WP Engine Acquires Brian Gardner’s Frost, Opens It to the Public – WP Tavern

Screenshot of the Frost WordPress theme. It has a hero/intro area, followed by three boxes and a media + text section.

Brian Gardner announced today that WP Engine has acquired his newest mission, Frost. In an e mail despatched out to all prospects, Gardner mentioned his crew had issued refunds to all present prospects. The enterprise mannequin is altering, and Frost might be a freely-available mission going ahead and deal with full web site modifying.

Frost is a WordPress theme that Gardner launched earlier this yr as the principle product of a brand new startup enterprise. The unique model was shipped as a toddler theme of Genesis, the StudioPress theme framework he had spent a lot of his WordPress profession engaged on. WP Engine acquired StudioPress in 2018, and Gardner stepped down from his role in October 2019. It didn’t take him lengthy to search out his approach again into the WordPress theme growth sport, bringing his private model again to the theming world with Frost. Then, he landed a brand new job inside WP Engine’s ranks in September.

“I’m main the WordPress Developer Relations crew at WP Engine,” he mentioned. “We’ve got a easy mission: Speed up innovation in WordPress and assist the group transition to the block editor and Full Web site Enhancing (né Gutenberg). As well as, we wish to domesticate an interactive and immersive group useful resource that serves as a treasure chest of data and operates as a conduit between the WordPress mission and its customers.”

I requested if there was one thing concrete he may share, possibly what kind that will take, however he didn’t go into some other particulars. Basically, the extra sources the event and design group have across the block system, the quicker the ecosystem can evolve. Solely time will inform what Gardner’s crew inside WP Engine creates.

“Once I joined WP Engine in late September, it was evident to me [WP Engine] noticed the worth in constructing relationships with designers, builders, and creators — inside our Atlas product line, in addition to with WordPress,” mentioned Gardner. “Whereas there was curiosity in Frost once I got here on board, it wasn’t till my imaginative and prescient for our crew grew to become clear did an acquisition enter the image. I really helpful bringing Frost into the corporate and hiring Nick Diego.”

Diego is the creator of the Block Visibility and Icon Block plugins. He additionally started engaged on Frost in late September.

“In alignment with WP Engine’s core worth of ‘Dedicated to Give Again,’ Frost is transitioning from a paid product to a free one,” mentioned Gardner. “Given the change in enterprise mannequin, we issued full refunds to all lively prospects. By open-sourcing Frost and specializing in Full Web site Enhancing, we hope to encourage a group of builders to experiment with the increasing capabilities of the block editor. We imagine in its potential and sit up for serving to it develop.”

Frost is open to everybody via the WP Engine themes repository on GitHub.

Leaping into Block Theming

When Gardner bought StudioPress in 2018, a number of elements performed an element within the resolution. Amongst them have been the uncertainty across the Gutenberg mission and WordPress’s future.

“It took a while for me to place the items collectively, however once I did, I noticed simply how highly effective the block editor has develop into,” he mentioned. “Particularly, I’m enthusiastic about block patterns, international kinds, and constructing themes that people can use to create lovely web sites with little effort.”

The results of his newfound enthusiasm across the block system was Frost. I’ve had the chance to tinker round with the theme. It has Gardner’s signature minimalist design model, a deal with readable typography, and ample respiratory room for the content material.

Less complicated designs virtually really feel par for the course with any block theme lately, whatever the theme writer. What’s prone to set Frost aside is its block patterns. It presently ships with 38 of them. The layouts ought to enable customers to shortly arrange their websites, together with the theme’s customized block kinds.

“I’m an enormous fan of block patterns and see their potential when paired with the rising help of design/model parts inside theme.json,” mentioned Gardner of the issues he’s enthusiastic about. “Moreover, the location editor is one thing I really feel, as soon as mature, might be a game-changer for WordPress and people who construct for it.”

The Block Pattern Explorer plugin was initially part of the Frost library plugin, however Gardner and Diego pulled it out and make it obtainable to everybody. In addition they needed to serve the Frost patterns via it. The hope is that the enhancements already in place by way of the plugin discover their approach into core WordPress.

Overlay modal of block patterns in the WordPress editor. Updated version from the Block Patterns Explorer plugin that adds category types and an Add Pattern button.
Frost theme patterns by way of Block Patterns Explorer

The design is a little more polished than core. It consists of class sorts, a function the theme makes use of to separate its personal sample classes from others. The experimental explorer plugin permits customers to preview patterns by way of desktop, pill, and cellular views. And, it has a transparent “Add Sample” button for inserting a block sample into the submit.

Finally, they plan to sundown the plugin as soon as its options make their approach into WordPress.

WordPress theming has come a good distance since Gardner first dove in over a decade in the past. Again then, customers needed to open template recordsdata to customise bits and items of their homepage. As we transfer towards WordPress 5.9, customers can have that very same energy. Nevertheless, they may modify Frost by way of the WordPress web site editor as an alternative of PHP recordsdata.

“Sure, I really feel we’re circling again to some extent,” he mentioned. It was in response to a query of his early days designing themes for WordPress compared to now.

“Whereas WordPress won’t ever be solely a running a blog platform ever once more, it looks like the software program is shedding its pores and skin. The irony right here is that we see WordPress utilized in refined ways in which — to be sincere — I by no means thought can be doable. As for me, I imagine within the energy of simplicity. That has develop into my north star for every little thing I create and has allowed me to navigate the ebbs and flows of an ever-changing software program and trade.”

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