Automattic’s Skatepark landed within the WordPress.org theme listing on Monday. It was designed for contemporary occasions and organizations, nevertheless it ought to work properly for a lot of websites with a small quantity of customization.
For these protecting rely, it’s quantity 52 on the lengthy path toward the 3,000 themes venture lead Matt Mullenweg hopes for earlier than the Collaboration part of the Gutenberg venture. The tempo has picked up prior to now few months, however the lower-cited variety of 300 appears extra sensible.
One factor appears inevitable. The Automattic Theme Staff will proceed pushing new block themes out. Skatepark is now its tenth contribution, practically a full 1/5 of the total available on WordPress.org.
With the release of the Blockbase theme last year, I anticipated that the majority of Automattic’s theme releases would simply turn into baby themes of it. They might be slight variations on that very same design, by no means actually pushing the envelope. In any case, that’s how most of their block themes appeared to be rolling out. Nevertheless, the Theme Staff’s final three releases have been standalone. Skatepark graduated from baby theme standing a mere eight days ago.
I like seeing this strategy. Baby theming can have its limits, usually tucking designers into pointless packing containers. The workforce’s newest theme wanted to be let free to do its personal factor.
If there was ever a theme design that marched to the beat of its personal drum, it might be Skatepark.
The colour scheme is…how do I describe this? THERE. IS. SO. MUCH. GREEN. Blindingly so.
I really like the experimentation. We’d like extra of that within the WordPress neighborhood. As a lot as I dislike the default colour scheme, it’s probably excellent for another person.
I might have immediately deactivated and deleted the theme within the basic period. However, the positioning editor and world kinds system let customers modify colours with relative ease nowadays.
The primary order of enterprise was altering issues in order that I might discover this theme correctly:
As soon as my eyes readjusted, I loved tinkering with this Skatepark. There’s a lot to love about it from only a general-usage standpoint. The daring typography decisions and beneficiant use of whitespace give customers the liberty to experiment.
Nevertheless, the theme gives a serving to hand for individuals who want it. Skatepark contains 10 block patterns out of the field.
My favourite can also be the best. The “Columns in container” sample is a Group block that wraps just a few different parts:
It doesn’t appear to be making an attempt too exhausting, merely making a useful and helpful format. Typically, that’s simply what customers want.
One in every of its distinctive patterns is “Full width picture with apart caption.” It locations an Picture block within the content material, adopted by a Columns block. The “caption” on this case is just not a caption in any respect. As an alternative, it’s a Separator and Paragraph.
I really like this idea, however I query the implementation. The design itself might have been achieved with a customized block type on the Picture block and some traces of CSS focusing on the caption factor. Maybe the workforce needed to offer customers extra customizability.
Captions aren’t presently self-contained blocks. Nevertheless, there is an open ticket to separate them from their dad or mum containers. The change would give theme authors and customers extra design freedom.
I’m typically not a fan of the offset-column patterns that appear to be a signature of the Automattic’s themes nowadays. There may be positively a little bit of that blended in. Nevertheless, the “Paragraph with quote” sample matches properly with the general design, the first column aligning with the textual content above it.
Technically, this can be a three-column design. The left column is empty, and the opposite two columns maintain the content material. It provides the phantasm that the Quote block is the one factor moved exterior the container.
I’ve seen this system employed to align blocks prior to now. At greatest, it really works as a fast hack, nevertheless it has a shaky basis that crumbles at varied display screen sizes. It additionally exhibits that the block system nonetheless lacks a sturdy set of format instruments. In 2022, there are such a lot of methods to perform this design with CSS as an alternative of column hacks. Nevertheless, theme authors use the instruments they’ve available. Till the core design instruments mature, they’ll proceed experimenting and innovating in their very own means.
I welcome the experimentation within the Skatepark theme. The default inexperienced could by no means be my cup of tea, however that’s OK. I wish to see theme authors pushing boundaries and making an attempt new issues. Plus, beneath all of it, the theme contains one factor that Automattic virtually at all times will get proper: legible typography.