It’s been roughly one year since WP Engine acquired StudioPress, the makers of the Genesis Framework. There’s been a lot of forward progress, but it may have left some people feeling unsure about how to work with Genesis or best take advantage of new features.
I’ve always loved the Genesis framework, and I still use it on client sites. While reading this post by Carrie, I began to think that those of us in the Indieweb community may quickly need to embrace blocks.
Yes, I know, that’s basically heresy, but I’m thinking this may need to happen sooner rather than later since Gutenberg development is pretty rapid, the accessibility issues are being fixed pretty quickly, and the end of 2021 will get here before we know it. Post kinds as blocks, for example, would probably be a lot easier to share across themes, as opposed to now, when themes either have to be forked and customized or created from scratch to explicitly support microformats 2.
Granted, you can have indieweb without post kinds, but post kinds is what enables people to truly own all of their content. And right now, there are only a few people doing the heavy lifting with regard to themes. That’s an untennable situation for a ton of reasons.
In order for this to change, it’s going to have to become easier for other designers and developers, (let alone users), to implement this stuff, and there are two ways that can happen. The first is WordPress as a project adopts all the indieweb building blocks. This would be the best solution, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. The second way is us adopting blocks on the model of something like the Automic Blocks plugin or similar, at least for the post kinds/microformats 2 part.
I suppose there’s a third way, where WordPress adopts things like webmention and the other open standards, and blocks for post kinds is the compromise.
These are all just thoughts, but the Genesis framework has somewhere around 250,000 users, it’s backed by its owning hosting company, and it really does provide an easy way for users to build sites, with some accessibility included. And I think expecting users to do the heavy lifting for themes just isn’t sellable.
There’s a lot of promise contained in Gutenberg and the whole blocks concept, including the up-ending of what is the current raging dumpster fire which is the WordPress theme ecosystem, (with some notable exceptions for some themes). I’m thinking we should go with the flow as best we can.