Gutenberg Full-Site Editing: Unlocking Agility for Enterprise WordPress

Lessons from the cutting edge of implementation

Webinar

Gone are the days of adding content to templates using HTML and PHP. Now, making updates to your site templates is as easy as the block editor you know and love for pages and posts.

The Full-Site Editing features rolling out in WordPress 5.8 are changing the game for enterprise WordPress content creators and developers alike. By taking Gutenberg blocks beyond the post editor, these new features allow content creators unprecedented agility and control over the entire site experience. 

Learn how to make Full-Site Editing work for your teams.

Join our on-demand webinar with WordPress VIP content and design leaders as well as our agency partner Athletics, who developed the Full-Site Editing implementation on our site. 

Learn how content creators can:

  • Make site-wide changes on their own without waiting for a dev request to be completed
  • Get content faster to market in an ever-changing world
  • Benefit from lessons WordPress VIP learned implementing Full-Site Editing

Speakers

Tess Needham

Head of Content Marketing, WordPress VIP

Tess is responsible for strategizing and coordinating WordPress VIP’s marketing projects, and empowering her team to create innovative and unique content. She’s happiest when working on creative projects, including cartooning, photography, and voice acting, and is passionate about using the creative arts to help people work with technology.

David Bowman

Design Director, WordPress VIP

David has been leading design at WordPress VIP since 2019. Previously, he worked for clients like The New York Times, Fisher Price, The Brooklyn Brewery and David Byrne, making everything from logos to giant papier mâché sculptures. After leaving agency life, David left New York to visit all (at the time) 59 national parks with his family in a self-converted bus. After two years of blogging and living at Walmart, he settled down and found a more permanent home with WordPress VIP. Find him on Instagram.

Jameson Proctor

Executive Digital Director, Athletics

Joining Athletics as a partner in 2014, Jameson has injected technical rigor throughout the studio’s project lifecycle, and led many digital-first projects including J.P. Morgan In—Residence, Hubble, New York Review of Books, and the Museum of the City of New York. A former Chef de Cuisine at The W Hotel and an Executive Chef at The Food Studio, Jameson is also founder of Campaign Games, a historical strategy games company founded in 2019.

Transcript

Tess Needham (00:00):

Hi, welcome. Thanks for joining us for this conversation about the new Full-site editing features that are coming to WordPress. We’re really excited to talk about our redesign of our website, and we have some of the main people here who were involved in it.

Tess Needham (00:16):

I’m Tess. I lead content marketing at WordPress VIP, and joining us is also David Bowman, the head of design for WordPress VIP, and also Jameson Proctor from our partner agency, Athletics. So welcome. Thank you so much for joining us, David and Jameson.

David Bowman (00:34):

Thank you [inaudible 00:00:36].

Jameson Proctor (00:35):

Thank you. Glad to be here.

Tess Needham (00:37):

We recently teamed up with Athletics to redesign our website wpvip.com, and when we did that redesign, we decided to use several Full-site editing features, and that was just really exciting for us. We believe we might be the first or one of the first enterprise websites to use those features.

Tess Needham (00:57):

A bit first of all, about what is Full-site editing. Full-site editing is the next phase of the Gutenberg Project in WordPress, and it brings the block editor out of posts and pages and into the Full-site. It means that you can now edit your header, your footer, your site templates, and other template parts using Gutenberg blocks. It’s very cool.

Tess Needham (01:22):

It offers content creators just a huge amount of agility when they’re able to change the look and feel of their website, but without needing a development cycle. You don’t need to go get a developer to code things if you want to change something in your header, or your footer, your sidebar, things like that. This is really changing the game for WordPress. It’s really making it a much more flexible, intuitive experience for content creators.

Tess Needham (01:51):

What we also recognized with enterprises is that you might not always want your content creators to have that much freedom in the site. You have brand guidelines, you have governance that you need across the site. You have lots and lots of people contributing. That was really a consideration of ours as well. Is how do you have those guard rails? How do you make it just a really wonderful experience, not only for developers, but also for content creators to be able to work in this new Full-site editing environment?

Tess Needham (02:21):

Gutenberg’s block editor was introduced with WordPress 5.0 and we’re now at WordPress 5.8. That is when the first Full-site editing features are going to be released in core WordPress. We actually have used some of the features that are not coming out yet, that’ll be coming out later in WordPress Core. The way that we did that was through using the Gutenberg plugin. If there are more advanced features that you want to try out, then that’s what we would recommend is to install the Gutenberg plugin and give it a go.

Tess Needham (02:56):

David and Jameson, now that we’ve covered Full-site editing is, and why it’s great for enterprises, I would love to talk a little bit more about the design and development that we went through for wpvip.com.

David Bowman (03:09):

Yeah, we had a pretty lengthy design process for this site. Previously, our site was designed in 2017 and it was pre Gutenberg, we were not using blocks in our pages. Over the years we had started trying to incorporate it, started trying to gain agility and it just had reached a point where we knew we needed to tear it down and build it from the ground up.

David Bowman (03:43):

When we made that decision, we really stopped, evaluated our processes, our workflows, what we wanted our site to do, how we wanted it to perform for us. Looked at WordPress technology and realized that it made a lot of sense to take the full plunge design, a fully block-based theme so that we could get the full benefits of Full-site editing, which is coming to WordPress core very soon.

David Bowman (04:11):

The main goals of the design from the outset were first to expose more content across our site. We have ramped up content marketing efforts, and we’re putting a lot of energy into making good content to drive leads. Our website was just not built for that originally. We knew that we needed to make the content creation process a lot easier, a lot quicker, a lot more agile, and then have the site be designed in a way that it would expose the content that were created all over the site so that folks can find it. They can read it, they can learn, and ultimately they can convert and contact us and enter our sales process.

Tess Needham (04:55):

David, do you want to talk a little bit more about why we chose to go with Full-site editing when we created the new theme?

David Bowman (05:01):

Yeah, absolutely. The parts of the old site that we liked the best and that we were subsequently using the most were the Gutenberg parts. We had hacked together enough Gutenberg blocks with limited resources to be able to create the pages that we needed. We found ourselves just reusing that stuff over and over because it was so much easier to spin things up in the block editor. You had so much better control and predictability as a content creator in the block editor.

David Bowman (05:37):

What Full-site editing really does is it just brings that same kind of predictability, and control, and agility to the rest of your web experience. The same awesome control that you had in the content of a page or the content of a post, you now have in your header, in your footer, in parts of the site that were previously locked away behind usually a dev cycle. Unless, you were using some sort of third-party page builder tool to be able to access those parts of the site. You were limited in how much agility you could have there.

David Bowman (06:15):

Jameson will probably speak to this, but WordPress being the technology that it is you can do pretty much anything you want with it. There’s a lot of different ways to achieve the goals that we wanted to achieve, but we really wanted to do it in a way that was very WordPress native. We didn’t want to rely on a third-party tool, a third-party plugin.

David Bowman (06:38):

Mostly because we’re an enterprise and we have a lot of requirements around how performant that technology is, the governance that we need around the creator experience. Most of the third-party tools that are out there are really built for an SMB use case. They’re built for people who are designing in the block editor. They’re using the block editor as a design tool, and we don’t want to use the block editor as a design tool, but we want to be able to use design as a tool in the block editor.

David Bowman (07:10):

We want the creators to be able to access our design system. We want them to be able to access patterns that the design team has created. It’s really just expanding the capability of WordPress as a creator tool. It’s making it more powerful, which we got really excited about. I think the future of Full-site editing and core is really gunning towards adding more and more power to that experience.

David Bowman (07:39):

The block editor is consuming more parts of the WP admin experience. As an enterprise, I think that’s very exciting because it can give our creators more control and because WordPress is the flexible technology that it is, we can take a tool that is a consumer tool is built for small businesses, and bloggers, and users that are usually working in smaller organizations, and we can take that and we can make it appropriate for an enterprise.

David Bowman (08:10):

That’s really the core of what we do at WordPress VIP. Is taking the goodness of WordPress and shore it up and making it a really powerful enterprise tool and Full-site editing is just like more of that.

David Bowman (08:22):

We saw that coming and got very excited about it and thought, well, Hey, if we’re going to do this, if we’re going to rebuild our site, we got it. We got to do this. We have to go all the way. It doesn’t make sense to do a half measure now and then be wishing that we had gone all the way in a year or two when all those features hit Core. Yeah, we took the plunge, we went all the way.

Tess Needham (08:49):

To bring Jameson into the conversation, it’s probably a good moment now because I think we probably gave him bit of a heart attack when we decided that we wanted to try Full-site editing.

Tess Needham (09:00):

Jameson, with the team at Athletics, partnered with us on this site. We had a great experience building it with you. I’m really curious to know from your perspective from the developer or agency perspective, what were some of the highlights of the project? We can start with those positives and talk to us a little bit about how you approached the project as well?

Jameson Proctor (09:22):

Thanks Tess. Before I get started with some of the highlights, I want to take a moment and touch on something that David said earlier.

Jameson Proctor (09:35):

There have been and are a number of ways to try to implement a modular, flexible approach to content in WordPress other than the block editor. We at Athletics have used these various solutions to varying degrees of success.

Jameson Proctor (10:05):

Some of them are pretty clunky and feel like bolt-ons. Others are really clever and performant, but they still don’t feel like native WordPress. Full-site editing on the other hand really brings the ease of use and the power of the block editor to your entire theme. Not just posts, not just pages, but to navigation, to archive templates, homepages, et cetera.

Jameson Proctor (10:58):

The other thing that it brings to your theme is the power of react. In our mind, we can’t really think of a better way to implement a flexible, modular content then with the JavaScript library that’s purpose built for componentry.

Jameson Proctor (11:31):

Design systems and the Full-site editor and obviously the block editor or really a perfect match. You’re able to really bake governance into the content creation experience through local styles, through block controls, while also allowing content creators to remain agile and move at the speed of business.

Tess Needham (12:17):

I love that, move with the speed of business. That should be your tagline.

Jameson Proctor (12:23):

You can have it. You can have it.

Tess Needham (12:27):

Yes. Great.

David Bowman (12:28):

The design system part of it, I think was also part of what got me the most excited about the possibility of Full-site editing because the block editor as a piece of technology has the potential to really align all the teams of an organization in the place where the content is getting created, which in our case, and in the case of our customers, content is critical to their business growth.

David Bowman (12:54):

Being able to produce good content is just critical. Without that marketing locks up. Your leads don’t flow at least in our case. That is a critical experience and one that many teams are working to support. You’ve got the work of the design team, the work of the developers, the work of the marketing team, the work of growth marketers, analytics. All these folks are working to support that act of content creation and the potential of the block editor is to bring the work of all those folks to bear inside that content creation experience.

David Bowman (13:36):

In the case of the design team integrating with our design system and bringing styles, and governance, and patterns into the place where the content is getting made, it cuts out a lot of confusion between content creators and designers. So that the designers can create a tool, document it, and pass it to the content team. They can use it with just less design oversight so that they can have the software equivalent of a designer sitting next to them helping them build their page or write their post.

David Bowman (14:15):

That was just really, really game changing for us coming from our previous site, where it was the governance was very rigid. We were using a pretty traditional tool to do our page building before that was just meta boxes in the backend classic post editor. Pretty classic WordPress set up for an enterprise where you want tight governance, but it was so tight that it choked agility.

David Bowman (14:50):

Being able to give flexibility and guidance in a way that is still on brand, still safe, is game changing. It really lets the content creators run and helps the designers go from doing QA work and checking the work of the marketing team. It lets them go from kind of watching and being the design police to really focusing on creating a system that can enable their content team.

David Bowman (15:22):

Your focus goes to tool creation and to system administration, which with a small design team lets you scale your operation a lot easier, which is pretty great. We’re excited about the possibilities of that moving forward.

Tess Needham (15:40):

I was going to say that I feel like it’s just such a cliche now even to say we have such a lean team, but everybody is operating so lean at the moment. I think just it’s so critical to have these moments where you can create reusable systems. You can empower the content creators because the world is moving fast and we don’t have time to go through a whole lot of revisions and a whole lot of design and dev cycles.

Tess Needham (16:07):

I think that what this has unlocked for us, Gutenberg and the extra Full-site editing capabilities of Gutenberg, is that we can get that content out there into the world before the news is old and that’s just really exciting for us and really game changing.

Tess Needham (16:26):

Jameson, sorry to turn it to the bad side. I am curious about, I know there were a lot of challenges along the way because we were really on the bleeding edge of Full-site editing, especially in the enterprise context with this site. I’m curious about what were some of the pitfalls that you discovered along the way and the challenges that you had?

Jameson Proctor (16:50):

Well, I think that one of the things that you have to really embrace, and I think this is with any leading or bleeding edge technology, is that the ground is changing under you as you work and as you progress.

Jameson Proctor (17:12):

I think that we went really far afield and had to embrace the fact that they’re probably going to need to be some things that have to be refactored as Full-site editing comes into sharper focus. I think as advice I could give to other agencies and other developers is just sort of temper how far you go. Knowing that some features are going to be sort of ready for release and kind of fully stable in the 5.8 release of WordPress. Then there are features that are really in play, works in progress.

Jameson Proctor (18:04):

As Tess mentioned at the top of the call, that you can start working with now by installing the Gutenberg plugin. I think other challenges that you face with embracing Full-site editing are around changes in your workflow. There are some substantial differences in the way in which you approach developing a full site editing theme. From the way in which you approach developing a traditional WordPress theme.

Jameson Proctor (18:53):

One of the things that I would highlight is we developed a practice over the past several years where posts, custom post types, sometimes pages were utilizing the block editor and other aspects of the site experience. Navigation, archives, et cetera, were really being implemented through traditional WordPress. When you develop a Full-site editing theme you’re taking the plunge, you’re going all in.

Jameson Proctor (19:34):

Some of the things that you might be familiar with have to be done in a different way. Whether it’s how you build a post-roll or a taxonomy archive, or how you output taxonomy is in the context of the post or other piece of content you’re going to have to develop new ways of working.

Jameson Proctor (20:03):

The great thing and the thing that we really found throughout this process is just as we’ve all come to expect with WordPress in general, there’s such a rich, robust community involved in the Full-site editing project and the Gutenberg project that really finding answers to some of the challenges you might be facing with changes in your workflow, isn’t really that difficult to do. It just takes the research and development time that you need to do so.

Tess Needham (20:44):

Well, that doesn’t sound too bad. You certainly made it very positive.

Tess Needham (20:50):

On that note, I’m wondering what advice do you have for people getting started?

Jameson Proctor (20:56):

Well, whether you’re just curious about Full-site editing or whether you’re jumping on and developing a Full-site editing theme, I think I recommend getting started by installing and thoroughly reading the source code of the TT1 blocks theme. You can find that on wordpress.org and find the GitHub repository.

Jameson Proctor (21:32):

Basically, TT1 blocks is a theme that re-implements the 2021 theme for Full-site editing and it’s very lean. There are not a ton of files in that theme, but there’s just enough to really give you a sense of what it takes to build a Full-site editing theme. And what are some of the similarities and the differences between the traditional theme, a Full-site editing theme.

Jameson Proctor (22:13):

From there, one of the things that we found really enlightening was installing and reading the source of another theme Block-based Bosco, which has been developed by I believe it’s Frank Klein from Human-made.

Jameson Proctor (22:38):

Not only is it another really well done early Full-site editing theme, but Frank wrote a really great article on what he learned in building that theme. And really gets into, I think the challenges the changes in workflow and the real potential that I think we’re all seen in Full-site editing.

Jameson Proctor (23:11):

Then from there, my two best friends, and the two best friends on my entire team, were the block editor handbook on wordpress.org and the Gutenberg GitHub repository, and really a lot of the issue threads there. Where there’s very, very active daily discussion around Full-site editing and all of those features that are on the roadmap and coming to us soon.

Jameson Proctor (23:50):

I think that’s a pretty good overview of the resources that we used to really kind of get started on this journey. From there, what I’d say is I think it was back in 2015 that Matt Mullenweg kind of famously advised, learn JavaScript deeply.

Jameson Proctor (24:21):

We were really surprised and I’d say delighted by the amount of JavaScript we were writing when we developed this Full-site editing theme. The amount of Java script, particularly as opposed to the amount of PHP.

Jameson Proctor (24:43):

We used as much as possible the blocks that are baked into the Gutenberg plugin, but given the ambitions and the needs of the new VIP site, we did end up building 22 custom blocks. That’s a lot of JavaScript and I think specifically it’s a lot of react.

Jameson Proctor (25:18):

If you haven’t taken Matt’s advice and learned Java script deeply at this point, I think it’s essential when we’re thinking about the future of WordPress and really the potential and the possibility of Full-site editing.

Tess Needham (25:38):

Thanks, Jameson. I think that it’s so good to have that advice from you. What really stood out to me was how much help you got from the WordPress ecosystem. I think that’s just one of the huge benefits to using WordPress is that you have this incredibly large, and diverse, and talented, and active ecosystem that can really share advice and working through the same issues as you.

Tess Needham (26:04):

For something like this, which is quite a big product development in our core software, I think it’s really unique that there are so many people from all different contexts who are working on these new features and able to help each other out. I think that’s just really cool.

Jameson Proctor (26:18):

Yes. I don’t want to veer too far off course and talk about the virtues of open source in general, but I mean, the reality is that that combination of being able to develop for the enterprise while also having the interaction and support of a really broad diverse community is an amazing combination.

Jameson Proctor (26:59):

You can work on the bleeding and leading edge on things that are closed source and proprietary, and it’s a much more costly and difficult process to embrace. Like I said, for a lot of the challenges that we faced, either someone was already discussing it, or it was very, very easy for us to jump into the threads and the GitHub repository and get feedback from that amazing community.

Tess Needham (27:40):

That’s really great to hear.

Tess Needham (27:43):

We’ve talked about why we built the site. We’ve talked about what Full-site editing is. Some of the things to think about when you’re developing for Full-site editing and so we wanted to jump into a demo of our site, our new site, so that you can see a little bit behind the scenes of how it all works.

Tess Needham (28:01):

Let’s talk about some of those features that we built in the blocks that we did and what they do.

David Bowman (28:06):

This is how it appears when you go to wpvip.com and for the eagle-eyed out there, you’ll notice that there’s a new button in the logged-in toolbar up here, up top. You can edit the page, but there’s also an option to edit the site. This is really the core of the Full-site editing experience is it’s the site editor. Let’s dive in and take a look.

David Bowman (28:39):

If you hit edit site, it’ll spin up the site editor and this is where you can edit your templates. You can edit your template parts. These are things that are kind of a little bit new concepts for a WordPress theme, where I think a WordPress theme before was you had post templates and then the block editor introduced blocks.

David Bowman (29:04):

Now, there are, in addition to our blocks and our block patterns, we have blocked templates, which are largely replacing page templates and post templates. Then you have template parts, which are things like your header, your footer, things that are going to appear in those templates. It’s all blocks now. I say that there are new concepts, but it’s just all blocks. Everything is blocks now.

David Bowman (29:39):

As we check this out here, so this is one of the kind of largest custom blocks that Athletics developed for us that is our menu experience. To really test out the possibilities of the Full-site editing, we wanted to make our menu a more rich experience and one that the marketing team could control intentionally and do so pretty easily.

David Bowman (30:04):

It is fairly basic, but the possibilities of it are pretty cool. You get this mega menu experience that drops down. You have an image, you have all of your links and you get some texts that you can use to describe the links. Then there is a CTA down here, and all of this is controllable in this Full-site editing experience here.

David Bowman (30:27):

What we liked about the block editor, it’s just more of it now. All that great agility that we liked having in the content of a post, we now have in all the other parts of the web experience. It’s easy to drop into here to change something, to change a link. Obviously, this is not content that’s changing a lot. This CTA is changing so you can use this to promote content that you’re pushing a campaign, something that’s a little bit more timely.

David Bowman (31:00):

Whenever you do change this and optimize it as marketers like to do these days, it’s doable by the marketer themselves. It’s not hidden behind a dev cycle.

Jameson Proctor (31:12):

What I love about this is that we could in again, classic or traditional WordPress, provide the ability to interact with menus, the menu API, and in the appearance section of the dashboard, but this is just so much more intuitive. It has visual parity between what’s being displayed to the audience on the front end and what we’re seeing here in the Full-site editor. To me, that visual parody and that ease of use are concepts that really ladder up to this idea of content agility, the agile content management system.

David Bowman (32:05):

Yeah. I think that a good and purpose-built creator experience is pretty exciting, especially for folks that have been using WordPress for a long time. I think that as WordPress has become more and more powerful and folks have built more and more flexibility into it, pre-Gutenberg, a lot of that was done through all sorts of different ways.

David Bowman (32:31):

Lots of meta boxes, lots of drop-downs plugins, custom post types. This mega menu could’ve been achieved with a custom post type. We could’ve done this in different ways, but having it in a way that makes sense from the creator perspective and is a good experience and experience that I think that most content creators have come to expect from their software is fantastic.

David Bowman (33:02):

It is pretty exciting. Especially given the other options out there for enterprise content management. Being able to use something that feels and runs like a great piece of consumer software is a breath of fresh air in a lot of enterprise marketing and content organizations.

Tess Needham (33:27):

Yeah. For a content creator, the benefit of having this look exactly as it’s going to look on the front end, it really can be understated I think. Gone are the days when you would have to switch between the preview mode and the back end and do little tweaks and wonder if something is causing a line break or things like that.

Tess Needham (33:47):

The fact that you can change out these images, you can update the CTA, all of these things and have it looking like the menu is going to look on the front end. I think that just saves so much time, so much confusion. It’s really amazing to have that ability now in the header.

David Bowman (34:08):

Even in an enterprise organization, I think that predictability is huge. As your organization size grows, being able to have predictable changes, being able to understand how you’re changing your web experience just becomes more and more important.

David Bowman (34:30):

As the clients that we have huge organizations publishing lots of content, if you’re going to be editing a fundamental part of your site template, if that is going to be a part of the experience that becomes agile, that becomes able to be edited and optimized, it has to be predictable. You have to have confidence in the changes that you’re making so that when you hit publish that it’s not going to break.

David Bowman (35:00):

Having it be a block-based experience really makes sense and cuts out a lot of this you draft it and you test it and you can still do all of that. You can still use your existing workflows, but you feel more confident through the whole process. At least we did as we were using this.

David Bowman (35:24):

Whereas before there was, oh, we got to test it, test and develop, push it to production, test it there, make sure it’s all the same. Now you can work in production, you can make changes like this at the database level instead having to go through a dev cycle, which it’s great. It really has unlocked us as a content organization.

David Bowman (35:49):

You can see here that we’re looking at the header right here in our page template and you click the button over here and you get your templates. These correspond to what would’ve been PHP templates before and you can go and explore the templates that make up your theme.

David Bowman (36:12):

The new site editor includes templates, includes template parts. The template parts, here’s our headers and footers, like we were just looking at. In our templates, this is where we have found another big benefit for us.

David Bowman (36:33):

One of our really core goals of our site was lead capture. With the pardot block that Athletics bill for us, pardot is the software that we used for marketing automation and lead capture.

David Bowman (36:51):

We’re able to embed our pardot forms on our pages and to be able to control that with a degree of granularity that we just didn’t have before. The forms are still there, embedded pardot forms. So we create the forms in pardot, but being able to go in here in our form, we can select the form and then be able to select exactly the form from our whole list of forms and say, “Okay, on our posts, our blog posts, we want this form. On our webinar posts, we want this different form. If we’re making this landing page webinars, we want this specific form,” and being able to easily create that form in pardot, embed it into WordPress, and being able to do that.

David Bowman (37:40):

Not only on a single page or post, but to be able to do it across sections of our website all at once. That was really the new thing was like, “Oh, we want to change our form on our product section. We can now do that with a few clicks.” That was a couple of days. It was not a lot of code to be written, but with all the coordination, it takes time. Now it doesn’t, which is again, a pretty, pretty rad benefit that we have seen from implementing Full-site editing.

Tess Needham (38:13):

I think David also with the forms, it’s worth pointing out the CTA at the top as well because that little section of text in our previous site iteration was hard-coded. If we wanted to change anything about that CTA, we would have to ask a developer to do it for us.

Tess Needham (38:33):

Having that in a block, not only in a block, but also in the Full-site editing feature means that we can make a change to that CTA and have it rolled out across all single post type, or a custom post type, or anything like that, which it’s really a game changer in how fast and how agile we can be with the lead capture.

David Bowman (38:54):

And it’s WordPress Core. It’s future-proof, backwards compatible it’s going to live with the software forever. Investments in this are going to be ones that are robust and durable moving forward, which is a big concern for an enterprise because they put a lot into making their creator experience what it needs to be.

David Bowman (39:13):

Having this be part of Core gives them a lot of confidence that this is something that’s here for the long haul. This is something that I can invest in and have confidence that I’m going to see returns from it for a long time.

Jameson Proctor (39:26):

Couple of other things that I would add, being able to integrate something like a pardot form, and you could do this with really any sort of marketing automation platform that provides an API, but being able to do that with the block editor. Again, we have the benefit of visual parity. We have the ease of use of being able to do this, both at the template and the post and page level. We have the workflow benefit.

Jameson Proctor (40:09):

Previously the way that this may have been handled would be if a short code dropped into a post or maybe potentially you’d be at the template level using the do short code function. Maybe pulling an ID from meta box somewhere. We can all, I think, easily agree that all of a sudden we have a lot of moving parts. We have a lot of context shifts and we’re losing agility, each jump that we have to make.

Jameson Proctor (40:45):

Where here we’re really just choosing a form in our block controls and seeing that rendered out visually on our templates. We’re able to make that decision with confidence. We know that we’ve got the right lead capture form. We’re not going to lose leads and we can move on and focus on our other goals with content marketing.

David Bowman (41:14):

It’s pretty exciting. I remember the test the first time that we right after site launch, after site launched we’re messing with things a little bit and decided like, “Oh, yeah, we want to add this to the blog posts.” To just go into the blog post template, drop in the block, hit publish, and it was done.

David Bowman (41:38):

There was this moment where I was like, “Oh, wow, that was easy. On the old site, that would’ve been a dev ticket.” It would’ve been somebody having to write code and to have that happen quickly now, it just felt right. This is the way it’s supposed to be. This is great.

Tess Needham (42:01):

Yeah. It’s like, why can I only adjust the content that’s within that page and post area? Why shouldn’t I be able to adjust the rest of the content?

Tess Needham (42:10):

I think coming back to the idea of enterprises really need those guard rails in place and that governance. I mean, we’re a small team, there’s just a few of us. We are all pretty confident with what we’re doing with WordPress and our brand and everything. If you scale this up to huge enterprises, when you think about balancing that agility and that ability to just add something into the post template with also making sure that it stays in line with design and those kinds of things.

Tess Needham (42:41):

I think the block editor really allows that because first of all, the developers can put those constraints into the block itself, into the settings. So that you can choose from say just a certain color palette, things like that, but also just being able to see visually what you’re doing as soon as you do it. It’s really amazing to have that immediate feedback as a content creator. Yeah, that just wasn’t possible before with PHP templates.

David Bowman (43:13):

Once you’ve built out a robust system in your theme because your theme, talking from an enterprise design perspective, your block-based theme is the communication manifestation of your design system.

David Bowman (43:27):

Whereas, your product interface is built by a component library. Your marketing and communication properties are built by your WordPress theme and the code of those blocks is your design system. Once you have that built, and documented, just like a design system for product interface, it really unlocks the contributors to be able to build and add to that system.

David Bowman (43:54):

The block editor lets you create block patterns. It lets you create reusable blocks. The content creators can be going through and on their own say, “Hey, I’m using this combination of blocks a lot. Let’s save that and reuse it.” For them to just be able to do that on their own really changes the way that designers and content creators interact in a marketing organization.

David Bowman (44:18):

It becomes a lot more collaborative. That they are building and maintaining this tool in this system together. Instead of following a style guide, asking someone to check it, and sort of this old way of creating content for the internet that most folks that have worked in the industry for any amount of time are familiar with.

David Bowman (44:43):

You make the comp, you send it to design for approval, they get some notes, you make some changes, you publish it. Now, all of that can just be baked into the tool is pretty exciting.

Jameson Proctor (44:58):

Another great piece about that from the developer perspective is that work can be done by a content creator, can be saved in the database, but then can be brought into the theme as an HTML file.

Jameson Proctor (45:23):

Really codified, brought under version control, made a part of sort of the canonical codebase. You’re creating this ecosystem of collaboration between designers, content creators, and developers in a way that I think the ways that we’re used to working did not do as well. I think as that continues to evolve, the power that it’s going to unlock for organizations is going to be something to reckon with.

Tess Needham (46:05):

Thank you so much to Jameson and David. We are here for Q&A now. Yeah, hit us up with your questions. (silence)

Jameson Proctor (46:24):

Tess, thanks for having me. David, it’s always a pleasure.

David Bowman (46:28):

Thanks everybody. It was great. Great to talk through this stuff.

Tess Needham (46:31):

Thanks. See you in the Q&A.

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