Upgrading a classic theme for Gutenberg

With the release of WordPress 5.0 in early December 2018 web developers were forced to make a decision, install the Classic Editor plugin and continue to enjoy the post editor we’ve used for years or jump the new block editor experience. However, I quickly found a few of my themes were not ready.

I decided to challenge myself this weekend by taking the longtime defunct Default Theme also known as Kubrick and make it Gutenberg ready.

Kubrick needed surprisingly few tweaks to function properly.

After replacing defunct to include the sidebar all that was needed was a few minor CSS updates and the front end looked just as it did in 2010 when this workhorse of a theme was last updated.

The left and right margins adjusted to match the header and footer’s design

With the front end working properly I was ready to override the post editor’s default appearance.

Gutenberg’s default appearance

After some code research I enqueued custom CSS to override the post editor’s styles.

now the post editor reflects the layout and design of Kubrick’s post content area. Right down to the painfully small 13px text.

The final results almost perfectly mimic the front end.

The text is justified, I assumed it was left aligned… Woops.

And now… for the code

// Added to the bottom of functions.php
// Enqueue CSS and JS
require_once( __DIR__ . '/lib/enqueue-assets.php' );
// enqueue-assets.php
namespace Default_Theme\Theming;
add_action( 'enqueue_block_editor_assets', __NAMESPACE__ . '\enqueue_block_editor_assets' );
 * Enqueue theme CSS in Editor only.
function enqueue_block_editor_assets() {
                get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/blocks.css',
        time() // Changedd for production
/* * 
 * blocks.css 
 * styles the block editor for the 2010 Default Theme "Kubrick"
 * */

.editor-post-title__block .editor-post-title__input {
        font-family: "Liberation Sans", sans-serif;
        max-width: 480px;

.wp-block-paragraph.editor-rich-text__tinymce {
        font-family: "Liberation Sans", sans-serif;
        font-size: 13px;
        line-height: 1.333;
.editor-post-title__block .editor-post-title__input {
        font-size: 19px;
        font-weight: 700;

Kubrick still has its various front end flaws. But in a couple hours of research and past practice I was able to prepare an old theme for a new life post Gutenberg.


Adding alt text to a post thumbnail

While working on a custom navigation using WP_Query and has_post_thumbnail for an icon I ran into an accessibility concern. By default, the_post_thumbnail will not display an alt tag when rendered in the browser. In the following code snippet I add an alt tag using the image file’s title.


// The Post Array
$args = array(
	'category_name'	=> 'disasters, emergency-procedures',
	'orderby'	=> 'title',
	'order'		=> 'ASC',

// The Query
$the_query = new WP_Query( $args );

// The Loop
if ( $the_query->have_posts() ) {
	while ( $the_query->have_posts() ) {
		echo '<a href="' . get_permalink() . '">'; 
		echo '<article class="emergency-icon">';
			// check if the post has a Post Thumbnail assigned to it.
			if ( has_post_thumbnail() ) {

					array('alt' => get_the_title() )

			echo '<span class="entry-title">' . get_the_title() . '</span>';
		echo '</article>';
		echo '</a>';
	/* Restore original Post Data */
} else {
	// no posts found

In short the code above starts with a query that looks for categories slugged”disasters” and emergency-procedures then orders the results by title in ascending order.

Customized html is then wrapped around the results along with an alt attribute taken from the image’s title then included within the img tag.

Technically speaking, it would be more appropriate to use the alt field set for the image. However, alt text has to be generated manually where as the title is automatically created when media is uploaded to the library.