Full site editing is coming to WordPress…eventually. StudioPress recently announced an open beta for Genesis Block Theme, which is an early rendition of what will eventually become a full site editing theme. That’s sparked some conversation and questions that inspired this post.
First, some context:
- WordPress 5.7 is tentatively scheduled to land in March 2021 and will include the foundations for full site editing.
- There are theme experiments in progress for full site editing.
- Genesis Block Theme BETA exists for users to test and provide feedback that will inform the eventual development and release of a full site editing theme.
- The “Genesis” brand includes multiple products, one of which is the Genesis Framework.
- Genesis Framework (? affiliate link!) is a massively popular theme framework that’s been around for eons. It supports block-based themes but not full site editing because full site editing isn’t even a part of core WordPress yet.
All good? Good.
So the question I’ve gotten a few times that I want to address in this post is the same as the post title… Is there a place for the Genesis Framework in a full site editing world?
tl;dr The answer is yes and the rest of this post will tell you why.
Full site editing isn’t even in WordPress yet
Not to be Captain Obvious, but it will be months before FSE is available in WordPress. And even when it lands in WordPress, your favorite themes and plugins (Genesis Framework included) will not suddenly become obsolete.
Genesis Framework is relevant now, it’ll still be relevant when FSE comes to Core, and it will continue to be relevant for at least a few years to come (in my humble opinion).
Even when FSE exists in WordPress, adoption will take time
Remember when the block editor was rolled into Core for the WordPress 5.0 release? Remember the 2000+ “dumpster fire” reviews for Gutenberg? Many (myself included) felt like the block editor was introduced to core prematurely.
While the block editor has dramatically improved in the two years since its introduction, there are still 5+ million active installs of the Classic Editor plugin. That’s a huge number of site owners who are still not ready to embrace the block editor.
When FSE is added to core, it’ll still be early days for the world of full site editing. Just like Gutenberg, it will take years to reach feature maturity and I predict wide-spread adoption won’t happen for at least 2-3 years.
That means there’s a wide window of time you still have to enjoy whatever your favorite development tools are, Genesis Framework included.
The Genesis family of products is actively embracing and planning for FSE
If you browse through post titles on the StudioPress blog over the past couple of years, you’ll see a ton of activity around the block editor. A quick highlight reel:
- StudioPress rolled six Gutenberg-Optimized themes out the door right after Gutenberg came to Core.
- The Genesis Shapers group was formed to “be a representative voice in the strategic direction of the Genesis roadmap.”
- WP Engine (who owns StudioPress) acquired Atomic Blocks and the talent from Block Lab, two block-centric plugins that have since been rebranded.
- New StudioPress themes sport block-based homepages.
- The experimental GenX plugin was released as an early step toward porting key features of Genesis Framework into a plugin for use with full site editing themes.
- WP Engine freely released Genesis Blocks and Genesis Custom Blocks to the .org repository.
- StudioPress announced the aforementioned Genesis Block Theme.
I won’t belabor the point, but from the activity around Genesis, blocks, and full site editing (as well as my personal involvement in Genesis Shapers), there’s every indication that WP Engine is “all in on Genesis.”
The Genesis Framework supports block-based themes right now
Genesis Framework already supports block-based themes and has updated some of StudioPress’s more popular themes to include block-based layouts.
When I say block-based themes, I do not mean full site editing themes (again, these are only recently emerging and most are experimental). Block-based themes are themes that take advantage of the block editor.
Will the Genesis Framework support full site editing themes? Here’s what David Vogelpohl, VP of Growth at WP Engine has to say:
First of all, Genesis Framework does support block-based themes today (Genesis Sample, Navigation Pro, etc.).
The distinction is that Genesis Framework themes are not “Full Site Editing” themes. Of course that’s true for pretty much every theme in all of WP since FSE isn’t even live in WP Core yet.
Genesis Block Theme beta is for testing purposes only. The final version will be a full site editing theme.
Since full site editing themes will be fundamentally different than the themes we build today, our path to powering Genesis FSE themes will be through the free version of Genesis Blocks. Again, this is ONLY for the FSE context / FSE themes.
If you build non-FSE themes after FSE is launched (which many people will do for years), then Genesis Framework would continue to be an excellent choice.David Vogelpohl, VP of Growth at WP Engine
The WordPress (and Genesis) ethos is to not leave users behind
WordPress has always prided itself on backward compatibility, perhaps even to a fault. But the idea is to not alienate users or “leave them behind” when new versions of the software are introduced.
There’s a similar ethos in Genesis land. While the Genesis development team is leaning hard into the future of WordPress with blocks, there’s a concerted effort to:
- help users and developers move forward into modern WordPress
- not leave the rest of the community in the dust
In evidence, the Genesis Framework is still under active development and has made significant leaps to help bridge the gap between sites using the Classic Editor and newer sites that embrace the block editor.
Admittedly, moving forward while bringing everyone along is a huge challenge, but everything I’ve witnessed from my little perch indicates that inclusivity is the goal.
But Carrie, you’re clearly biased
This is true. My sort of “claim to fame” is all-things Genesis, so of course I’m biased. But I enjoy developing with the Genesis Framework because it’s a solid product. Also, I’ve always made a point to only recommend products that I use and love. (see what I did there?)
So, when I say that the Genesis Framework is still a viable tool, even as we inch closer to full site editing, I say it because I think it’s true. I don’t plan to stop using it any time soon.