WP Café to Host Live Discussion on Gutenberg Theme Development

Highrise Digital is set to host the first of a new video series under the banner of WP Café. The first episode will begin at 11 am BST (10 am UTC) on June 11, which will be a discussion on building WordPress themes in the new era of the block editor.

Highrise Digital is a UK-based agency that focuses on building WordPress sites for post-small, pre-enterprises businesses. The goal for the new video series is to hold live discussions with other professionals on the “challenges, solutions, and ideas” of developing on top of WordPress. Mark Wilkinson, the company’s co-founder, will be hosting the inaugural event.

The first episode is titled “Developing Themes With Gutenberg (IRL).” The following developers will be joining Wilkinson on the panel:

  • Ben Gillbanks: Co-owner of Pro Theme Design and co-writer of the MasterWP newsletter.
  • Diane Wallace: Freelance web developer recently hired by BrightTALK for Gutenberg-related work.
  • Michael Bragg: Senior Developer and Studio Manager at EDGE Creative.
  • Keith Devon: Co-founder and front-end developer at Highrise Digital.

To stay updated with the first event and those to come later, subscribe to the company’s YouTube channel. You can watch the first show when it airs via the following video:

On June 1, Devon put out a call for questions the panel should discuss. A single request came from Ross Wintle. “I feel like Gutenberg is a moving target,” he tweeted. “If I develop a theme today, it could look very different from a theme I develop next year. So if I’m developing a custom theme today, which bits of Gutenberg are ‘safe’ to use?”

The volatile nature of developing themes against the block editor is a frustration that many theme authors have shared. We have discussed it when covering where Gutenberg went wrong for theme authors. It is an issue that Carolina Nymark is facing while building her full-site editing course. It is unlikely the panel can provide a perfect answer to the question. However, given their experience, they may be able to offer some insight into how they are handling theme development in a rapidly changing environment.

Along with the proposed guest question, the WP Café webpage officially lists the following topics of discussion:

  • What are the biggest challenges when building themes with Gutenberg?
  • What opportunities does Gutenberg offer to theme developers?
  • How much should we customize the back-end?
  • Are you building custom blocks? How?
  • How are your clients getting on with the block editor?

Ideally, the answers to those questions should focus on two time periods: today and six months down the road. My hope is the panel can provide some answers to other theme authors on how to hop on the Gutenberg train now and help push them to stay on track in the next six months or year.

If nothing else, these are the types of discussions the theme author community needs to be holding. It is nice to see experienced developers diving into them.

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