“I have so many design ideas in my head that I am about to make it my mission to singlehandedly fulfill [Matt Mullenweg’s] vision of 5,000 Full Site Editing #WordPress themes in the directory,”.
Brian Gardner tweeted earlier today. “I am about to make it my mission to singlehandedly fulfill [Matt Mullenweg’s] vision of 5,000 Full Site Editing #WordPress themes in the directory.”
Daniel Schutzsmith responded:
As long as I have the ability to change the way it appears, I just don’t see the need in having more than one theme for the Full Site Editing.
I would greatly appreciate it if someone could explain why a single theme such as @frostwp CANNOT simply be the standard.
Adding new themes gives the impression that the Full Site Editing concept is being completely undermined.
It is not the first time that someone has questioned whether or not it is necessary to have more than one block theme. In the year 2019, Rich Tabor suggested introducing a foundation theme to WordPress itself, one upon which further themes would be constructed if they were produced at all.
Even that wasn’t the first time someone has pondered similar utopias centered on a single topic during the entirety of the platform’s existence. There are a lot of framework-style parent themes that have all fled the scene.
Let us suppose for the sake of argument that WordPress has progressed to the point where none of its themes require individualized PHP and CSS code anymore. We are in no way close to reaching that position at this time, but we are able to conceive of a day in the not too distant future when such a thing might be feasible. In this perfect scenario, the templating, styling, features that are supported by the theme, and plugin integration are all neatly wrapped into something that can be configured from the administrative panel. In practical application, users could control any component of the front-end of their site using the interface.
The difficulty is that those adaptations still need to be made by someone, and not everyone possesses a natural talent for design. The capabilities of one individual do not necessarily transfer over to all of the other users.
It’s possible that this is not the most important element, but not everyone wants to modify the style of their website. Some people just want to find something that complements their personal taste and move on with their lives.
There are other paths that can be taken to reach the same place; but, at this time, themes are the only reliable mode of transportation.
The following is a tweet that Schutzsmith sent in response to Jamie Marsland’s analogy, in which he compared the concept to asking Picasso for the canvas rather than the final painting:
The use of themes and continually changing everything else is an outdated way of thinking. It’s possible that a theme may be painting, but what I want to know is why we can’t just change the theme. json and achieve the same desired outcome? When all that has to be changed is the theme, what is the point of having themes at all? json.
That is the kind of future that I would not object to working toward. It is not impossible to overcome, but it is certainly going to be a challenge for WordPress to take on the mountain it must climb. Switching between theme.json files will not operate properly if there is not already a standardized CSS toolkit in place. If WordPress can find a solution to that issue, it will bring us that much closer.
However, theme.json just contains information about settings and styles. It provides no information whatsoever regarding the organization of a website. There is still a requirement for pre-configured template files. At the moment, complete responsibility for that task rests entirely upon the shoulders of the author of the theme.
The template debate will become less important if and when WordPress is updated to include a user interface that has been thoughtfully developed for full-page patterns (see related ticket). It’s possible that some users won’t need themes to manage this after all, now that there’s such a mechanism in place and a sufficient amount of diversity in the pattern directory.
The only valid point I can make in favor of numerous, or even a thousand different, themes is the promise that they make to the end user, which is as follows: “install this thing, and you will receive that outcome.”
Take, for instance, the proprietor of a pizza shop who decides to use WordPress for their website and then starts looking for a template to use for their online presence. Someone who spends all day working in a hot kitchen and then comes home fatigued at night is probably the person speaking. On the other hand, they quickly update the information about tomorrow’s deals on the computer or experiment for a few moments with a new format for the homepage. It is important that every aspect of that experience be tailored to their particular use case. They need to get things done as quickly as possible so that they may spend the remainder of the night with their family, which includes the roles of owner, chef, spouse, and parent.
Because of this and thousands of other situations that are very similar to it, themes are just as significant now as they have ever been. There are some people who do not have the luxury of time, the necessary abilities, or the desire to put their websites together piece by piece.
Block themes can provide a controlled environment that is devoid of any unnecessary elements when they are executed correctly. They have the feel of being constructed for a single viewer, but are adaptable enough to be made available to the general public.
Later on, Schutzsmith tweeted within the conversation that he enjoyed working with Elementor’s Kits. These are predesigned website layouts that are applicable to a variety of business sectors.
Pattern category categories, which are not currently available in WordPress, have the potential to develop into that function in the future. The Block Pattern Explorer plugin is required for the feature to be usable, and themes need to incorporate support for the kinds before they can be displayed.
In the screenshot that follows, I have made a “Profile Cards” type in a theme that is mine, but it may be tailored to a certain industry as well:
It ought to be as simple as obtaining a type that is appropriate to the sector and finding patterns for the proprietor of the pizza shop. This can be provided by a theme in one of two ways: either by packaging existing patterns or by providing access to those already stored in the directory.
I could see this developing into something more along the lines of a kit as a solution.
Although I disagree with Schutzsmith’s conclusion that there should be just one overarching theme, I agree with the questions he is trying to answer. Our community of designers can’t just suggest that themes should be “this one thing” because that’s how they’ve always been. The question, “What exactly is a WordPress theme?” needs to be asked over and over again by its members.
It’s possible that the response will vary depending on which developers and users you ask. If a user is able to obtain what they require from the pattern directory without having to switch from Twenty Twenty-Two, then perhaps themes are not necessary. If a developer just enjoys generating global style variants (theme.json files), WordPress need to make it simple for them to be used on a diverse selection of websites.
Although this is the case, many customers will still require prepackaged design solutions, and themes may be the most effective method to support this desire. I have no idea whether that is one hundred, one thousand, or five thousand, but we will see how things play out.
So that’s our opinion about the full site editing phenomena that have been bugging everybody’s mind and about the theme plugins that we all love. For more content explore FreePlugins.