Home Forums Weaver Xtreme Theme What? No more CSS in future WordPress Themes (like 2023)?

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    I just got around to giving the first official WordPress Block Theme, Twenty Twenty Three, a good look, and well, the future of WordPress is fully laid out there.

    And the future looks daunting. A whole different level of complexity, and a whole different approach to trying to customize your theme.

    So the first thing I tried to do was to add a bit of custom CSS (like to simply change the background color of 2023). That can’t be done! In fact, the whole “Customizer” interface is gone, and thus no “Additional CSS” box. Instead, there’s a new “Edit Site” button on the top admin bar (and the familiar Edit Page/Post when a page or post is displayed.) That “Edit Site” page seems to be the replacement for the Customizer. And it has a jillion options for about every thing from global colors, fonts, etc, and for each block. I didn’t find it very intuitive, but there is a LOT of new stuff to learn.

    Doesn’t seem to be any real great tutorials for this totally new approach yet. There are several new Block Themes available, but I’ve not tried any but 2023.

    A bunch of other things are missing. Everything is a block – including the overall site. So there is a Header and a Footer Block. Didn’t see sidebar blocks. The Menus control is still there, but adding a menu doesn’t seem easy. All very confusing.

    Now I assume that traditional Themes will be supported for quite some time. There are millions and millions of work-hours spent by probably millions of people using WordPress over the years, and I hope the core WP team doesn’t think all that effort can just magically upgrade to what seems to me to be a totally different way to design a theme. It is really really different.

    I find this new approach has one extremely interesting property that I find to be a personal redemption. Way back when Weaver and Weaver Xtreme first came out, there were quite a few posts here and there saying “What? How can a theme have hundreds of options? This idea is simply awful.” I’ve tried to submit other versions of Weaver with a simpler option set, only to have them rejected because of too many option. Well the new Block Theme “Edit Site” interface does not look all that different to me. I think there are, in fact, hundreds of options – but done the WP team way (very confusing, if you ask me). I feel a bit vindicated. No doubt the WP powers that be won’t agree with my assessment, but the new interface speaks for itself.

    Back to the no more CSS part. New block themes can define new CSS, but just not as traditonal CSS. Instead, WP is switching to JSON based CSS – whatever that means. If you want to blow your mind a bit, here is a link to a very recent article on how WP will be switching to JSON based CSS definitions. The first part is not hard to follow, but then it gets fairly technical. In the base, I think it was not that hard for WP site designers to learn enough CSS to add those little design elements to their sites. I think the new JSON standard will be much much harder.

    I’m not overly confident about the future of WordPress. There might be many positive things to say for the new Block Theme approach, but I personally think it may be beyond the reach of individuals who just want to build a site, and semi-professional site designers who are great designers and have managed to learn how to tweak WP to get what they want. I don’t think that might be that easy now. I’m afraid WP, over the next few years, will see a huge dropoff. Cool and elegant isn’t always simple.

    Here’s the crazy article about WP, CSS and JSON:

    Managing CSS Styles in a WordPress Block Theme


    Thanks for the insights! Always very helpful 😌


    Makes me sad. I have tried a bit to fuss with the block designs and it throws me off. So maybe when this becomes force fed on all of us, it will be time, at least for me to move on.

    Do you think we have at least another year?



    Longer than a year.

    WP 6.6.1 had a bunch of very major changes, mostly to support the new FSE model (Full Site Editing – get used to that new term for it is the future of WP).

    But the Twenty Twenty Three theme is the first official theme to actually support FSE, and I’m assuming it will be how all future Twenty somethings themes are developed.

    But there are millions and millions of existing sites using classic WP, and it will be quite a while before they can simply stop supporting those sites. I guess there will be some glitches. The the current WP development team seems focused only on their future ideas, and it is not impossible that they will abandon legacy support. Who knows?

    I guess there might be a split – a legacy version, and an FSE version. Seems like maintaining both paths is not an actually wise choice. The whole size of the WP core must be getting bigger and bigger.

    But I think there will be a path for all of those site designers who have spent years becoming competent in the legacy version.

    I also know a few web site developers who are in fact giving up on WP now, and moving to platforms like Wix or other site builders that are more user friendly than FSE.

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