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WordPress Twenty Nineteen Theme Review

WordPress Twenty Nineteen Theme Review

Xmas is on its way, and so is WordPress 5.0. There’s a lot of chatter about Gutenberg—the new content editor in WordPress—which I haven’t actually used yet but might try at some point. Others of us are more cautiously optimistic, so a lot of theme developers are going to have some work to do.

The WordPress developers themselves are leading the way with a brand new theme, and they’re predictably, in a blinding flash of originality, calling it Twenty Nineteen! It is intended to provide flexibility and be customizable.

There seem to have been two clear priorities in developing this new theme:

Gutenberg Integration

Clearly the devs want to show off what Gutenberg can do, and put their best foot forward in that arena. They want us to see what we can do with Gutenberg’s layout tools, so they have refrained from doing too much layout themselves.

We get a big single column; and inside that, we get the content area, and everything it now offers. What it offers is—if the screenshots are anything to go by—is not overly impressive, but not bad either.

As a nice side addition, they’ve used SASS to implement both front-end and back-end CSS. They want the content to look pretty much the same in the editor as it does on the front end. I am particularly interested in seeing how well this works, as it could mean big things both for designers who love WordPress as a platform, and for our clients.

An all round business and potential eCommerce theme.

WordPress wiltl never abandon their blog-centered user base, but they’ve been adding more and more goodies for those developers that love to stretch the CMS to its limits. Until now, all default themes have been, first and foremost, blogging themes.

There is no default Woocommerce functionality in Twentynineteen so this has to be added if someone wants to try it with Woocommerce and build an eCommerce theme around it.

With Gutenberg’s integration coming, it seems that they’ve decided to expand their horizons in the theme-building department, in deference to everyone who uses WordPress as a more traditional CMS. This is reflected in the screenshots they provide of a typical business site:

Technical Bits

We will, hopefully, get to find out how well it all works on November 19th of this year, when WordPress 5.0 comes out. They’ve got a shortened development cycle, though, so it may be delayed if they run into significant bugs.

You can try out a standard testing WordPress version here:

https://github.com/minimallinux/twentynineteen

And a basic Woocommerce integration here:

https://github.com/minimallinux/twentynineteen-woo.git

You can find more screenshots on WordPress’ own blog post here:

https://make.wordpress.org/core/2018/10/16/introducing-twenty-nineteen/

Finally, Twenty Nineteen is based on a combination of the Underscores theme and Gutenberg Starter Theme.

Our Impressions

Twenty Nineteen is intended to be a nearly blank slate, as default themes tend to be. The typography is superb, while remaining flexible enough to be used for different kinds of sites. There will, most likely, be a fair amount of customization available in any case.

It’s not an earth shattering experience, but then it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be a foundation that helps a million would-be publishers get up and running, and help developers understand how Gutenberg is intended to be used. I expect it to be good at that!

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