Switching to WordPress Full Site Editing for the New Year

This week, I redesigned my portfolio to use WordPress’ (new?) Full Site Editing feature. For about the past year I’ve been participating in WordPress’ Full Site Editing (FSE) outreach program. While I haven’t been as active as I’d like to be lately, I really enjoyed contributing to that program.

One of the things that I think about a lot is how non-programmers can contribute to an open source project. In the Pressbooks community, I’m frequently one of the open source users that tries to help identify problems, put in accurate bug reports, and submit new ideas. In the Commons in a Box OpenLab Community, I attend the community meetings and fill a pretty similar role. I did an accessibility check of the OpenLab theme, and opened five or six tickets with some actionable suggestions to improve the program.

WordPress was always a little more intimidating. It’s such a large program, with so many moving parts, that I didn’t know where to start contributing. When I was introduced to Anne McCarthy and the FSE Outreach experiment, I thought, this was a way that I could contribute. So every month or so, Anne would come up with a new challenge or project to try to build with the features in FSE. I’d do a screen recording, and show every place I got stuck in the process, which showed the designers where improvements needed to be made.

It was around six months ago that I found myself gravitating towards using FSE themes instead of traditional WordPress themes, but one place I just never made the plunge was this website / portfolio.

The impetus to change actually come from implementing ActivityPub so that my blog can be followed by users of the Fediverse like Mastodon. The most important page on a WordPress site that has implemented ActivityPub is the author page, and using a FSE theme would allow me to customize the author template and make it look the way I wanted it to look.

It was a little work to get my frontpage the way I wanted it, and I spent longer than I should have on the author page, but I’m very pleased with the result. I know I’ll keep choosing FSE themes from now on.

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