Proposal to Allow Hosting of 3rd-Party Blocks in Gutenberg’s GitHub Repository

In an intriguing proposal, Matias Ventura, Gutenberg’s Lead Architect, suggests allowing the hosting of third-party blocks in the Gutenberg GitHub repository. Ventura acknowledges that there is a growing demand for blocks that may not necessarily fit into the bundled library in core and proposes a compromise by incorporating these niche blocks into the Blocks Directory. These blocks would be designed, developed, published, and maintained by core contributors but available as standalone blocks in the directory.

The Block Directory, which has been included in the Block Editor since WordPress 5.5, offers users the ability to install single-purpose plugins directly within the editor. However, its implementation has been met with some criticism due to technical limitations and potential performance issues. Despite these concerns, the Block Directory has evolved to become an integral part of Gutenberg’s functionality.

The latest proposal to host third-party blocks in the Gutenberg GitHub repository raises questions about the technical functionality, user experience, and monetization of these blocks. While the proposal offers the benefits of shared maintenance and the stamp of approval, it also restricts certain block types such as Dynamic Blocks and block collections.

Ventura’s proposal signifies a shift in Gutenberg’s evolution from an experimental add-on to a mature platform. Instead of shipping an ever-expanding array of specialized blocks, Gutenberg will focus on fundamental core blocks while accommodating niche blocks as “cherished friends” who are welcome to stay over.

This administrative reform aims to address the tension between users’ demand for more functionalities and maintainers’ preference for a lean core. By incorporating third-party blocks into the Blocks Directory, both segments of the community can benefit. Most websites are built using a combination of commonly used blocks, and having these niche blocks readily available in the directory will cater to user demands while maintaining a lean core.

While there are still unresolved concerns surrounding technical functionality, user experience, and monetization, Ventura’s proposal offers a promising step towards finding a middle ground between user demands and maintaining a streamlined core. As Gutenberg continues to evolve, it is clear that the platform values the contributions of plugin developers and aims to provide a platform for their creations within the WordPress ecosystem.

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