What is a Universal Theme?  

WordPress is introducing the Full Site Editor and with it new ways to build themes.  These themes are called “Block-based” themes and integrate deeply with Gutenberg Blocks.  (Read more about them here.)  These types of themes require the use of the new (and still in development) Full Site Editor. 

A “Universal” theme is a Block-based theme that CAN use the Full Site Editor but can also be configured in a more classic way.  That means that you can use Blockbase today to take advantage of new block-based theming techniques and ease into the Full Site Editor workflow when the time is right without changing your theme.  Blockbase leverages BOTH the classic Customizer and the Full Site Editor for ultimate control of the Theme.

Themes built with Blockbase

Skatepark – demo

Why should I use Blockbase?

WordPress is undergoing a transformation. The Gutenberg project brings big opportunities to improve the way that themes work. To take advantage of these new affordances, themes need to be build in a different way; these new themes are called “Block themes”.

WordPress is still in a transition phase – block themes are in a nascent stage and don’t offer the full gamut of features that will be available in the future. This puts theme developers in a bind; do we:

  1. Continue building classic themes and ignore the Full Site Editor.
    This is easier in the short term, but it ties our users in to the classic WordPress way of doing things.

  2. Build block themes and give users a “beta” experience in the Full Site Editor
    The Site Editor is still rough around the edges and for users who are familiar with the classic dashboard it can be confusing and frustrating. 

Neither of these options is ideal. Enter universal themes.

Universal themes are an attempt to use the benefits of both approaches. At their heart, universal themes are block themes, but with some extra layers which help bridge the gap between the classic dashboard and block themes. For example colors, fonts and menus can all be edited in the Customizer, as well as in the Site Editor.

It is important to recognise that universal themes are a temporary measure. As the Site Editor continues to improve and more features are added, the need for universal themes will diminish. These wrappers will be made obsolete and in time universal themes will become block themes.

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