Classic Themes And Block Themes

There are a couple of tricky concepts we need to learn before starting to discover how to unveil everything about a WordPress Theme, and those are the differences between “classic” and “block” themes.

Classic Themes

Up until the Twenty Twenty One Theme included, WordPress Themes were released as “Classic Themes.”

These are built with PHP files (following the WordPress hierarchy) and allow us to use the customizer to add our CSS.

The tricky thing: We can add “WordPress blocks” in the editor and in the widget areas, but that’s all we’ll be able to do with the blocks.

Classic themes are updated on regular basis, and they have been evolving very fast since the introduction of the “WordPress blocks”. However, not all classic themes offer the blocks in the same way. For instance, the Twenty Twenty One Theme allow us to change the padding of the “Group Block” from the WP Editor; the Twenty Twenty theme doesn’t.

More Info: https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/classic-themes/

Block Themes (Full Site Editing)

Unlike the Classic Themes which are built with PHP files (and more), Block Themes are built with “blocks.”

This means mainly, two things:

  1. we can create our own templates (what we used to do with PHP files) from the WordPress dashboard.
  2. we say goodbye to the customizer and use a json file instead

More Info: https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/block-themes/

Which One Should We Choose?

This is up to you.

With Block Themes (such us the Twenty Twenty Two), you won’t need to code to change the layout or add menus, for instance. However, adding other features to the theme, such us hooks and filters, is another game for which you’ll probably need to install a plugin.

With Classic Themes, you’ll need to code to do the above, which gives you more control over your theme. Customizing a theme with CSS is very easy.

And, if you’re looking forward to eventually create a Child Theme, WordPress has published a free handbook with all its functions, hooks and etc, so that we can learn how to do it.

If you’re looking to learn how to code (with HTML, CSS, PHP and WordPress functions), I suggest you to use a Classic Theme. The functionally of the WordPress Block Themes is not yet at its best, so you may want to wait a little bit longer to dig into that new world.

Laly York. Neurodivergent Gen-X writer / B.Ed. / Lawyer. Writing, coding and taking pics. From Jupiter, living in a soap opera; flying on the web with three blogs.

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