Full Site Editing in WordPress: Where It Is and Where It’s Going

ALT: WordPress’s full site editing

If you keep up with the latest WordPress news, you’ve probably heard of full site editing.

Full site editing (FSE) will change the way users design and develop WordPress websites by using Gutenberg blocks not just to post content, but to edit the whole website.

This feature is aligned with WordPress’s mission to create software that everyone can use. Full site editing will enable users to build a website without the need to code.

In this article, we’ll be looking into:

What Full Site Editing Is

How To Set Up Full Site Editing in WordPress

2021 Gutenberg Updates

Final Thoughts: WordPress Updates — Full Site Editing (June 2021)

What Full Site Editing Is

Project Gutenberg introduced a block editor for creating posts in WordPress in 2018. It was released as a part of WordPress 5.0.

Since then, WordPress has completed the first phase of the project by simplifying the way posts are edited.

For 2021, the company has the second of Project Gutenberg’s four phases on its to-do list. The second phase includes the development of block directories, block patterns, block themes, and full site editing.

Full site editing aims to provide a single interface where you can use blocks to edit both global and post elements, enabling you to build complete websites using Gutenberg blocks. For that, WordPress is targeting global elements — headers, footers, sidebars, and menus — and creating the appropriate blocks for each.

How To Set Up Full Site Editing in WordPress

As of writing, full site editing hasn’t been integrated with the WordPress core. It is only available as a beta feature on the Gutenberg plugin.

As full site editing is still in the beta phase, WordPress recommends using a staging environment to test it out. There are limited themes available to try FSE. We recommend Q, the first WordPress theme to support the full site editor.

After installing and activating both the Q theme and the Gutenberg plugin, install WordPress Theme Experiments to unlock the full site editor ahead of its official release.

With all three in place, you can start playing around with the full site editing features.

2021 Gutenberg Updates

After WordPress 5.7’s release in March 2021, WordPress aimed to have the minimum viable product of its full site editor completed by April 2021. That has been accomplished with the addition of the full site editor to the Gutenberg plugin. 

For the next step, the full site editor will officially appear in WordPress 5.8, which you will see in July 2021, according to WordPress’s roadmap.

Full site editing will make its first appearance via the template editor function. The template editor will enable users to create custom page templates without directly editing the theme.

Full site editing will also introduce Query blocks, which support the creation of dropdowns and toggle switches in the site editor, letting users customize their websites as they wish.

As of June 2021, developers have shared WordPress 5.8’s second beta version for testing. It includes minor updates, mainly bug fixes from WordPress 5.8’s first beta test.

The first beta test included features introduced by Gutenberg 10.7:

  • Powerful blocks for Page Lists, Site Titles, Logos, and Taglines.
  • Duotone block that adds effects to images and works as a media block. Its color presets can be customized by the theme.
  • Reusable blocks that improve creation flow and support revisions.
  • List view, a panel that helps navigate complex blocks and patterns.
  • Patterns and pattern transformations during block setup that speed up workflow. Patterns are the primary building block of the editor. WordPress is looking to compile these on a Pattern Directory, so anyone can browse and insert patterns they like.

After the WordPress 5.8 release in July, developers will work on WordPress 5.9, which is set for a December 2021 release. WordPress 5.9 will include the remaining features of Phase Two of Project Gutenberg that were excluded from the WordPress 5.8 release.

Final Thoughts: WordPress Updates — Full Site Editing (June 2021)

The latest updates support WordPress’s transition to full site editing. WordPress is building on small improvements that support its bigger vision over time.

Explore this feature yourself and help WordPress remove bugs by testing it. To do so, activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (using the Bleeding Edge channel and Beta/RC Only stream) or download the latest beta version directly.

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Machielle Thomas
Machielle Thomas | Content Manager
Machielle Thomas writes and curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.

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