Themes Harbor news – Issue #6

Greater focus on the Block editor. New template for custom page layouts using blocks only. Dropping support for IE 11 in themes. Deprecation of Grid Page templates.

My name is Taras, and I am the founder of Themes Harbor where I design and develop WordPress themes for professionals. I write these brief posts to inform you regarding the latest news from Themes Harbor.

So, let’s review these news.

Focus on the Block editor

Blocks are the future of WordPress. This is the reason why almost in every release of each theme from Themes Harbor, you can find improvements regarding default WordPress blocks and the Block editor itself.

Not to mention, the Block editor is evolving, and it gets better every release of WordPress. I firmly believe that the end result will be beneficial for both users and developers.

Right now, this editor brings much more flexibility regarding a page creation which was not available before without a need of 3rd party plugins. It is possible to create interesting and usable page layouts using default WordPress blocks.

It means that you have much more control over design and structure of your page. And all of it can be done without a need to leave the Block editor.

Important to say that almost every theme from Themes Harbor was created before WordPress introduced the Block editor. That is why many of these themes include custom templates to provide non-traditional page layouts.

However, those templates have a limited flexibility.

The Block editor eliminates a need of those “special” templates. That is why Grid Page templates are getting deprecated in new releases of Themes Harbor themes. I am going to talk more about it more later in this post.

Create your own layout

I want that professionals, who use Themes Harbor themes, will be able to create layouts, that they have in mind, without a need to leave the editor, and setting various options in the Customizer.

Also, I want to reduce dependence on 3rd party plugins.

To do so, I’ve started to develop a new template which can be used for building pages using WordPress blocks only. The name of the template is “Blank content area page”.

Usually, default template includes predefined layout of the main area of your page. Think of the page title which is automatically shown above the content.

The “Blank content area page” template does not include any content, giving you a full control over the layout of the main area of your page.

However, this template still includes the site header and site footer sections.

Currently, only three (3) themes include this template:

At the moment, I want to create a solid foundation for this template. So, that is why only those three themes are currently support the “Blank content area page” template.

Other premium themes will also get this template in the future releases.

I believe, that in a near future, this template will replace templates such as Front Page and Grid Page in our themes, because you will be able to create custom page layouts using that new template and WordPress blocks.

New way creating grids

Some of the premium WordPress themes from Themes Harbor include a special template for creating grid layouts. These Grid Page templates allow to create a grid based on child (sub) pages.

Here is how this template works:

  1. You create a page, and then assign it to the Grid Page template.
  2. Then, you create several other pages, and set them as sub-pages of the page that has the Grid Page template.

It sounds a little bit complex. The thing is that this template was created before WordPress introduced the Block editor.

So, I wanted to provide the user a way of creating a grid layout using WordPress core functionality only.

However, a layout of the Grid Page template has one big disadvantage: it’s not flexible. Here is what I mean by that:

  1. It’s not possible to set a number of columns.
  2. It’s not possible to have multiple grid layouts on the page.
  3. It has very limited customization options.
  4. A content of the page can be shown only above the grid.
  5. The setup of this grid is a little bit complex.

Since we have the Block editor now, it is possible to eliminate all these problems listed above. With a use of the Block editor and the “Blank content area page” template, you can create various grid layouts on your page without a need to leave the editor.

Here is an example of grid layouts I’ve created for Venture using WordPress core functionality only and the “Blank content area page” template. I would also note that this is just one possible variation of using this template.

Because there is now a much better way of creating grid layout in WordPress using its core functionality, the Grid Page template will be deprecated in future versions of premium themes.

This process has been already started in the Venture theme. Since v2.3.0, there will be no longer possible to use the Grid Page templates for sites that do not have active pages with these templates.

Better performance for themes

Since the last version of WordPress (5.8), IE11 is no longer supported in the core which means that new features will no longer be tested in Internet Explorer 11, and bugs reported in this browser will not be fixed.

Microsoft has announced that it will end support for Internet Explorer 11 on June 15, 2022. Themes Harbor has also started to discontinue support for IE 11 to optimize codebase for better performance.

Professional WordPress themes by Themes Harbor are constantly updated to address issues in themes and provide you a better experience. You may find the latest updates in a changelog.