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WP Engine buys Brian Gardner’s Frost and makes it public

What WP Engine Has Done!

WP Engine buys Brian Gardner’s Frost and makes it public

WP Engine acquires Brian Gardner’s Frost and makes it available to the public. Yes, you have read it correct. It has happened: Frost Is Acquired by WP Engine and Made Public.

WP Engine buys Brian Gardner's Frost and makes it public
WP Engine buys Brian Gardner’s Frost and makes it public

What WP Engine Has Done!

WP Engine has bought Brian Gardner’s latest project, Frost, he revealed recently. Gardner stated in an email to all customers that his staff had offered refunds to all current clients. The revenue strategy is shifting, and Frost will now be a free-to-use tool that focuses on complete site editing.

Gardner was offered a new position at WP Engine in September 2021

Gardner published Frost, a WordPress theme, as the principal product of a new startup business earlier this year. The first version was released as a child theme of Genesis, the StudioPress theme framework on which he had spent the majority of his WordPress career. Gardner resigned down from his job as CEO of StudioPress in October 2019 after WP Engine purchased the company in 2018. It didn’t take him long to get back into the WordPress theme creation game, and with Frost, he was able to bring his particular flair back to the world of theming. In September, he was offered a new position at WP Engine.

A link between the WordPress project and its users

“At WP Engine, I’m in charge of the WordPress Developer Relations team,” he said. “Our objective is simple: accelerate WordPress innovation and assist the community in transitioning to the block editor and Full Site Editing (né Gutenberg).” Furthermore, we want to create an interactive and immersive community resource that serves as a knowledge vault and acts as a link between the WordPress project and its users.”

What Gardner’s WP Engine team comes up with

I inquired whether he had anything substantial he could provide, and if so, what shape it would take, but he didn’t elaborate. In general, the faster the ecosystem can evolve, the more resources the development and design community has around the block system. Only time will tell what Gardner’s WP Engine team comes up with.

“As soon as I started at WP Engine in late September, I knew that the company saw the value in working with designers, developers, and artists both inside our Atlas product line and with WordPress.” Gardner said. “While there was interest in Frost when I first arrived, it wasn’t until I had a clear vision for our team that an acquisition became a possibility.” I suggested recruiting Nick Diego and bringing Frost into the company.”

The Block Visibility and Icon Block plugins

The Block Visibility and Icon Block plugins were created by Diego. In late September, he began work on Frost.

“Frost is shifting from a paid to a free product in line with WP Engine’s fundamental philosophy of ‘Committed to Give Back,’ Gardner added. “We offered full refunds to all active clients due to the change in business model.” We think that by open-sourcing Frost and focusing on Full Site Editing, we will inspire a community of builders to experiment with the block editor’s growing possibilities. We believe in its potential and are eager to assist in its development.”

Frost is available to the public through the WP Engine themes repository on GitHub.

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WP Engine: Taking a Chance on Block Theming

Gardner’s choice to sell StudioPress in 2018 was influenced by a number of factors. The uncertainty around the Gutenberg project and the future of WordPress were among them.

“It took me a while to put the pieces together, but once I did, I saw how powerful the block editor has become,” he explained. “Block patterns, global styles, and building themes, in particular, excite me since they allow people to make attractive websites with little work.”

Frost was the product of his newfound excitement for the block system. I’ve gotten a chance to play around with the theme a bit. Gardner’s characteristic minimalist design style is present, with a concentration on understandable typography and enough of white space for the information.

Should allow users to rapidly set up their sites

Simpler designs, independent of the theme author, seem to be the norm these days with any block theme. Frost’s block patterns are likely to set it apart. It currently has 38 of them on board. The layouts, as well as the theme’s own block styles, should allow users to rapidly set up their sites.

“I am a major fan of block patterns and see their potential when matched with theme.json’s developing support of design/style components,” Gardner added. “In addition, I believe the site editor will be a game-changer for WordPress and those who build for it once it matures.”

Eventually make their way into core WordPress

Gardner and Diego separated the Block Pattern Explorer plugin from the Frost library plugin. He has made it freely available to everyone. They also planned to use it to serve the Frost designs. The goal is that the plugin’s innovations will eventually make their way into core WordPress.

Patterns for the Frost theme are available through Block Patterns Explorer.
Patterns for the Frost theme are available through Block Patterns Explorer.
A little more refined appearance

The appearance is a little more refined than core. It has category types, which the theme utilizes to distinguish its own pattern categories from those of other themes. Users can preview patterns on a PC, tablet, or mobile device using the experimental explorer plugin. It also provides a straightforward “Add Pattern” button for adding a block pattern to the article.

WP Engine want to deactivate the plugin once its functionalities are included into WordPress

Since Gardner first dived into WordPress theming over a decade ago, it’s come a long way. Users had to open template files to change many aspects of their homepage back then. Users will have the same power as we move toward WordPress 5.9. They will, however, make changes to Frost using the WordPress site editor rather than PHP files.

“I believe we are circling back to some extent,” he admitted. It was in answer to a query about his early days of designing WordPress themes versus currently.

“While WordPress will never be merely a blogging tool, it appears that the program is maturing.” The irony is that WordPress is being used in sophisticated ways that, to be honest, I never imagined were conceivable. Personally, I am a firm believer in the power of simplicity. That’s become my compass for everything I make. It’s helped me navigate the changes over time of an ever-changing software landscape.”

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