FSE themes make it too easy to lose homepage and other content.

I noticed this myself the other day while playing with the TwentyTwentyFour theme, and I just got a new client who’s done the same thing with their Gutenverse theme: it’s too easy for anyone new to Full Site Editing to edit templates with real content (no matter how much WordPress experience they have)

The problem is that FSE themes *radically* blur the line between permanent pages (e.g., the homepage, for instance) and theme templates (e.g., the “Front Page” theme template with Gutenverse or “Blog Home” with TwentyTwentyFour).

Reproducible script:

* Launch a clean version of WP 6.5
* Visit the front end of the site (Site Name -> Visit Site in the admin bar.)
* Click “Edit Site”

See the prompt in the black Editor sidebar that says

>Displays the latest posts as either the site homepage or as the “Posts page” as defined under reading settings. If it exists, the Front Page template overrides this template when posts are shown on the homepage.

M’kay, that implies something, something, “need to have a ‘front page template’ so I must be on the right track”

* Click anywhere in the actual body (e.g. “Etudes is a pioneering…”) and start editing.
* Save your work
* Click the “About WordPress icon repeatedly to find your way back to the dashboard and homepage.
* Admire your changes

Hunky dory, right? Perfect! You’re following prompts and making changes. No warnings, and in fact the “Get Started” popup even says

>Design everything on your site — from the header right down to the footer — using blocks. Click styles to start designing your blocks, and choose your typography, layout, and colors.

What could possibly go wrong?

Answer? Change to a different theme. Boom, your Front Page, a.k.a. your homepage content, is gone. That’s a problem.

That’s not just an FSE bug. It’s not even a “still working out kinks in the FSE interface.” It’s yet another $%#% anti-pattern.

>Anti-patterns are the opposite of best practice, which is a solution that has been proven to be effective. They are often used because they seem to work, but the larger context or the long-term consequences are often not considered. They can occur in software design, project management, and organizational behavior.

I’m sure the distinction between templates and main pages is “perfectly intuitive” to anyone who’s obsessively read every post and comment on make.wordpress.com. But I guarantee this won’t be the last support client I get who makes this same mistake.

There are SO MANY other examples of theme editors the core team could have chosen, from Oxygen to Beaver Builder to Breakdance… heck, even !#%!# *ENFOLD* is less baffling and it uses pseudo pages for headers, footers, and partials! Instead we get this incoherent mess of different editing context *plus* nothing to distinguish editing templates from editing main pages.

1 Comment
  1. > Instead we get this incoherent mess of different editing context plus nothing to distinguish editing templates from editing main pages.

    2021 was last oldschool (read decent) stock theme. The worst thing with 22, 23 and 24 is that every new version is “crazier”. Maybe they will give us another surprise with 2025. WP Core developers are “lost in translation”, obviously.

    Frost and Blockbase were still sane, last time I checked.

 

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