After being ecstatic about the future direction of Gutenberg and even more excited about the future direction of CSS Flexbox and Grids and how they both work together, I’m at a point in my life where I’m seriously considering getting back into web design again.
Having said that, over the past few days I’ve been reviewing where all of these things are at in terms of their development and usage to see if it’s worthwhile to start working with these now. Based upon what I’ve found, I don’t think it’s worthwhile getting on board just yet, at least for myself, due to the following reasons.
- Gutenberg is still probably at least a half year away from completion.
- While Flexbox seems to be gaining traction, there doesn’t seem to be many style editor plugins that incorporate it yet (i.e. Microthemer does include it).
- CSS Grids almost have little to no adoption yet, so I haven’t really seen any developer tools that I’d like to use incorporating them yet. Even more so, very few theme developers seem to be developing with it either.
All said and done, if I can find a theme developer that is really breaking new ground with Flexbox and CSS Grid within their themes (even providing customizations due to their flexibility) then I’d seriously consider web design again. The key thing in all of this is that I don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel and relearn everything from scratch. Rather, I want someone else to invent the wheel for me, as a foundational tool, that I can then build upon and modify to my needs, as well as for the needs of others.
Update Jan 17/2018: Completely rethinking this.
What I just realized is that I’m no better off if I wait to dive into this all. In effect, I have needs in terms of my website right now and I’m finding most WP themes don’t meet my functional needs no matter how great they look.
All said and done, to meet my needs right now, I’ll may as well dive in building templates with WordPress right now since certain aspects of it will still exist when Gutenberg is launched, whereas other aspects will completely disappear. The key thing is to not to lose track of what will disappear when Gutenberg is released, so that I don’t waste too much time learning it, only to discard it later.
Whats clearly evident though is I need to map out both my current needs and vision of what I would like WordPress to become (i.e. my next gen CMS vision).
Update Jan 19/2018: Seems I’m not alone in this situation. Spoke to PixelGrade, a prominent WP theme developer, and they are in a sort of holding pattern as well, waiting for Gutenberg to stabilize and finalize before they fully test it and update their existing themes for it. Seems to me there’s not too much I can do if I want to work on web stuff for Gutenberg until it actually stabilizes. In effect, the foundation of my work will be based upon it, so can’t do much until that foundation is stabilized.
Update Mar 6/2018: Having spent the time trying to get a theme that works the way that I want it to for this site, I’m realizing that WordPress has a long way to go before it has the tools and structure that work the way I want it to. Based upon what I’ve read, it looks like Gutenberg may emerge out of beta by mid 2018 and I’ll reassess by then. In the interim, I’m quite happy with this Scrawl WordPress theme and the modifications I’ve made to it. It almost has a Medium.com feel to it. Even more so, it will allow me to easily add content in a variety of forms, long or short form.
Update Mar 15/2019: More than a year later after writing this post and after reviewing a variety of themes, most with mediocre Gutenberg support at best, I believe I’ve finally found a theme that has the design & functionality that I’ve been looking for which is Authentic by Code Supply Co. While this theme isn’t 100% perfect, it is amazing and way, way, way better than many other themes I’ve reviewed. In fact, the back end Customizer area is awesome, especially with regards to the customization that can be achieved with the Header, Navigation, and Featured Image areas. In fact, I’d even go so far to say that it meets the design & functionality I experienced when using Squarespace and even surpasses it in certain areas. Therefore, in going forward, while I will probably not do full web design work again, I’d definitely like to use this theme to help other people “get online” in a simple yet empowering way.