Gutenberg Adds Basic Child Theme Support

The recent Gutenberg v11.6 adds basic support for block-based child themes. When this feature land in WordPress core is not known yet.

At the time of writing this post, there are 18 experimental block themes with full site editing features. However, testing some these themes and adding preferred customization is currently hindered by lack of creating child theme documentation.

Covering recent Gutenberg v11.6 features s on WP Tavern, Justin Tadlock writes:

… all of the components of Full Site Editing have not entirely supported child themes until now. There are still a few pieces left to fit into the puzzle, but the system should work, mostly.

Justin Tadlock on WP Tavern

The current full site editing features on child theme includes, the templates, template parts, and theme.json files from a child theme completely overrule those from the parent block theme and any changes work on both the front end and in the site editor.

Child Themes for Blockbase is being Simplified

The Blockbase readme page describes creating child themes using Blockbase, a parent theme designed by Automattic theme team to create Blockbase child themes, similar to _S starter theme for PHP-based classic themes. Guides to create child theme using Blockbased is described using either node/npm development environment (easy way) or creating manually without using development build tools. development way (which involves node/npm installation) or by manual

According to the guide, it is recommended to “use this theme assign it as the parent theme and then copy from this them to the child theme the theme.json file and fill out the details”.

Currently, a child themes does not inherit the parent’s theme.json settings and it needs to be copied to a child theme. According to a GitHub ticket, the current script-based child theme build process for the Blockbase is also being simplified. As of this writing, efforts are underway to simplify parent/child code.

Maintaining updates is currently hassle and comes with a burden of updating any new changes manually and running the build tools whenever changes are made to Blockbase, but sometimes it might also be necessary to update the format of the child-theme.json file, as well.

Updated 10, 2021

There is a GitHub ticket with an interesting proposal to create a Blockbase child theme from the WordPress admin dashboard itself. Once the brief form is filled and press “create theme” button, that will generate a child theme with all necessary files which then can be uploaded like any other child theme.

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