The independent theme developer’s field guide to modern WordPress

The maturation of the block editor brought with it a major shift in how WordPress theme development was expected to work. For many independent developers and small agencies, this shift seemed like an huge disruption to their workflow – a once-reliable codebase now in flux, entirely new coding languages and tooling to learn, and layers of complexity added to tools (like hooks and queries) that used to be simple and accessible.

The questions seem overwhelming: How do we build something modern for our clients while ensuring its stability and reliability in the years to come? How do we find the time to learn all these new tools while continuing to produce quality work (and support ourselves or our team in the process)? Can’t I just keep doing it the way I was doing it?

Through my own experience as a full-time independent developer – building and supporting real projects with classic WordPress, the block editor, “hybrid” themes, and Full Site Editing as these features were introduced – I will share what I have learned about navigating the triumphs and pitfalls of modern WordPress theme development, and how to confidently decide which tools and features make sense for your projects.