Block-Based Themes Are Here, and They’re Amazing

WordPress 6.0 is one of the most significant updates to WordPress in a long time. Over 1000 changes are included in the update, and the way WordPress works have changed with the introduction of Full Site Editing and block-based themes.

Basically, the entire WordPress theme is built with blocks. This looks mostly the same from the front-end, but the back-end of how themes work has changed significantly with the release of WordPress 6.0. This article will cover everything you need to know about block-based themes.

What Are Block Themes?

Block themes are a completely new paradigm for WordPress. Almost everything you know about editing a WordPress theme has changed with the WordPress 5.9 and WordPress 6.0 theme updates. Some of the differences between old themes and new block themes are outlined below:

No PHP Files

A major difference is that the new block themes rely on HTML blocks rather than PHP to build pages. In fact, every aspect of a block theme is a block. This means the header, footer, and comments are also HTML blocks.

The advantages of this include faster loading times and a much easier time editing the theme.

Limited Use of Custom CSS

Another major shift with block themes is far less reliance on theme.json for custom CSS. Most of the styling for a block theme occurs within the block itself rather than theme.json.

This does not mean that all the blocks look the same, though. It is still possible to customize the themes and blocks with theme.json or custom CSS in the block.

In fact, customizing blocks with theme.json has the advantage of making style edits compatible with other themes because the base blocks are generally the same structure.

Full Site Editor (Template editor)

If you use a block theme, then you automatically use a feature called Template editor (informally called Full Site Editor) when editing the theme. This is a much more powerful editor than the one traditionally used in WordPress, as it allows you to edit blocks.

Remember, block themes are 100% blocks, so you can edit every aspect of your website with it.

Some examples include changing the color of the header or the location of the logo in the header. Those are two things that would require using custom CSS in older versions of WordPress to accomplish.

It’s just much simpler to make these types of changes in WordPress 6.0 with the Full Site Editor.

Other Styles

Finally, WordPress 6.0 has style variations. You can access this by clicking on “Other Styles” in the Global Styles tab.

The purpose of style variations is that you can easily customize a theme without having to do a lot of coding. All it requires is adding a JSON file in the /styles folder of a WordPress website.
The changes can be simple (changing the color) or complex, too.

In our opinion, this is one of the most important changes that comes with block-based themes because it easily allows a user to change a theme’s appearance without a significant amount of coding.

This is such a significant change that we find it likely that the entire concept of themes will evolve over time. It will likely reach the point where only a parent theme is required, and all customization will occur in the JSON file in the /styles folder of the parent theme.

Final Thoughts

WordPress 6.0 has shown that WordPress will continue with block themes. This is a welcome change and one that should usher in plenty of new and interesting themes. Now, it will take some time for theme designers to adjust the changes, but we are looking forward to seeing some of the new block-based themes that will be released.