November update

Carolina    Updated

Twenty Twenty-One

My days have been fully dedicated to the next default theme Twenty Twenty-One. Managing issues and pull requests, testing, solving problems and participating in discussions and meetings.

Beta 3 of the WordPress 5.6 release cycle is tomorrow, and focus will be on bringing back the dark mode functionality to Twenty Twenty-One so that we have time to test it and receive feedback.

If you would like to see the dark mode feature in the theme, please leave a comment on this post:

If you have a moment to test the dark mode and give us feedback, positive or negative, that would be immensely helpful!

Twenty Twenty-One Blocks

The development of the full site editing version of Twenty Twenty-One has started.

Justin Tadlock wrote an article about the theme on WP Tavern, and for that article, I had a confession to make. I have not even had the time to test run the theme.

I have promised myself to do it as soon as I finish posting this update.

I am still very excited about full site editing, but between working on Twenty Twenty-One and having a few sick days, there has not been enough hours.

I have been open with that I have not been able to create new course material in the extent and with the speed that I had planned.

I am still dedicated to trying to ease the transition to full site editing. And to highlight the importance of theme authors becoming involved in the development.

We are now in November, and there are still so many unanswered questions. But I am hoping that is because I do not have the full context right now. And I am hoping that all the different pieces will fall in place when put together. If I can help improve the documentation for full site editing and try to encourage a more open communication about the future of themes, I will continue to try to do that.

For the course site, the plan right now is not to charge for the course material starting in January 2021. There is not enough content to validate charging for it.

I have also had problems with using LearnDash for the course format, because of the many accessibility issues. After the release of WordPress 5.6, I am going to need to reconsider the format for the content of the website.

All the feels

In March 2020, when it was announced that WordPress 5.6 would have an all women release squad, I knew I wanted to volunteer for it. I was not sure at what capacity, but I knew it would be a great opportunity to learn.

At the end of April, Covid-19 turned life around for me as for many others and I did not have a safe work environment to return to.
While I was taking steps to create a new career, trying to learn how to become a remote WordPress freelancer, -having a small earning some months, and no income other months, I was asked if I wanted to be the development lead for the default theme that was going to be included in 5.6.

I said yes, with the reservation that I was unemployed and knowing that I would not be able to turn down payed jobs at the same time was a concern for me.

Being part of the release squad and working on the default theme is a great honor for me.

I love creating themes, and I love and appreciate being a part of the WordPress community and the themes team.

And I believe that the time and effort I spend on the release is also an investment in myself. That it is a learning experience that will help me grow and help me with future career decisions.

As WordPress 5.5 was close to being released, I was fully set on working on the default theme full time for the period that was needed, because the truth is, it had not been easy for me to find theme related gigs.

I am not great at expressing this.
Almost four weeks ago, Francesca Marano who works at Yoast whispered me on the WordPress slack. About an hour and a half later, I had a sponsorship to work on WordPress core and the default theme for the rest of the year.

And it’s a big deal. If I wanted to swear here I would say it’s a big fucking deal.

I am grateful and humbled. It helps me tremendously to know that I don’t have to worry about finances for these month. I don’t have to worry about making time for other short term projects, instead I am able to focus on the theme.

But even more so that people believe in me and what I am capable of, -that my contributions have been worth it and are encouraged.

You might think that in the long run, 3 months doesn’t matter.

It matters.

I am grateful and a bit overwhelmed of being able to be part of a team at Yoast for this time. After going from working at a government agency with thousands of employees, to not having any colleges at all; being part of a team again feels good.
It is making me reconsider what my options are, whether I want to be a lone freelancer or what I will do next.

I am also learning and finding new insights about what Yoast does for the WordPress eco system and beyond that. I have been impressed to see the reach and impact of their work and I am thankful for it.

It also makes me feel naive, and again, humble, because I know that I have so much to learn.

Twenty Twenty-One…

When the default theme squad was put together we were six women, both designers and developers. As people dropped off and while waiting for the theme design to be completed, it became more difficult for me to picture how we would be able to create two themes: One standard PHP theme, and a full site editing version.

I had made a promise mostly to myself, that I was not going to let the theme be delayed this year. That I would not let this theme be as stressful as Twenty Twenty. That we would start development as early as possible, and that I would make sure that we had all the time we needed… And it did not quite turn out that way.

Instead, there were delay after delay and I found it difficult to not have a dedicated person to discuss the technical development details with. -Which is something very different to having the support of co-lead Mel Choyce-Dwan as design lead to discuss the design aspect with. It made me insecure of my role and how to kickstart the actual development.

I found it stressful and difficult that together we were not able to create and stick to a plan for what features the theme would have. We had been asked to base Twenty Twenty-One on a theme from Automattic called Seedlet, and features kept being removed and added back.

-It was not possible for me to estimate how much time that would be needed for developing features and implement and update design elements. Without a plan I did not know what skills that would be needed in order to create specific theme features, or who would be the best developer to reach out to for help with these features.

I don’t want to say that without the help from Yoast, there would not be a theme; because there absolutely would have been a new default theme. It wouldn’t have been a theme of this quality, or at this stage of completion.

I will say that without the help from Francesca and the WordPress team at Yoast I would have continued to push myself harder and continued to put in more hours not only working on, but thinking of and worrying about the theme than what is healthy. I would not have understood or recognized that I needed the extra help, or known where to ask for it. I would not have been in a good place and I would not have been able to be proud of the theme we have now created.

And as much as I love creating, and as awesome as working on the default theme is, there are more important things outside WordPress. Being reminded of that helps too.

Without the help and efforts from Aristath, (also at Yoast), the theme would have been a different and most definitely a subpar theme.

And I want to thank two more people who have stepped up to help the WordPress 5.6 theme squad. I am thankful for having Kjellr on the team, and for all the extra help from Ryelle. Without their skills and their in-depth knowledge of Gutenberg and theme development there would have been many more moments where we; the contributors and not least myself, had gotten stuck on technical solutions.

Together we have a few final steps to complete.

-Please let there be no more bugs… 😉

Changes to global styles in Gutenberg 9.1

Carolina    Updated

In Gutenberg version 9.1, the structure of the experimental-theme.json file is being changed.

Jump straight to the details on Github

The JSON is still separated in two scopes (contexts), global and block type.

What was previously two different objects, presets and features, are now bundled together inside settings. Styles remain unchanged.

In your existing JSON file, create a new object called settings and place the contents of the presets and features objects inside of it. These are now nested at the same level in the hierarchy.

Example structure of a experimental-theme.json file before the change:

{ "global": { "presets": { .... }, "features": { .... }, "styles": { "typography": { ... }, "color": { ... } } }, "core/site-title": { "styles": { "typography": { ... } } } }


{ "global": { "settings": { .... }, "styles": { "typography": { ... }, "color": { ... } } }, "core/site-title": { "settings": { .... }, "styles": { "typography": { ... } } } }

I am going to update the code examples and lessons but because Gutenberg is on such a short release schedule, I can not guarantee that everything will be updated in time for 9.1, since I am also working on the new default theme.

VS Code autocomplete for block grammar

Carolina    Updated

I have created an auto complete snippet for VS Code that outputs the block grammar/markup for 52 blocks.

VS Code users can enable the snippet, and simply type group to add the markup for a group block. Start typing para… for the option to add the paragraph block, and so on.

The snippets work in PHP and HTML files. -If you want to use them in on the files, you can edit the file to remove the scope.

You can download the snippet from the course Github repository:

July 2 update and a hiccup

Carolina    Updated

Beta 1 panic mode?

We are getting closer to WordPress 5.5 Beta 1 that will include Gutenberg versions 7.6 – 8.5.

Right now, work is being done to decide which of the block patterns that will be added to WordPress core:

It looks like the testimonial, features and services and the numbered features blocks will be removed, and the pattern categories are being updated.

I am still hoping that the accessibility of the inserter can be improved. There is hopefully time to fix regressions, but new features would need to be merged soon.

Updates to the official documentation

Yesterday, we had a block based theme meeting focused on documentation.
I was happy to learn that the documentation for the global styles has been updated, and it now includes a list of settings that are available. This list was previously only available on Github.

You can find this documentation here:

Kjellr has volunteered to update the block based theme documentation, and this will be very helpful.

The meeting notes have not been published yet.

Website updates

On the course website, I am investigating an issue with the email notification signup form, that I think is related to recaptcha.

I have added a FAQ page and will be adding questions and answers to it starting today. If you have questions, please send them in.

Starting today, I am going to go through all the lessons to see what needs to be refreshed. I will probably not have the time to do the actual update of course videos today, but I will have an overview that will make the updates easier.

-I have received some questions about how to navigate the lesson pages and I will be adding an update about how to use the course.

LearnDash -Problems with 3.2.0

LearnDash has been updated to 3.2.0 -This brought unexpected bugs to their blocks and short codes, hopefully they will be resolved in 3.2.1. The LearnDash support team has been very helpful and confirmed the problem, but has not been able to give an ETA on when we can expect an update.

June 24 Update

Carolina    Updated

This past week I have not found the time to blog to keep you up to date about the course progress.

There are both positive reasons: -I currently have two client projects to complete -these are the first payed projects I have had in months so I am very happy and relieved about that.

-I’ve also had a flare of joint pain and tiredness which means I have not been able to work my normal hours or at my normal speed. This is a little frustrating, especially since they always seem to show up when you are the busiest 😉 but I know its a flare that will pass.

The lesson about global styles is almost complete, and I have seen that some updates are also being made for the experimental themes repository, and I hope there will be more examples of themes that uses global styles soon.

On Friday the 26th at 18:00 UTC, I will join Birgit, Eileen and Kjell on a live Q&A about block based themes and full site editing. This is exciting and I’m a little nervous! You are welcome to join and ask any questions you might have!

Gutenberg times has also been amazingly kind to support the course by sponsoring!

June 13 update

Carolina    Updated

I am working hard to put more content for you on the site. Here is what I have been working on the last 3 days:

Moving course material and examples to Github, and doing bug fixes for the block reference and the site in general.

A lot of testing of Global styles: The concept is there, but it’s not working as I expected, or the part that I am testing is not implemented yet. Going to do some further testing and reading the source code.

Gutenberg version 8.3 fixed the issue with the default templates in the Site Editor, but when I sat down to re-record vital parts, I found one more major problematic bug, so the site editor lessons are still on hold for now.

I have been working on a pull request for adding descriptions to register_block_pattern, but the full site editing taxonomy block is currently on hold because I need help with parts of the code.

June 10 update

Carolina    Updated

First I want to thank Justin and WordPress Tavern for this article and for asking great questions!

Today I have been testing RC-1 of Gutenberg 8.3. I am hoping that I can finally publish the first lesson about the site editor. –But to be honest, there isn’t a great deal to show you yet because it is in the early stages.
It is more about a shift in how we work with templates, than it is about the technical solutions, because the site editor works very similar to the current editor.

I have received the final approval from Github to be able to use Github Sponsors, so that’s some positive news for me.

Some setbacks with LearnDash and the site

I had a small setback today when I tried to do some customizations for LearnDash. The website is not as accessible as I need it to be. I am going to continue to work hard on that and to do more careful testing.

It is going to take me some time because I am going to have to do changes to the current theme, and, like our beloved block editor, LearnDash is also lacking developer documentation.

For now, I have opted out of using the registration modal from LearnDash, and added a basic registration and login button on the homepage instead.

Removal of the forum

I chose to remove the forum because the number of plugins I needed to have installed was growing and I did not want it to slow down the site.

Communication is important and I will work on other ways to for us to share ideas and themes. I want to provide an easy way for you to ask questions.

I considered Slack as one solution, but I feel that we all (hi friend!) spend a lot of time on Slack already, so I am now thinking about other solutions.

Sharing your full site editing theme

With the forum removed, so is the section where you could share your themes publicly.

If you have a theme to share, please submit it to the official WordPress Github repository for experimental themes.

I want to be clear that I do not run this repo. This is a WordPress project, and it is the best place to share your themes if you want someone to test it and give you feedback.

If you want my feedback specifically, I would love to see your themes, you can email me a link to your repository or similar at

June 7 update

Carolina    Updated

Just as short Sunday update, because I wanted to check what progress has been made this week and during the contributor day.

The site editor bug- Since 8.2 there has been a PHP notice in the site editor when you enable a full site editing theme. The bug has been localized and there is a PR being worked on:

Site title block update – A pull request that adds the “wp-block-site-title” CSS class name, alignments and heading levels to the site title has been merged. See for details.

There has been another important update that is worth mentioning even though it is not related to full site editing, and that is the new image editing controls.

The new image controls lets us rotate, flip and crop images. With the crop controls we can select an aspect ratio and orientation, and zoom in to crop a part of an image. Love it!

The controls in the image block toolbar lets us rotate the image to the left or right.

June 4 update

Carolina    Updated

Thank you all for the encouraging comments and feedback about the course so far! I have not been able to reply to everyone, but I am not ignoring you, I am doing my best to make time for everyone. 🙂

Today is the WCEU online contributor day and I have mainly been focused on that, so there has not been much time for updates to this site.

I have added the first full site editing blocks cheat sheet.

The progress on global styles was presented during the block based theme’s meeting on wednesday. Hopefully we can test that during the contributor day and provide fedback. It looks very interesting but it’s a different way to think about styles from what we are used to.

Ps: To be notified of new posts, you can subscribe to the Themes Team blog here: