20 months ago, a couple of mates thought it would be fun to build a plugin that made it easy to build custom blocks for the (very) new WordPress block editor.
18 months ago, they launched the plugin on wp.org and called it Block Lab.
8 months ago they launched Pro.
Today, we announce the next phase for Block Lab.
The short story:
WP Engine saw the cool things we’re doing with Block Lab. We saw the cool things WP Engine is doing for the future of WordPress. So we’re joining the WP Engine family to work on technologies to turbocharge block-based site-building.
A bit more of the story:
We (Luke, Ryan, and Rob) have been happily building Block Lab over the last year or so. It’s all been in our spare time with a handful of hours thrown at it each week, sandwiching the work in between our commitments to employers and clients. We’re so proud of all the things we have achieved, but we have consistently thought:
“Oh man, imagine what we could do if we did this full time?!?”– Us
Some friends of ours at WP Engine approached us a few months ago and painted a picture of a future that would place us within an organisation that could bring our incredible backlog of ideas into reality a whole lot faster.
Individually we’ve had a lot of interaction with WP Engine over the last 5 or so years. We’ve crossed paths many times with them as peers, collaborators, and service providers on a number of projects and industry initiatives. We’ve been given every opportunity to observe the way their culture and values align with our own. We will be joining a team (and then helping grow it), that is dedicated to equipping creatives and developers to build incredible experiences for the open web.
WP Engine has a fantastic history of growing and empowering teams that join them. In recent years we’ve been able to observe how the likes of StudioPress (Genesis), Atomic Blocks, and Flywheel have taken the great things they began and journey them to greater heights within the WP Engine family.
So all of this obviously triggers some questions. I’m going to try and tackle the big ones below.
So, what will happen to the Block Lab plugin? Is it going over to WP Engine?
The 3 of us (Luke, Rob, & Ryan) are joining WP Engine to work with their Block Editor focused product team where we will work on technologies that improve block-based site-building for creatives and developers. The plugin itself is not going over to WP Engine.
Wait! I’ve already built a bunch of things with Block Lab! What do I do?
If you’ve built things with the Block Lab plugin, you have no reason to worry. In fact, you can continue to safely work with Block Lab. As part of our work at WP Engine, we plan on creating a simple migration path that will bring the work you have done already in Block Lab over to what we build at WP Engine. So work with Block Lab now, and then, when the time comes, it will be easy to move over.
Does that mean the existing Block Lab plugin will not be worked on moving forward?
We are committed to providing support, bug fixes, and security patches to the current plugin for a reasonable amount of time, however, we won’t be developing any new features. The work we will be doing at WP Engine will build upon all we have learned building Block Lab and be even better.
But I’m not a WP Engine customer. What does that mean?
WP Engine customer or not, you can confidently work with the existing Block Lab plugin and when the time comes, use any technology we develop at WP Engine.
I’m a Block Lab Pro customer, what does that mean for me?
Firstly, in all of this, the 3 of us have consistently committed to each other that we would look after those that have purchased a Pro license for Block Lab and ensure they do not lose out. To do this, we are going to continue to support and maintain Block Lab Pro on our own time. As part of our work with WP Engine, we plan to develop a simple migration path so Block Lab Pro customers can move to and enjoy what we build at WP Engine.
So how long will you continue to maintain Block Lab Pro?
Through the end of your license period. Plus, you will also have available as an option a free migration path so that you can enjoy any new functionality we build at WP Engine.
I have more questions! Where do I get answers?
You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org