280 – Need some design inspiration? Try Extendify’s pattern collection

Interview with Chris Lubkert and Nathan Wrigley

So you’ve tried Gutenberg, and you might like to or you might not! But one thing that you cannot really argue about is that it’s got some room for improvement.

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During the last few release cycles there’s been more and more talk about block patterns and how they’re going to make WordPress website building more straightforward.

What are block patterns though? Well, I’m glad that I asked!

Block patterns are a collection of blocks that have been built and saved away for future use. So think about a typical use case, you have a hero section of your website that you might use over and over again. You build it one time, adding in a variety of blocks, and once you’re happy, you save it and then later you can add it into any other part of your website with the click of a button.

But here’s the problem. The block editor is still a little but, how shall we say it… fun to use. It’s got some quirks and you might not find it as easy as you’d wish to get pixel perfect patterns.

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Step in Extendify. They have a suite of pre-made block patterns which you can use. It’s really all about making life simple.

You browse their collection of patterns use whichever ones take your fancy.

You could stop there, but because of the way that Extendify is built, all their designs are out in the open for you to modify and inspect once you’ve downloaded them.

This means a few things:

  • you can adjust them as however you like
  • you can use this as a chance to learn how block patterns are created by looking at the settings and how the Extendify team have built them
  • you can use them as a base layer to start your own block patterns; creating your own library

On the podcast today Chris Lubkert talks about Extendify. Why it was built and how it all works.

There’s a free version and a subscription version which allows you unlimited access to the growing library of patterns.

We get into the weeds of the technicalities of where the patterns reside, how you might use them and how they’re presented to you in categories.

One of the things that I did not really understand when we started the recording was that, with a few minor exceptions, the Extendify patterns are built on top of WordPress Core blocks. Why does this matter, again, I’m glad that I asked! It matters because it means that you’re not locked into the Extendify ecosystem. Should you wish to discontinue using Extendify after a year, you can uninstall it and all-the-things should continue to work. Like I say there’s a few minor caveats around that, but you can hear Chris’ explanation in the podcast, it’s mostly to do with some CSS.

We also talked about the updates that Extendify is receiving. Are they adding new patterns all the time, and if so do they purge old ones as the Core blocks which they rely on get updated.

Some other questions tackled in the podcast include:

  • What level of customisation is possible once the designs are on the site – can a user alter much?
  • How is it categorised?
  • What’s the promise of WordPress blocks over Page Builders?
  • The Extendify Pattern Library has no settings. Why is that?
  • How often to you add / purge designs?
  • Can people submit designs? Is there a path to getting paid for submitting patterns?
  • How many downloads do I get on the free tier?

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Transcript (if available)

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Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.

Hello there and welcome once again to the WP Builds podcast, you've reached episode number 280 entitled need some design inspiration, try Extendify pattern collection. It was published on Thursday, the 26th of May, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and I'll be joined by Chris from extended family in a few moments.

But before then a few bits of housekeeping, the page builder summit is back it's version 4.0, and it's all happening between the 20th and the 24th of June, 2022. Why not get the calendar out right now and put that. 20th to the 24th of June, 20 22, 5 days of WordPress page builder stuff, lots and lots of different presentations from lots and lots of different speakers.

Some of it very technical talking about how to achieve different things in particular page builders, some of it more design related, but they're sure to be something for everybody. So go to page builder, summit dot. That's page builder, summit.com and join our wait list. And if you do that, we'll keep you updated as, and when we have news as the event approaches, it's not that far away now, the event would love some new sponsors.

And if you are working for a company that would be interested in sponsoring such an event we'd love to hear from you as well. You can head over to page builder, summit.com forward slash sponsors to find out more. Once more Pagebuilder summit.com forward slash sponsors. If you enjoy the WP Builds podcasts, and I certainly hope that you do feel free to subscribe.

WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe, and we will keep you updated. Also go out and share it on your podcast player. Give us a rating, give us a review. Or you could just tweet us at WP Builds.

WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by GoDaddy Pro. GoDaddy Pro the home of managed WordPress hosting that includes free domain, SSL, and 24 7 support. Bundle that with The Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients and get 30% of new purchases. You can find out more by going to go.me forward slash WP Builds. That's go.me forward slash WP Builds. And we do thank GoDaddy for their support and helping us to put on the WP Builds podcast.

Speaking of which, what have we got for you today? We've got Chris Lubkert from extended. If I now extend, if I is a suite of patterns that you can use to improve your designs, if you're using the block editor. Even if you're not using the block editor, it may be that you struggle to come up with inspiration for designs while they've got absolutely loads in store for you.

There's a lot of people using it. There's a lot of fun, fair about what it can do and the really nice thing, which I didn't understand at the start. And as you'll learn, I learned as the episode went on, there is no tie in that means that if you on install, extend, if I, and decide, you just want to go on your own, everything.

With a few minor caveats, just keep going exactly as it was. So the whole no locking thing is quite a curious thing. Anyway, Chris is a lovely guest and I hope that you enjoy it. I am joined on the podcast today by Chris . Hi, Nathan. We have had many conversations actually over the last few weeks on various different podcasts and summits and all of that kind of stuff.

But Chris is here today to talk about block patterns. So if you're interested in the future of WordPress via the block editor, this is going to be a nice conversation for you. If you're not interested in. Blocks and patterns via the blog editor. Pay attention because I suspect this is going to be the future for a lots of us building WordPress websites.

Just before we begin, Chris, it's a bit of a bland question, but it's the best way to start. Tell us about yourself. How come you're on a WordPress podcast? What's your journey with WordPress? Yeah. So Chris love Kurt. I am a co-founder of extended. our we're. Focused on improving the WordPress experience, being easy for people to create their digital presence.

And I started my WordPress journey at automatic and that was my first deep dive into WordPress at Automatica was doing corporate development. So that's acquisitions and investments both in and around the WordPress space, quite a tumbler and things like that. So that gave me. A good perspective on the ecosystem overall, but also worked on some internal growth initiatives as well.

And so that's where it really opened my eyes personally, to how massive the ecosystem is and how great of an opportunity there is to, for folks to use WordPress and be successful with their digital presence and do so in a way that's open and gives them all the freedoms that we all know and love.

So we have Extendify now. If you are unfamiliar with extended, if I suggest that you pause this podcast, go to Xtend, defy.com. It's actually a dimension E X T I N D I F Y. Dot com go and have a little poke around and then maybe click. Did I get that wrong? I apologize. Yeah. X, E N D I F y.com. Okay.

Thank you for the correction there. That's good. So Extendify.com. I'm sure you can Google it and find it that way, but go and see what it is, and then come back and listen to the podcast because that's what we're going to get into Chris. What on earth is a block pattern. Let's just begin. So I think we're all familiar, obviously with the Gutenberg, the block editor it enables people to create pages and experiences.

In the editor, in a kind of a Wiziwig type way leveraging blocks, different components that they can use to build their site. And a block pattern is essentially a collection of those blocks that creates a part of a site. So we think about that. It could be a team pattern, that talks about your team and has some.

Headshots and titles, it could be a pricing pattern that has a series of blocks that lay out your pricing that you offer as a business. It could be a hero section, or it could be anything any section of your site we think of as a pattern it's a collection of blocks there. And then if you.

Combined several patterns together into a full page in our world. We refer to those as layouts page layouts, kind of people can describe people. People describe them as, as well. But so you've got to build up from the smallest component, which is a block up to a pattern up to a full page.

And then finally, a full site kid, if you combine multiple different pages together. And the principle here is that you are able to take a design. Which is pre-configured by somebody. Honestly I can design nothing. I'm really dreadful. And, but I can just go in use, extend, defy, and click on something.

And immediately I get a row, I get a whole predesigned row for something like you said, a header or what have you. And it's a one click solution. And then you go in and customize what's been brought into the page is that sort of stuff. Yeah, that's right. I would say from a design standpoint, there's the structure I would differentiate from the colors and the fonts and things like that.

What the extended has a library of patterns and layouts that you can access in the editor and kind of click it and add it to your page variously. But we are not imposing. Colors and fonts and things like that. It is theme responsive. We describe it as theme responsive. So regardless, you know what, whatever theme you're using our patterns and layouts will adapt to those styles and fit within that kind of design system that you already have set up on your site.

The, either a variety of different ways in which you can lay out, lay blocks out to get with each other. Pretty unique and interesting looking psych components and patterns and things like that. But Yeah, that's it. It's an important distinction, I guess there are certainly times where people can find, Hey, I like this pattern.

I liked this page, but if it has blue buttons instead of red buttons and the font's a little bit different and the spacing is a little bit off, you're gonna end up with this Frankenstein looking site, that nothing's ever going to feel like it all goes together. And so we're our goal in keeping that theme responsive is to ensure we have a cohesive site, as people use different patterns customize it to.

To fit their needs. Okay. So let's just drill down into that. So what you're saying is that you provide, if you like the scaffolding that Mo like the, almost like the wire frame, you bring along the way it is designed, the partings the margin, the spacing. But if you are on theme a, which has got red buttons, then you get red buttons.

And if you're on theme B, which has got blue buttons, you get blue buttons and you can switch between those because extend, if I doesn't bring along those. Design decisions they're handled by the theme and you stay out. That's right. We're not locking into anything and you'll see what it looks like. So we use a live previews in the library.

So you're not looking at just a scaffolding or you're not looking at something that's just black and white generic. You'll actually see exactly what it's going to look like on your page with your style and the kind of theme. Applied to that okay. Yeah. Just curious, because I'm sure most people have dabbled with the block editor, even if that's just writing text and putting paragraphs in and block quotes and whatever else it might be, but the promise of the block editor and I still, I'm not entirely sure we've got there yet.

The promise of the block editor was. To be able to design the site from the ground up and do everything. But I'm guessing that a tool like extend if I is here because it's not as straightforward for the end user without certain skills to put something beautiful. And that just looks really finished and has got lots of wow about it.

That's still a difficult thing to achieve in the block editor. Hence extended. If I, cause you want to take that drama away from her. Yeah, that's right. I think the block editor is more powerful than people oftentimes get credit for, but it takes a fair amount of work to really learn and figure it all out.

So if you wanted a new weekend hobby and you are you wanting to learn a new skill and invest time into how to build. Beautiful sites using the block editor. You could do that and you could do everything that extended by does all on your own. It's certainly possible. There's not anything that we're doing that, that no one else could learn how to do themselves.

But it's interesting. You describe the ability to use the block editor, to build a site from the ground up. A lot of ways, what we're solving is the blank canvas problem, starting from a blank slate, how, how do we instead give someone a starting point, that's 90% of the way there.

And then they just need to tweak and edit it and add their content or swap out a few images and then they have something good to go. So how do we really get over that first initial hump and accelerate the time for people to get to this launch point and basically. Yeah, I guess one of the, okay, so there's always going to be comparisons made between proprietary page builders, the likes of element or what have you, and the block editor.

One of the, one of the things that I find really. Powerful about the block editor is that the settings that you get, if you drag in an element or a module with beaver builder, you're, you've got what you've got in that module. You've got the space to put the text and you've got the space to upload an image.

And if you're a developer, you can modify that. But if you're not a developer, whatever that module tells you've got is what you've got. Whereas with the block editor, it's just a collection of blocks. And so if you don't want there to be. I dunno an H one in that location, you just delete it or move it down and move it left and move it.

And I think that's one of the great things about it, which is not generally thought about is that you can put Amy block inside of your patterns, right? That's right. Yeah. We, one very core premise of how we're building extended fire is to stay native to core as much as possible. Limiting any of the styling options you have or limiting what you can add to your page?

What the end result is after you've used extended five to piece together, some of those sections or using some of our layouts. It's all in the core editor itself. So anything you can do with the WordPress core editor you can do with a page or a site you've built with extended high. So it's not locking you into any kind of system or set of.

Yeah, capabilities it's infinitely extensible, essentially. Okay. I think we should drill down into this a bit more cause this is interesting. And I think in many ways, this is a, like the UVP for extended five, because on the one hand you've got you've got a lot of block. What should I call them?

Let's call them suites of blocks. So you've got the likes of this cadence and stackable and a bunch of others. They take a really different approach. Don't they take the approach that they're going to concentrate on. The block and I know they've got templates and what have you, but they bring along their bespoke blocks would there be spoke setting.

So they might have, I don't know, a heading block and it behaves in the way that they want their heading block to work. But you're saying that everything that you have in your templates and patterns is built up from the blocks that are on every single WordPress. That's right. Yep. We're sticking. This is the second element of sticking close to chorus.

So the first is, not creating a separate editor, separate builder, as you talked about. And then the second is even within the current editor, how do we leverage core blocks in interesting and unique ways, still to create compelling designs using those core blocks. But do it in a way that it has two benefits, one which you described where you don't have.

One block over here that has these settings and these capabilities, and this one over here that has a different set of kind of customizing options. And next thing you know, you have three different image, blocks all used in different places, and you have to figure, you figure out what you can do with each one.

It's everything that's used in core. And then the second is. You don't have to keep all of these things installed and updated and rely on someone to keep them supported. So if you've created a site using several different block collections block suites, as you called them, you have to make sure that all of those collections are kept up to date.

Nothing is unsupported anymore conflicts with the next version of WordPress, whatever it is. And so you can quickly find yourself in this position where it gets unwieldy. And so I think the promise of some of these things, if you've picked one sweet one kind of collection and just stuck with that and use that every time and it suited your needs and you never needed anything else, that's probably an okay solution.

Just realizing though that you're locked into that collection, you always have to have that. Live and active on that site or else things are going to really not work out well, if you ever try to change away from that. Yeah, I th I think that is the message that the extend, if I need to beat the gong about is that it's just built on top of core blocks.

And so you can put anything into any of your patterns in templates. You can drag in the designs that you've gotten from there. It's just a starting point. You can delete things, add things, put anything in. And I think that is a really different thing. And I'm not sure that most people have grasped that about it.

A few people that I've talked to about extended. If I clearly didn't get the point that it was no. It's just called blocks. What? Oh, okay. Because they're so used to the page builder analogy where you've got the modules and the modules behave in certain ways. And if you, if it doesn't look right with that module, you have to find another module as opposed to your solution where you just drag things around and put things in and what have you.

So yeah. Yeah, I think it was right. And we needed to do a better job of getting that message out there and a lot of ways, but this idea of staying close to core, it really does come with. A meaningful set of benefits and it's important approach that we take as a company that is not easy actually.

I think in a lot of ways it may be easier for us to have created our own set of modules and only use that and create a very controlled environment. But then we may not be all that different than Wix, right? Wix is a very controlled expire X environment as well. They can control every element of it.

Extend it, if you will, pun intended there, but our kind of our full our intention here was to combine the experience that you would get with some of these closed platforms, but enabling people to still get all the benefits of a truly open platform and not being locked in. Yeah, that's really fascinating.

You you've got a team. Do you just want to give us a little bit of background on the team? How many people you're out at the moment? I it's not necessarily something that anybody needs to know, but it gives some idea of the, the level of commitment that you've gotten. What have you. Yeah, absolutely.

We have about 10 people that we work with across both core team members and some folks who work with on a contract basis as well. And we are. I'll put a little plug in here. We're actively looking to grow the team. So if you are someone out there who's passionate about the future of WordPress and Gutenberg in the block editor specifically, and are interested in helping to improve the experience for hundreds of millions of WordPress users out there.

We would love to do love to talk. We're always looking to add great passionate people to the team but feel really good about the group we have and this set of experiences across the team and we're cruising along. Yeah. Okay. Thank you. Normally we leave the pricing bit till the end, but I think the pricing piece fits.

Nicely here before we get into what you're going to actually see. Do you just want to outline the sort of structure that you've got the different models because there's free and then there's paid, just give us an idea of what you get on free and how that works. And then what do we get when we go paid?

And how does. Yeah. So there is a free version, which is you can grab the extent of my plugin from the repository, and you can see how it works with your theme and your setup. It's limited in terms of the number of imports, number of patterns you can add to your page each month. So each month you got a 10 that you can use.

So if that's good for you, you can just keep using the free version. The, we have a subscription to extend a by pro that allows you unlimited usage in terms of the number of patterns and also access to some more exclusive pro premium patterns there as well. That's how that's the model for the library that, and how people can use extended fine, and check it out.

Okay. And with the pro version, if you're on the monthly subscribe, And you're an agency. Do you have a limit on the number of sites that it can be deployed on before you have to go to a different tier? Or is it just on limited on anything that you create with your subscription? Yeah. So you can put extended fight on an unlimited number of sites, essentially because the plugin itself is not, what is.

Kind of pre premium or paid if it's not, this is not a pro version of the plugin. So what we allow is it's on a per user basis, but like somebody who wants to use extended five to build sites, that person can choose to use it on a single site, or there's an option for them to use it on an unlimited number of sites.

And then. Yeah, build as many sites as they wish with that. Got it. Okay. Okay. Imagine that let's talk about from now on, let's assume that I'm on the paid version and I'm allowed to access it on limitedly. So I've installed the plugin. I've got my subscription bound to the plugin and I'm off to the races.

How does it actually work? What do I do? What do I see in the user interface? And I know we're on a podcast, it's audio, it's hard, but let's give that a go. What are we actually interacting? Yeah. So you would interact with extended file in the editor itself. So the page or the post editor.

So if you are creating a page you will then see a button at the top of the editor that opens up the extent of my library as a modal, right in the editor itself. And you can. Filter the patterns and layouts based on the type of site you're creating, which will have copy and content images, et cetera, that will match the type of site that's being created, whether it's a yoga studio or a.

Restaurant or a plumber or whatever it is that you're building. And you can then drill down even deeper to the type of pattern you're looking for. If there are certain design elements, like a background image that you're looking for specifically. And then from there you just click the pattern you want to add to your site and it plops, it pops it right in.

That's pretty. Yeah. So yeah, I think we've seen that all over the place. I, with the idea that there's a button at the top and it brings up some kind of modal and you could search through things and filter things and click the button. And in comes the road. Now you mentioned that there were layouts as well as patterns.

We just briefly touch that. Just tell us what the difference there is. Layouts feel as if it's a more whole page approach. Whereas the patterns feel like they're possibly just rows that you would stack on top of it. Yep. That's exactly it. So a pattern is a section of a page and a land is meant to be a full page.

You can pick a layout and then you can add another pattern to it. You can add to that page. There's nothing that locks you into just that set of patterns there, but. But it's exactly that it's meant to be a full page there. So now you mentioned that you'd done things by industry like plumbing and what have you D do you have the same thing on the template side of things, but maybe it's more okay, here's a template for a contact page.

Here's a template for an about us page or a, I don't know, a landing page or something. Is it done more like that? Yep. That's right. So on the layouts are templates as you call them, those are. It's actually a similar set of categories and a lot of ways, cause it's like I would like a team page or an about us page or whatever, the purpose of the pages.

And a lot of those things could also be sections, even just thinking about. W a single page website, might have these components. You could either have a pattern that supports one of those, one of those elements or a full-page layout that really serves up that type of page that you'd want on your site.

It just struck me that a curious use of extended. If I, and maybe this isn't what the intended purpose is, but it struck me that if you were on the free version and you had no intention of going to the paid version, you could in fact download a few and just. How people on your team have tackled the problem of making Gutenberg do what it was told and laying things out because a, you can see the things in the, I never remember what the name, the list view.

There we go. You can see the way that things are laid out in the list view. And presumably you can hop around and figure out, oh, that's done with a better padding over here. And there's some margin there. And what have you, it's maybe not what you intend for people to do, but that's a possibility it could be used as an educational.

Yeah, inspiration as how we say it, but yeah, absolutely. If you're curious about how things are done, feel free to poke around. You can also reach out to us, like we're happy to, you don't really like anyone. I think sharing the experience that we've had in creating these and creating unique and beautiful designs, using core elements is something, we're happy to do and yeah, but you can.

Use something that you use any of the patterns or layouts, see how they've been built up. You could copy them to another site and tweak it and make it your own, it's any of that's possible. Cause it's all just adding these core elements to your site as we've talked about it.

So there's nothing really proprietary that prevents anyone from doing anything like that and experimenting and making. There was a post on the WP Tavern website. It was a while ago. Now I think we're going back three or four months where rich table, who works with you. He talks about the fact that it's you've got patterns and layouts, and he said to quote, it's built completely with core blocks, infused with a clever utility design system.

And I'm just going to ask you to explain what the clever utility design system is. In other words, is there something. That we can't see that you've, there's some magic going on somewhere. That means that we couldn't necessarily replicate it. Or is that just language for, we're good at CSS?

It is. It's not that it's not that you can't see it, but it may not be obvious to people unless they dug in a little bit deeper and how we're putting some of these things together. So we. With anything, any of the styling options that core provides, we lead on just the core option sat there. We're never going to be overriding something with CSS that like, could otherwise just been a setting, a text color, whatever it is, just pulling that in from the, and this goes back to the being theme, responsive and adapting to whatever the theme you're using your global styles.

You've had set on that page, but there are some things that will be. Wanted to do with our patterns. That was not, that were not possible with where core is at the time. I think that's all change over time, frankly. But today that we do use utility classes and it's based on tailwind. So if you're familiar with that, you can use any of those options there to add additional styling elements. We use it sparingly, but we do use it in some situations where, it's just not possible to use the core set of tools that we have, but it's not adding a new setting or something like that. It's just these utility classes that help to make the patterns.

Do we want them to do essentially? Yeah. So nothing obfuscated. Some things are without outside of the boundaries of what the settings in the blocks can actually achieve at the moment. Okay. So that's good to know. So if you run across something and you're scratching your head, maybe you go and look at the extended by documentation and search for tailwind CSS, and see if that can help you out.

You just raised an interesting. And the advanced, if you just click open the advanced panel block settings you'll see what's there. So it's all good. Even easy to forget what I just said. Just look at the advance button at the bottom of the it's a lot easier. You mentioned, and I don't think we did drill down on that, but just to hammer the point home, right?

If you bring in a pattern apart from the bits that you've dropped into the advanced section, every setting. That you see is a core block setting. You haven't brought any new settings along for the ride. So everything in the right hand side, the menu on the right where you can do padding and margin and colors and all of that.

That's what core has got right with that yet. Yeah, you're right about that. And I think that's, we do that for several reasons. One, we want to make sure that. Pulling in the styling elements from the rest of the site and doing so consistently in a way that makes these patterns all work well together.

It also means that anything you're used to doing in core WordPress and the block editor, or even if you don't know how to do it, if you look it up, look at the WordPress documentation and figure out how do I do X, Y, Z with the image pattern, then you can just do that with the extent of the blocks that we have and the extent of high pattern.

Yeah. You don't need to learn a new system, basically in order to customize and change it. After the fact now I have been using Guttenberg largely for text and been dabbling more with the sort of styling options and layouts and what have you more recently. And because I haven't been doing it all that.

I'm not that familiar with what the evolution has been like over the last two to three years. The question really is have you run into problems where layouts that you had yesterday, WordPress core updates, some aspect of the block is changed or modified or altered. And you've had to go back to the drawing board and tweak things a little bit.

Has it been very stable for you or is that something you always have to keep looking at? No, we have to keep up with that for sure. It, the pace, it's really driven by the pace of development for Gutenberg. Either way where the project is now versus where it was two years ago, or even late last year, is quite different.

And so it's very exciting. It's exciting to be a part of and helping to contribute to as well. Like our team participates in five for the future. And so we enjoy. Yeah, moving fast and continue to evolve the experience. And as Gutenberg continues to get better and the editor of WordPress overall continues to get better.

That only helps us as it helps many others in the space generally. So that's all very exciting, but it does mean that we need to keep testing and ensuring. Know, there are no breaking changes. It's not as much of an issue with the patterns themselves. Sometimes, we'll update patterns just to take advantage of new functionality, I'll say, oh, great.

That now this is a, an option that's now available. Let's, create something more interesting. Even our, I mentioned the the library itself, it uses the live preview component. So this is the ability for you to see before you've added to your page. What's the pattern really?

That's going to look like. It would be a lot easier for us just to put a screenshot there. It wouldn't be as compelling for the user or helpful because we wouldn't know exactly what it's gonna look like. But that's an example of something that's evolved quite a bit with WordPress itself and has gotten just better and better but it does change.

So we need to keep up with those changes and ensure that kind of our experience continues to work really nicely with that. And it's complimentary. If I let's just take a block pattern, I've got some kind of hero section block. It doesn't matter whatever pattern I've just thrown into the page.

The moment I drop it into the page, I'm guessing that from that moment on it's standalone, it lives in that page. And it's not in any way, calling back to extend. If I were to say, how should I look? What's going on over here. So in other words, from that moment, the moment it's on the page.

I guess it could break if something dramatically different happened with the coal block, but presumably that the designs that you've already fiddled with and created and downloaded and modified that insulated to a great extent, maybe I'm getting that wrong. I don't know. Yeah, you're right about that.

Yeah. And that's a huge benefit of using core blocks as well, because that means, when WordPress 6.0 comes out there. Th there's no way that the image block is going to now break for everyone. Who's used it in the previous nine versions of WordPress, right? That would be a totally against the mantra of WordPress.

Some of the functionality and, API is the product companies like extend. If I use those may change and evolve, we need to keep up on that. But in terms of what people are, have already used to create and publish their sites, like there are. I'm not saying there will never be a breaking change there, something that will change, but I would assume it would be an accident and patched and fixed, like that is the benefit of using core blocks is that those are tested very thoroughly before ever released to ensure that they continue to function for all the people who've used them today.

Yeah. Yeah, you're right. You're right. We're not touching anything after it's added to the page. Yes. It's an interesting there. Yeah. It's an interesting thought that it just occurs to me. That would be very important and, yeah. Good. Good to get that answer. Thank you. Yeah, there's obviously a lot of, yeah.

One thought is the idea that we're not touching anything afterwards means you're also not locked into continuing to pay for Axonify. We want people to. Yeah, we want it to become an indispensable tool that people use for every site they create and every change they will, every time they. Add something to their site.

They go to extend to five because it's the easiest and most effective way for them to do that. But if somebody, for whatever reason decides I've used this pro premium version for a little while, it's been helpful, but now I don't need it anymore. I'm going to go use something else, nothing on your site changes.

You don't need to keep paying us for updates to ensure things are secure and supported. You're not locked into continuing to pay in that way. We want this, we're giving ourselves a hard job and, but the important job, making sure we're just a great tool that people want to keep paying for it.

Not have to. That is a really curious. Outcome of everything that you've built. I hadn't pieced those bits together, but that makes perfect sense. So with a lot of other things, the security side keeps you coming back for the support, doesn't it? Because you know that there's a bunch of code that.

That could at some point be out of date, possibly somebody discovers a vulnerability in there, but once you've because of the block or the pattern rather once downloaded is divorced from Extendify, it's just WordPress. Yeah. Yeah. That's really, that's fascinating. I hadn't made that connection. That's ingenious.

Yeah. Yep. Whether you're using a page builder or some of these block collections a lot of times, if you stop paying for them, The site that you've created will stay the same for now. But then if there are security updates that are required, like you said, those are you need to keep paying subscribing in order to get those.

Or even if, WordPress 6.0 comes out and something now conflicts, and instead of updating, instead of getting that update, you would have to either stick with what you have and stick on a previous version or pay to get that update. Yeah. That's what we talked about. When you say you're not locked into.

Extended and continuing to use the solution. It just keeps working. It's interesting. Cause I, I feel that the, that messy. He hasn't quite permeated yet. So hopefully people listening to this will have, because I'm now beginning to understand that as in real time, as we speak, I'm getting more of an understanding of what you meant by.

No, lock-in, I hadn't quite understood it in that way. So yeah. That's well explained. Thank you. I get that far more now. That's brilliant. I feel like people will have to potentially experience the negative. Firsthand before they really understand it. You install a bunch of different block collections and all these different tools and one of them then conflicts and you don't have the update.

You just you'll you'll experience. Unfortunately, I think people will experience this for themselves. And so hopefully, yeah, hopefully it's not that big of an issue, but then, they understand the implications of some of these decisions that they make. Obviously the block editor is changing all the time.

There's new blocks being added and additional functionality, maybe additional settings in blocks that have existed for quite some time. Presumably your keeping a close eye on that. And if a new exciting block drops into core, I'm thinking let's go for the navigation block or something like that.

You, you begin to take those on board as well. And they get added in and in the future, we'll have navigation patterns and things like that. Yup. Yup. You will absolutely be seeing, and w so the navigation block is both, in itself is an interesting tool, but it's really made powerful by full site editing.

So as you think about customizing the header and the footer of the site and using patterns for that, Today. And this is actually goes with a lot of whether it's like the header in the footer, but also the patterns in the pages themselves. You have some options for your, with the come with your theme.

So you pick a theme and you can pick a header for it. Our goal, a lot of what we're doing with extended five is decoupling the kind of patterns that you get with the theme that you pick. So instead of just having the couple options that come with your theme, We can enable people to access a wide variety of different patterns for their head or their footer and keep those then if they choose or choose to change their theme.

Yeah. We actually work with some theme authors to enhance their offering, essentially, right? Where like they provide some set of unique set of patterns, but then those users also get access to the like very large library of extended by patterns. So they can, they have both the kind of unique elements, but also ones that they can use to create anything they wish really with.

Yeah. It's nice to know that you're, it's not like there's a tidal wave of new blocks dropping into core every couple of weeks, there are ones and it's nice to know that you're giving those some times, especially around full site editing, because that seems to be where the excitement is going to be for.

12 months, 24 months and yeah, cause that's still new. Yeah. And it's actually quite difficult to get your brain round rounded. I think at this point it's, the old menu system for WordPress has just, it's just burned into my brain now. So anything which isn't, that is oh really? Ah, but I'm getting there.

I'm trying and I'm playing and we'll see how we go. It terms of the design library. So whether that's patterns or the layouts, does it just grow forever? Does it just keep getting bigger and bigger, or do you take the decision sometimes? You know what? We've had that one around for a little while.

It's not quite as interesting or cutting edge as it once was. In other words, do you purge things once in a while just to keep it. Yeah, we want it to be a curated experience where people are, we're providing things that are compelling and meet the needs of whatever someone is looking to create.

So sometimes that means we do update things, replace a pattern with a better version of it, essentially. And I don't think it keeps growing forever, but we do still have a ways to go. We still do have quite a bit of opportunity to create. Components that meet a wide variety of, different needs out there.

So I think one of the biggest elements, there is a lot of our patterns and lats today are very design-focused it's, the elements that you see on the page, but, we have an opportunity to add additional functionality in there that really. Aligns with jobs to be done for that site.

So if you want to, your yoga studio and you want to accept bookings on your site where we're heading in the future is the adding the ability to have a pattern that already has a booking solutions pre-integrated with it as well with it so that, it fits with the goal of whatever the site is looking to accomplish.

We'll see that continue to evolve with that in mind. Do you have an intention to partner and I don't mean partner up in the sense that you'd have, you'd literally be talking to the developers, but to use let's take the example of gravity forms. Everybody's heard of that. Everybody knows what it looks like and what have you Block patterns together where there's a gravity form in it.

And we can see that or the booking, the events calendar or something like that. Yup. Yup. Yup. Yeah. You're spot on. We are very in a, we don't want to build everything ourselves for sure. We've taken that approach both in terms of seeing the benefits of Leveraging core as we've talked about quite extensively so far, but the same goes for additional functionality that is already well-served by other solutions in the space.

So we are very partner friendly and partner focused. So we. Our goal is not to build our own form solution and our own foreign block in that case. It's to give people the flexibility to use whatever they're already comfortable with, but also partner with the leading solutions out there that already have fantastic products and combine that with extended to.

Make a solution that's easy for people to use and meets their needs. So here's a question and I, I genuinely don't know the answer to this. Can you put patterns inside of. Yes, it's a shorter, what I was thinking there was, imagine that I, you had a pattern and it was for some, I dunno image left form.

But you had different you displayed, let's say fluent forms. You could that look different to the way that gravity forms would look. Could you draw. And a pattern for the correct form. That was probably a terrible example. But do you understand what I mean, it might be nice to put different patterns inside of other patterns based around what these third parties are doing.

Yeah. Patterns are essentially just collections of blocks, laid out in a specific way, but there's nothing that. Prevents you from breaking them apart essentially, and saying, I actually want to split this over here and add something in the middle or swap out these different blogs or whatever it is. So you have.

Ultimate freedom essentially, and what you want to do just as you would creating a site from scratch. So there's nothing that locks you into keeping something together, or, not be able to swap something out. Imagining I've just straight into unsafe war today's they it's my ability to overcomplicate even the most straightforward tasks.

Yeah. Let's put, so the conceptual things, sometimes people think about, okay, this is a. This is a group that I have to keep together and I can't do it but really, as I mentioned, there's an unbelievable amount of flexibility you have. So being aware of that and making sure people understand that as is certainly important.

Yeah. That's a good question. Yeah. So extended, by the way, I see it is if I'm consuming the stuff from extended family. So I get a subscription, I examine the library of pump. Layouts and I consume them, download them to my site. And we're off to the races. Is there any thing in a roadmap maybe, are you hoping in the future to, to allow me to modify things and then store them somewhere else?

I know that's probably not the remit. Maybe it is, but I'm just wondering if there's some sort of cloud aspect in the future where I can put my own things once I've modified them and adjusted them to my. Yeah, there are two exciting things. I think we think about as it relates to the cloud kind of opportunity or, where the product evolves.

One is. Likely really targeting the needs of developers, designers, building sites, doing client work giving them the ability to save and customize different patterns and layouts so that they can use that effectively within their workflow. So that's one element.

And I don't know if that's what you were maybe thinking about when you asking a little bit of that. Yeah. Yeah. We do. Yeah, that certainly is in the plans is to make it a better solution that fits within the workflows of those folks. And on our path to becoming that indispensable tool that I described.

So that's one element. The other is right now you can browse the library and kind of filter through that, but we are also working on kind of a, more of a guided onboarding experience where. Yeah, people can answer a series of questions or give input in terms of what they're looking for and essentially on the fly, we create something bespoke to their needs.

And so that's really exciting as well because we can, it's not just you pick from what's available. It's you tell us what you want and click a button. And in a matter of seconds, we've created something, dynamically for you. That feels very unique to what you. What you're looking for.

So that's the other thing that's coming up in the future that I'm excited about. That's really interesting. Yeah. I genuinely liked the idea of that. So I think I've got through all the bits and pieces that I wanted to ask. So I'm just going to throw the open question to you. Is there anything about extended five that I've missed or anything that you feel like I missed the target on?

Just hit us. No, I don't think so. In terms of the product and the experience I think the two things that we are very interested in right now, I've mentioned both of those, but I'll just reiterate it again, which is growing the team. So if you're interested or curious in terms of, in what we're doing, we'd love to talk to you and see if there's a good fit there.

And then also from the partner standpoint, if you are somebody who sees the value in. Improving the experience kind of WordPress experience for your customers. There are pretty exciting ways that we could work together. And we'd love to talk with anyone who is interested in that as well. So great.

That's where we're focused. Yeah. Thank you. And if that were the case and they wanted to go straight to the source, in other words, you we know that the URL is extended by.com. So there's probably ways of reaching out to you there, but specifically you what's the best way to. Yeah, Chris addicts identified that com C H R I [email protected].

Or you can find me, Chris love Kurt on Twitter as well. So those are the two best ways also in WordPress slack and post out a slack. So that's also an option. If that's more comfortable to like me, you have one of those surnames. You can get it on Twitter. It's easy. Yeah. It's not too many lob Kurtz, or Wrigley's the combination of first name and unusual surname just works beautifully.

Chris, thank you so much for talking to us today. You've opened my eyes. There's definitely a few things that I misunderstood that I now get. So appreciate that. I hope that the hope the project succeeds and and we keep downloading patterns as long into the future. Thank you, Nathan. There you go. I hope that you enjoyed that episode with Chris.

Lipka talking all about block patterns and extend. If I, it was really interesting for me, as you probably heard, there was a lot that I needed to learn about that product in particular about the lock-in. If you've got anything you would like to comment about that, please head over to WP Builds.com.

Search for episode number 280. And leave us a comment there. Alternatively, join our Facebook group 3000 plus very polite WordPress's [email protected] forward slash Facebook.

The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by GoDaddy Pro. GoDaddy Pro the home of managed WordPress hosting that includes free domain, SSL, and 24 7 support. Bundle that with The Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients and get 30% of new purchases. You can find out more head to go.me forward slash WP Builds. That's go.me forward slash WP Builds. And we thank GoDaddy Pro for their support of the WP Builds podcast.

Okay. That's it for this week, except one quick, final reminder, page builder summit coming up soon, 20th to the 24th of June, 2020 to find out more page builders, summit dot. Hopefully, we'll see you for the podcast next week, every Thursday, 2:00 PM. UK time, it comes up or this week in WordPress, our live show, you can find out more at WP build stock com.

Okay. I'm going to feed in some cheesy music and I'm going to say, I hope you're well, I hope you stay safe. Bye-bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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