Automattic’s Livro Is a Minimal Block Theme for Writers – WP Tavern

Typically the sweetest issues in life are the best. Automattic’s newest block theme landed in the review queue yesterday, and I needed to give it a spin. What I discovered was a minimally-elegant design that I fell in love with.

Actually. I even devoted a complete demo publish on my set up to it:

Single blog post with title and date at the top.  The content has three Valentine's-related images in a gallery before written content.
Single publish with gallery and pull-quote.

Effectively, that and Valentine’s Day is a mere month away. It felt like the best time to combine up my set up’s take a look at content material anyway.

Let me preface the remainder of this overview by saying that I hate darkish themes with a fiery ardour. Nevertheless, each from time to time, one comes alongside that makes me rethink my place. Livro is one such theme. I could dislike it in every week, however I’ve genuinely beloved utilizing it for 2 days.

The theme’s most spectacular feat was utilizing a single font household, Newsreader, throughout your complete design. It by no means felt prefer it wanted the rest to separate physique copy, secondary textual content, and headings.

Livro won’t meet everybody’s wants — not by an extended shot. Nevertheless, it’s the kind of theme that may attraction to those that don’t like every bells and whistles in anyway. The sort the place content material reigns supreme, the place just a few phrases and footage are all that’s essential to make some extent.

I didn’t instantly hop on this whirlwind affair with Livro at first sight. Issues began a bit rocky. The theme managed to implement my prime three pet-peeves:

  1. It shows publish content material as an alternative of excerpts on weblog/archive pages.
  2. It exhibits the featured picture on the prime of the web page on single posts, creating duplicate picture output when that very same picture is used within the content material.
  3. Its navigation menu lists all of my website’s pages by default. All 90+ of them.

One additional difficulty I observed with the publish content material on the weblog and archive pages was that extensive and full-aligned blocks have been the identical width as regular content material. I have no idea if that may be a WordPress or theme-specific difficulty. Since I deliberate on switching to excerpts, I didn’t look too deeply into the code.

The Navigation block difficulty is, partly, a problem with WordPress itself. It would fall again to the core Web page Record block in particular eventualities. Nevertheless, theme authors also can handle this by way of the block_core_navigation_render_fallback hook, launched in Gutenberg 12.1.

Thankfully, all of those points are lifeless easy to appropriate on the earth of block themes. The positioning editor is only a click on away, and customers are not certain to the eccentricities of in any other case strong theme designs. In moments, I used to be in a position to customise how issues appeared.

WordPress site editor open to the theme's single post template. Screenshot of the action of removing the Post Featured Image block.
Eradicating featured picture from single posts by way of website editor.

The theme bundles 15 block patterns in complete. Eight of them are for headers, and 5 are for footers. Most of those are variations on the identical idea, primarily altering the place of the default parts.

I used to be somewhat disenchanted to not see extra selection for web page or general-use patterns. The theme ships one for an About web page and one other for a Contact web page. They each use an offset-column design that I hope sooner or later will get dropped into the black gap the place different internet design developments go to die.

Two "page" block patterns in the WordPress pattern explorer.  One shows an about page with offset text and image.  The other shows three columns and contact information.

The nav menu’s “x” shut button is on the far proper fringe of the display, however the open icon is on the far left. That is extra of an issue with WordPress’s dealing with of the Navigation block than the theme. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless irritating looking for the shut button. Ideally, the open and shut buttons would at all times be in the identical place.

One approach to mitigate this difficulty is to make use of the “Header with website title on left and button on proper” sample — sure, all of the quick names have been taken on header-pattern naming day.

WordPress site editor when viewing the Header template part.  On the left, the patterns panel is open.  On the right, the block options panel is open.
Utilizing a sample to vary the header design.

Customers can swap it by modifying the Header template within the website editor. It places the nav menu open button on the best facet of the web page. The shut button will nonetheless be barely off, however it’s a higher expertise than the default.

For a theme that I declare to like, I did concentrate on its downsides on this overview. A part of that’s to indicate that such points needn’t at all times be the rationale to miss a block-based theme. If they’re comparatively minor issues, it doesn’t take a programmer to make these changes. All the design parts that I loved concerning the theme have been already there. It simply wanted some coaxing to make it excellent for me.

I’d nonetheless wish to see the Automattic Theme Group add just a few patterns to the combo. Livro’s clear canvas appears to ask a mashup of media and textual content blocks.

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