain if mayhem follows. Don’t be lazy.

    The same goes for standard Gutenberg blocks, conceived with a DIY approach in mind to compete with Wix and the likes. Such a crucial strategic choice required no barrier between data and design. For that reason, unless you love spending time on customer support, avoid them if you’re a web designer : they were not meant for you in the first place. (But they are awesome for theme designers, selling good looking DIY themes.)
    Again, do bear that in mind : DIY freedom for the customer is the enemy of any web designer.

    As is, you can create and lock block templates (populating a page, a post, with a set of predefined blocks, locked into place ), but you can’t lock block-styling options easily, not yet (as far as I know). No need to complain, Gutenberg has you covered : you are free to create as many blocks as you want, with full control. All the tools you need to do so are available. Some block building tools and block libraries already offer such options out of the box. They do come with a price, as they are built for professional web designers.

    With such tools, securing access to parts of a WordPress website, guaranteeing the integrity of its design, while enhancing its flexibility, has never been so easy.

    True, the era of spaghetti code is now gone, no more messing around using snippets of php, tons of plugins, shortcodes and stuff to tweak a template. WordPress embarked on a much needed journey, reinventing itself as a clean and reliable solution for the future, with higher and stricter standards as far as code is concerned. That leaves out many “intermediate level” web designers who relied on such cheats/tricks, unless they adapt. But is it bad ?

    In any case, I have never seen customers asking for admin rights and full control of their website. They are customers because they want to trust the expertise of an agency and not waste time. Appropriate user roles are enough, if they need any – making regular content updates on specific pages, being able to blog, are legitimate needs, accessing everything is not. And again, in such cases, lock what is supposed to be locked.
    And yes it is easier and faster to set up and fine-tune with Gutenberg.

    Bear in mind that most of the time customers don’t want to handle content updates themselves, and don’t even want to run a blog. Just don’t ever sell them how easy it is to do so with WordPress, snapping your fingers, because it is not, unless you love to provide endless customer support on trivial stuff. Spare some precious time, yours and theirs, and provide updates/upgrades for a fee. That works with content too. Lock everything that should be. And make more money in the process. Reward yourself. Your customers will love you.

    In short the issue is often a business model issue : a misconception of the customer’s needs coupled with a loose sales strategy (or none at all), on top of a lazy choice of tools. For a web designer, selling the DIY mantra to customers is a very bad idea. Giving in to a full access prerequisite is also a no-go. If a would-be customer requires it, just don’t take that job, leave hell to others.

    Even if you did – giving the customer full access to the website – and a nasty mistake happened, a one-click backup restore would save the day, would it not?
    Undesirable behaviours are best avoided through a proper locking strategy, though. Educating the customer is key. So is adopting a proper approach to building a website for a customer : use the right tools.

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