The WordPress Themes Team Releases a New Plugin for Building Block Themes – WP Tavern

photo credit: Artsy Crafty

Two weeks ago WordPress theme author Rich Tabor tweeted“Even with my theme developer hat on, I find it getting easier and easier to create ~block themes in ~WordPress. I’m sure one day (soon) this will be the norm.

It looks like that day has come sooner than expected, as Automattic has had a team working on this ability for some time. Today, a group of eight full-time contributors from the Sponsored Themes team released a plugin called Create Block Theme that can create standalone block themes and child themes in the WordPress admin.

The idea is that users can design their own themes using full site editing features and then export their final creation as a theme that can be installed on any other WordPress site. Ben Dwyer shared a video called Designing a Theme in the WordPress Editor where designer Beatriz Fialho demonstrated the possibilities. She created a unique new theme using full site editing features in just a few hours.

The plugin offers a variety of exports for different use cases. Users can export their work in the following ways:

  • Export active theme with user changes included
  • Export child theme with active theme as parent theme
  • Export a clone of a new theme based on the active theme with user changes
  • Override theme files to include user changes as part of the theme
  • Export a blank theme to the site’s theme directory

All these export options are available under Appearance >> Create block theme.

“This plugin is for theme creators – both designers and developers,” Dwyer said in the announcement. “It’s useful for sharing your designs between multiple sites or users. If you’re just creating a site for yourself, you probably don’t need it.

I tested the plugin with the child theme option and it worked as expected. I was able to install it on another site with its unique name and template changes applied instantly. The export screen allows users to give the theme a name, description, and author information, which is saved in the new theme’s style.css file.

“Right now, this plugin’s UI is totally separate from Gutenberg,” Dwyer said. “Over time, we expect more integration with the site editor’s user interface to make these features easier to access.

It would be helpful if the theme creation options allowed users to upload a unique screenshot which would come with the theme download. I added this as an issue on the plugin’s GitHub repository, where everyone is welcome to contribute.

The Create Block Theme plugin makes designing and creating a WordPress theme more accessible than ever. It has the potential to quickly increase the number of block themes available, if designers understand how to use it and submit their work to the Theme Directory. The training team is currently working on a course for Learn WordPress that will teach people how to create block themes using this plugin.

Create Block Theme was released under the WordPress.org plugins account and can be installed by searching for the plugin name in quotes.

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