Screenshot of FSE and my homepage

Full Site Editing: Initial Thoughts.

When I switched this site back from being headless, I decided to give the new twentytwentytwo theme a go and with that, I’m having my first real stab at Full Site Editing. FSE is the hot new feature for WordPress and while I don’t think I am the target user most of the time, for this site I could be. With FSE on it’s way in WordPress 5.9 I am giving it a go.

Some of these thoughts might be my experience using the in development twentytwentytwo theme rather than my experience with FSE. It’s hard to draw the line and I wonder if the line of theme and core will blur further with FSE.

I’m approaching this from the point of view as someone building a personal site, but who already knows WordPress.

Where is the customizer?

Something that immediately confuses me is the loss of the customizer. That has been the place that I have made sitewide changes in the past and there are some things I can’t figure out how to do without. For example, how do I change my site logo (favicon) without it? I still can’t find that in FSE.

I also feel like I’m back to “Save and Surprise” a bit without it. While the preview is better than nothing, it doesn’t compare to the Customizer. It’s still isn’t completely “my site” in the same way and thus feels like a step back.

Full Site Editing Win: Changing the Heading

I really like the experience of converting my heading to use proper menus. It was a breeze. I got a helpful dialogue to explain the benefits and the costs and I was on my way to editing my header.

WordPress Full Site Editing for converting links to navigation

The header being a template part also meant I could make changes to it from any template and the save dialogue making sure I knew I was updating that gave me confidence in what I was working on.

Logic in Full Site Editing Blocks?

Some of my posts don’t have featured images, so I would like to have something to fallback for them. But the Post Featured Image block doesn’t have any settings for that and I can’t find a block that allows for an if statement of any sort. So it seems like if I want this, I need to write code or create a special block? No idea. Untill then, enjoy the lack of featured images.

Post Formats

Post Formats are an unloved feature of WordPress, but I can’t find a way to take advantage of them in any way shape or form. There is no post format block. I also can’t find an easy way to set the template based on the post format. I guess this unloved feature remains unloved. 💔

Page Home

I edited the “page-home” template and expected that to update my home page, but apparently I still need to set the home page the “normal” way? No, the truth is I needed to create a “Front Page” template. Maybe “page-home” shouldn’t be an option? No idea if this is the theme or FSE driving this experience, but it isn’t ideal.

Querry Loop

I was surprised to see that there isn’t an option for tweaking the number of posts in the query for the index page. I guess I need to head to the old Settings > Reading for this. It would be nice if FSE was able to deprecate a lot of the settings pages.

Overall Opinion of Full Site Editing

I think that my experience is that “Full Site Editing” might be less of a reality right now and the experience is much more akin to being “Template Editing”. This isn’t bad, but going into this I expected more due to the feature name. I think that this feature is going to be very helpful to a lot of sites on the smaller end of the spectrum right now. WordPress serves many different types of users and not every feature needs to be for every user. On the types of sites that I work on every day, it’s going to be a while before we can consider an FSE theme and that’s ok. When dozens of engineers are working on a site, the needs are very different than if a single “WordPress Integrator” is working on it.

It took some playing with in order to really figure things out, but in the end, I’m happy with what I have built so far and feel like I can easily make updates to my site in the future. I like that I don’t need to think about code and can instead think about what I will show to my site’s visitors.

As the number of blocks, the options for blocks, and the variety of patterns increase, I think it’s only going to get better, but right now it feels like two steps forward and three steps back from the customizor as far as really being “Full Site Editing”.



3 responses to “Full Site Editing: Initial Thoughts.”

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  3. WordPress 6.4 comes out next week and to prepare for it, I’ve updated this site to use the new Twenty Twenty-Four default theme. I’ve used most of the default themes WordPress has supplied since Twenty Ten. One of the first things I saw that I liked is how many patterns are available. All together there […]