As activity ramps up to try to get WordPress 5.0 released in November, Matt Mullenweg has announced who will lead phase two of the Gutenberg project. Phase two focuses on Customization and entire site layouts.

Alexis Lloyd, Head of Design Innovation at Automattic, will handle the design and product side. Riad Benguella, a JavaScript Engineer at Automattic, will handle the technical side of the project.

One of the goals of phase two is to replace widgets with blocks and menus with a navigation block. Lloyd and Benguella commented on the post, introducing themselves to the community.

“Hi all! I’m thrilled to be working on phase 2 of Gutenberg,” Lloyd said. “I think there’s a huge opportunity to take the ease of use that has been brought to page/post editing in phase 1 and extend that to the full site experience.

“I’m coming from many years leading design and product teams in news organizations (including designing and building custom CMSes), and am looking forward to bringing my experience to WordPress, as well as learning from the deep expertise in the community!”

“Hi all! I’m so excited to be working with you all alongside @alexislloyd to build upon the amazing technology that is Gutenberg in order to bring the content creation experience in WordPress to a whole new level,” Benguella said.

“For those who don’t know me yet, I’m a JavaScript engineer at Automattic. I’ve been fortunate to have contributed to the Gutenberg project since its beginning, including a lot of work on Gutenberg APIs, JavaScript in Core, and Accessibility.

“I look forward to bringing my humble expertise to achieve the second phase of this project, as we look into things like widgets, menus, templates, and site-building in general.”

Theseus’s Paradox Makes More Sense Now

In episode 331 of WordPress Weekly, one of the items we discussed with Gary Pendergast is the future of Gutenberg beyond the editor. At its core, Gutenberg is supposed to unify a number of areas of WordPress.

Blocks are the unifying evolution of what is now covered, in different ways, by shortcodes, embeds, widgets, post formats, custom post types, theme options, meta-boxes, and other formatting elements. They embrace the breadth of functionality WordPress is capable of, with the clarity of a consistent user experience.

From the Gutenberg Plugin Page

I hypothesized that since Gutenberg is an interface to manage blocks and that menus as well as widgets will become blocks, the menus and widget management pages in the WordPress backend can be replaced or removed in favor of Gutenberg.

In this way, the Menu and Widget management boards on the Ship of Theseus would be replaced without sinking or disrupting the entire boat.

With Mullenweg’s announcement regarding phase two, the Ship Of Theseus or Theseus’s paradox begins to make more sense. Gutenberg becomes the foundation for bringing many areas of the WordPress project up to par without starting from scratch.