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#13 – Chris Lubkert and Rich Tabor on Building Sites With Extendify

About this episode.

On the podcast today we have Chris Lubkert and Rich Tabor, from Extendify. Extendify is a library of block patterns and full page layouts which you can use inside of the Block Editor.

Chris and Rich, as you will hear, decided a few years ago that they were going to dedicate themselves to working with blocks. They each had their own projects, but Rich recently joined the team because his vision aligned well with Chris’.

That vision is to provide designs which you can import directly into WordPress with just a few clicks. From there you can edit them in your own way.

Although it’s become more common to use blocks, a few years ago, the future of blocks, and whether or not they would be widely adopted, was still in doubt. So it was a brave move at the time to focus entirely on blocks.

Whilst the promise of easy website creation is broadly the goal of blocks, they’re not always easy to create and style. And that’s where Extendify comes in with their library of designs which all work with core WordPress blocks. You pick a design, and it’s immediately pulled into your site and is editable.

And that’s the thrust of the podcast today. What is Extendify? How does it work? What can you achieve with it? What do they plan to build in the future?

If you’d like to find out more you can read Sarah Gooding’s article entitled – Extendify Launches New Pattern Library Plugin.

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley. Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the themes, and in this case, the blocks and patterns. I would encourage you to subscribe to the podcast so you can get all the episodes automatically each and every week.

You can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or go to WP tavern dot com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. You can also copy and paste that URL into most podcast players. I’d really like to hear from anyone out there who would like to come on the podcast and talk about whatever it is that you do within WordPress.

It might be that you’re a developer, a WordPress organizer, a contributor, a designer. If it’s about WordPress, I’m keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you on the show. Head over to WP tavern dot com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and use the contact form there.

So on the podcast today, we have Chris Lubkert and Rich Tabor from Extendify. Extendify is a library of block patterns and full page layouts, which you can use inside of the block editor. Chris and Rich, as you will hear, decided a few years ago that they were going to dedicate themselves to working with blocks. They each had their own projects, but Rich recently joined the team because his vision aligned well with Chris’s. That vision is to provide designs, which you can import directly into WordPress with just a few clicks. And from there you can edit them in your own way.

Although it’s become more common to use blocks, a few years ago, the future of blocks and whether or not they would be widely adopted was still in doubt. So it was a brave move at the time to focus entirely on blocks. Whilst the promise of easy website creation is broadly the goal of blocks, they’re not always easy to create and style. And that’s where Extendify comes in with their library of designs, which all work with the core WordPress blocks. You can pick a design and it’s immediately pulled into your site and is editable.

And that’s the thrust of the podcast today. What is Extendify? How does it work? What can you achieve with it? And what do they plan to do in the future?

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes. Head over to WP tavern dot com forward slash podcast. And look for episode number 13.

And so without further delay, I bring you, Chris Lubkert and Rich Tabor.

[00:03:19] Nathan Wrigley: I am joined on the podcast today by Chris Lubkert and Rich Tabor. Hiya guys.

[00:03:26] Rich Tabor: Hey.

[00:03:27] Nathan Wrigley: Very nice to connect with you. We’re here today to talk about blocks. Chris and Rich have an interesting product, which I’m sure many of you will have come across. If you haven’t, probably the best thing to do is to pause the podcast and head over to Extendify dot com E X T E N D I F Y dot com. Familiarize yourself with that and then return here, and you will then know what we’re talking about. Guys, who’s behind this, which of you two gets the credit?

[00:03:57] Chris Lubkert: Rich gets all the credit for all the goodness that’s out there. Rich joined us several months ago and it’s been a huge benefit to our company and the product.

[00:04:06] Rich Tabor: I don’t know, Chris, I give you guys a lot of credit getting it rolling. I just came in and fine tuned a few things at the end there. But yeah, we’ve got an awesome team behind us, that’s really helping drive this thing through.

[00:04:16] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, right at the start of the podcast think is quite a nice idea if we familiarize ourselves with whoever’s on the show. So I’m going to ask you in turn, perhaps if we start with Chris and then we go to Rich, do you want to just give us a little bit of a background story, who you are, where you’ve come from, what your relationship is with WordPress, how you’ve ended up being involved with blocks at all.

[00:04:41] Chris Lubkert: Sure. Yeah. I started my, most of my career and experience has been from outside of the WordPress ecosystem. So my first deep dive into WordPress was joining Automattic and working on acquisitions and investments there, in addition to like internal projects to help the different divisions of the business grow. And that’s where, along with my co-founder Arthur Grabowski, we saw a huge opportunity in the space. WordPress is growing dramatically, as we all know, continues to grow, accelerate in many ways in it’s growth. But the experience for many users is still hard. And so with Gutenberg and full site editing on the horizon, we saw an opportunity to create an experience layer on top of that, that we were excited to go out and go pursue.

[00:05:25] Rich Tabor: So I’m Rich Tabor. My career in WordPress started with designing landing pages for a local marketing firm. And I quickly wanted to learn how to better design for them by understanding the limitations of the code of the engineering behind the scenes in WordPress. So that’s how I leaned into WordPress themes.

I ran a shop called Theme Beans for a number of years. Did a lot of minimal type themes for portfolios for photographers, more creative type themes. It was a great time. I soon found the whisper of Gutenberg at one of the WordCamps, and, at first I dismissed it like everyone else.

But I went home and did some research and I’m like I need to try building some of these block things. And I tried building a gallery block. I remember the very first block I tried building. And it was a miserable failure. I didn’t know. I didn’t know anything. Yeah, it was bad. It was so frustrating. I didn’t understand any of the concepts that I was trying to roll with. But you know, over time I was very curious and I knew that I was pretty confident that this would be the future of WordPress. So much was being invested by the community that I saw the future. I saw that this type of editing is needed in WordPress and it really is needed to empower folks to publish online and in an open source fashion, I knew it was the right direction. So I leaned in, I built some blocks. I released a few here and there eventually landed on Co Blocks and ran that up with Jeffrey Caradang, and that was a lot of fun. We learned a lot and got to experience that road together. Sold that to GoDaddy, and we grew to over 500,000 active installs I think as of a couple days ago, at least. It’s been a wildride. I learned so much at GoDaddy, leading products there on the WordPress experience team and just knew from the inside out, the struggles that folks were seeing with Gutenberg that they’re experiencing and in blocks or we’re solving a big need and they’re definitely necessary for this next evolution of WordPress. But experience-wise, there’s just so much more that we could do. And that’s one of the main reasons I came over to Extendify, like they were on the forefront of patterns and layouts and this experience layer on top of Gutenberg. And I knew I would fit right in and it’s working out well. It’s amazing and we’re rocking online and doing some really incredible things.

[00:07:38] Nathan Wrigley: It’s a curious moment, like a fork in the road, almost to some extent, because as you’ve described, you have a rich history of designing things on top of WordPress to make them look nice. And yet it was incredibly difficult and frustrating. And so I feel that tools like Extendify are perfectly positioned really in a way, because this new paradigm of creating things, but we’ve also got a technical debt of it being really difficult to create these things all on your own.

Who is part of the team? I mean, I’ve seen names being announced, and I don’t know if you’ve had much in terms of churn or growth. Who’s currently, as we’re speaking early February, 2022, who’s part of the Extendify team?

[00:08:20] Chris Lubkert: I started Extendify with my co-founder Arthur Grabowski. The two of us we met at Automattic and saw the opportunity and decided to go start a business around it and to support the WordPress experience for SMBs specifically, and Rich joined us leading product. So Rich is really the brains and the power behind a lot of the quality experiences that people see. And our team is six people total right now, but we also work with a few freelancers to help support us in various ways as well.

[00:08:51] Nathan Wrigley: So Extendify is a suite of blocks. I’m going to say, but you’ll probably have more to add than that. What’s the promise that you’re bringing? What is it that makes you different, because I’m sure in many ways, some of the things that you’re bringing to the table could be achieved by mere mortals like me with enough time. But I guess the idea is that you’re short circuiting the amount of time it takes to make websites beautiful. Is that essentially what you’re trying to do, make it easy for people to create nice, effective, beautiful websites

[00:09:25] Rich Tabor: Yeah, WordPress is hard. WordPress is challenging, even for a seasoned pro to go in and create, even within Gutenberg, it takes a lot of time and energy, and you really have to understand what’s going on, especially around the group block and the columns block and how those interact with rows and all the new stuff that WordPress is adding every single year.

So what we’re doing is building a suite of patterns and full-page layouts to start, that help you get to, like you said, a beautiful website fast. And it’s not just beautiful, but also very resourceful, like there’s jobs to be done that you need help getting done, and we’re here to fill that gap. That’s where we’re targeting right now.

[00:10:00] Chris Lubkert: I’d say we want it to be beautiful and effective for whatever someone’s looking to accomplish. Gutenberg, full site editing. It brings a lot of powerful tools to the WordPress experience that didn’t exist years ago. And our purpose is to bring an experience layer on top of that, that makes it easy for, whether it’s a DIY user building a site for themselves, or a builder freelancer building sites for clients. It makes it easier for them leverage the power of these new tools to create both beautiful and effective sites.

[00:10:30] Nathan Wrigley: One of things which we’ve seen in the block space, there’s lots of different companies out there who are offering different ways of achieving the same kind of goal. In some cases, they are sticking with Core blocks and allowing you to modify your designs simply with code blocks. In other cases, they’re bringing along there own proprietary blocks, which you need in order to manage those pages and the layouts that they create. My understanding is that you’re all in on your designs with Core blocks, if that’s not true, do correct me. But if that’s true, why did you go with that as opposed to building out your own blocks to achieve possibly different things.

[00:11:10] Rich Tabor: Yeah. You know, there’s a few key reasons. I would say number one is sustainability. So when we’re creating these patterns and you add them to your site you don’t have any other extraneous resources that you have to maintain or update or even install right off the bat. Like you get, one-click, instant, something beautiful and resourceful added to your page, instead of having to follow through a bunch of different steps.

And we found that that was a very important for the end user, but also for our team. Like we know creating blocks is getting easier every couple of weeks or so with the new create block package and whatnot, but still maintaining those and adding the new features that Core is adding on top of its own blocks is something that’s an overhead that we don’t necessarily want to take hold of ourselves.

And so, you know, it’s a, win-win, the end users get the latest, that Core has to offer and their blocks that they added to their page last month, still inherent all the new stuff whenever they updated their website. It’s just practice that we found to be very, very resourceful on our end, and we really are 100% in on this front.

[00:12:12] Nathan Wrigley: In terms of the feature set that Core brings. Have there been any limitations? Have there been moments where you had wished that you could do something with Core blocks, but it turned out that, as yet, that was not possible and you would need to go elsewhere and maybe download some sort of other block pack because, I have found certain things difficult to create and third-party solutions have made it trivially easy to create in terms of putting things over here and things onto here and grids and layouts and all of that stuff. Has there been any limitations, are there designs that you wished you could achieve that you simply can’t at the moment or have you found a way around that.

[00:12:52] Chris Lubkert: So Nathan, I think you are correct that in the short term, it would be easier for us to have just created our own suite of blocks and only use those and built any functionality we needed. And had that requirement for users that they had our blocks, our own block collection installed. But we think that’s to the detriment of the user. The world doesn’t need 28 different image blocks out there. There’s a lot of benefit to sticking with Core native blocks, as much as possible. Someone doesn’t accidentally uninstall some block collection and their whole site looks broken. Or something isn’t supported anymore, and they need to find a new solution and recreate a lot of pages that they’ve created before, because XYZ block collection, an abandoned project that’s not maintained, not secure, whatever. So, in many ways it would be easier for us to create our own blocks, but we took the hard challenge of how do we create beautiful, adaptive designs and layouts using the Core blocks whenever possible.

[00:13:51] Rich Tabor: Yeah, and, you know, on top of that, when we do come up with some different feature sets or ideas that we’re trying to flex and in some of our patterns and layouts. We take those to Core. We put an issue on Github. As a company we do a five for the future contribution every month, and we make sure that we contribute on the points that, a kind of tick the boxes that we think are important for Gutenberg users as a whole, but also, there’s things that we know would be fun to add, different type of features to extend the image block, additional color picker options. Like, there’s different things that we kind of hone in on as a company that we want to focus on and we contribute those back to Core. And I think that’s probably the most effective way to push change so that we can really not just make, the folks that are using Extendify have a better experience, but folks using WordPress have a better experience with Gutenberg.

[00:14:37] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you. Rich, I’m going to quote you at yourself. This is coming from Sarah Gooding’s article. She produced a piece over on the Tavern called Extendify launches new pattern library plugin. And in that piece you said all of our partners and layouts are built completely with Core blocks, infused with a clever utility design system.

So I can more or less guarantee, you know what the next question is? What is the clever utility design system? What’s going on under the hood there that you’ve cleverly designed.

[00:15:07] Rich Tabor: Yeah. So our utility styles are, I would say they’re essentially the glue between where we want Gutenberg to be extended to that once Core adapts and grows whenever new WordPress releases come out to where we are today. So, we’re adding some utilities that are class-based kind of like tailwind CSS. Where we can quickly add CSS grid support or Flexbox support and do some offset grids or make something very unique. While still maintaining a layer of the Core blocks, with our utility styles on top of that. So essentially you’re getting the best of both worlds. I think eventually we won’t need the utility styles. I think for now it is our glue till we get to where Core is going to be, maybe a year or two down the road, I think we’ll be at a very cool place in WordPress where we can really extend the Core experience and in a fashion that makes us do all these unique things that we’re doing within our library, but within Core. But for now they’re necessary to ensure the structure of these patterns and come up with some really creative looks.

[00:16:05] Nathan Wrigley: I’m just going to put Extendify over on one side for a moment, and I’m just going to talk about blocks and the WordPress block landscape at the moment. If we rewind a few years, nobody had used the block at all. They didn’t exist, and suddenly they came WordPress 5.0, we had the promise of Gutenberg. It was pretty basic at the time, but as things have matured, more and more people have started to use it. And I just wanted to have a little bit of a conversation about how you feel this ecosystem is growing. From somebody that obsesses about WordPress, like I imagined the three of us do. We’re immersed in this all the time, and so we see people talking about it and it’s all very relevant, but I am not working for a company that are trying to push the boundaries with blocks. So my question to both of you is do you see the sea change happening? Is there a general industry move in WordPress towards blocks? Is this slow? Is it steady or is it at breakneck speed? What’s really happening? And I guess you’re positioned perfectly because you’ve got a company, and you can see the numbers going through your checkout each day. So that’s my question really. How is this environment, the block environment, how is it all maturing?

[00:17:21] Chris Lubkert: What’s interesting Nathan is blocks are relatively new to WordPress, right? It’s been a few years and they’ve been gaining adoption, but it’s not a new paradigm when it comes to site creation or creating layouts and pages and things. So a block-based editing experience. I think it’s obvious to most of us in terms of what the experience should be, and it’s taken several different iterations to get there and to continue to make them progress, and we’re still not there yet, there’s still a lot of exciting features and functionality on the horizon. But that’s kinda how I think about blocks. And even early on, this is the question of, would they be adopted? It was obvious that they would, because this is a paradigm that’s used in many different situations and is clearly better than the alternative that we had at the time, so. There’s a transition period as functionality catches up. People will become more comfortable with it and build solutions on top of it. Like we have with Extendify, that extend the Core functionality, pun intended there. But yeah, it’s a natural evolution and one that’s exciting to be a part of and we’re excited to have it continue progressing.

[00:18:23] Nathan Wrigley: What about you Rich, are you bullish about the future? Are there things on the horizon which you can see and think, wow, we’re just scratching the surface here. Because I imagine a lot of the listeners are content to use blocks. Maybe they’re not, maybe they’re really dead set against it, but, I know what I can do with them right now, but I’m pretty sure that in, two years time I’ll be able to do a lot more, and somebody like you probably knows a lot more about that than I do.

[00:18:47] Rich Tabor: I mean it’s no secret. I’m pretty bullish about Gutenberg and blocks and full site editing and WordPress in general. Blocks are interesting. You know, they started a couple years ago, very small. Like my first block, I think was probably a block that you could just highlight text with. It was just text with a background color.

It’s been a couple of years now, blocks are getting more interesting. We’re seeing some new chart type blocks where you can create graphical representations of data in such, I think, blocks that are more oriented towards actual jobs that are being done. It’s something that Chris and I, and the team talk about a lot is, getting the jobs to be done. And then, and those kinds of blocks are going to be more interesting and more prevalent, I think in the near future. But at the end of the day, a block is just one component of your site. It’s not the whole experience, you know. Extendify we’re really leaning in on this holistic site building experience, we’re leaning in on full site editing. Even WordPress is leaning more in that direction. And it’s the full site editing is coming to fruition, and block themes are coming around.

So I think we really are just scratching the surface of what WordPress is going to look and feel like in, you know, three years, four years even, I think there’s a lot of change and a lot of progress, and I’m super stoked about the direction WordPress is going and just this time to be in the midst of it all. I think we’re just incredibly blessed to be in the midst of this revolution of Gutenberg and WordPress, and I’m just thrilled.

[00:20:08] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it really is very exciting times. I’m kind of imagining a future where we have app like functionality in blocks and they can achieve incredibly complex things. All you have to do is click a button and drag in a block, and it will do those incredibly complicated things. And it seems very exciting to me.

The next question really is all about Extendify solution and how we might interact with that within a WordPress install. So forgive me for asking a set of very basic questions because we’re on the outside and you obviously work in this every day. It’s pretty trivial what I’m going to ask, but how do we get Extendify how does that become part of our WordPress website? What’s the process

[00:20:45] Chris Lubkert: Yeah, so we launched a standalone plugin just recently. That’s the easiest way for users to get access to the full Extendify library of patterns and full page layouts, search for Extendify in the plugin directory. You’ll find it there and can get access to it. Free users, everyone can get 10 imports of patterns or layouts, the base patterns or layouts each month. So they can continue using it, and testing it out and seeing how it fits within their workflow. And we have a paid subscription that gives users access to pro patterns, which is a premium set of patterns that we have, and unlimited usage of the entire library as well. That’s how people can check out Extendify.

[00:21:26] Nathan Wrigley: You have a very simplified pricing structure. Sign up for the pro and you’re good to go. Was there a sort of deliberate attempt to keep it more or less free of tears? You’ve got one site license, which is called pro and then you’ve got pro on limited where it’s everything.

I was really curious about that because we often see a table of pricing and there’s maybe seven or eight different rows, potentially. You’ve just gone for free, pro unlimited. And the pro unlimited is limitless. And the pro is just one site, unlimited, but for that one site. That’s curious pricing. Just fascinating. Who came down on that?

[00:22:04] Chris Lubkert: We want to become an indispensable tool for anyone building sites on WordPress, whether it’s someone doing it for themselves, creating a site that they want to create for themselves or building sites on behalf of clients and putting both beautiful and effective and well-built products out there. So we did want to keep it simple, especially at the start we wanted people using the product. Want people using it for free and sharing their feedback with us. And we want people using it on multiple sites and sharing that feedback with us and getting that constant loop of information. That’s how we improve. So we consider ourselves early, still, you know, we’ve been at it for a little while, but there’s a long road ahead of us and a lot of exciting stuff we wanted to do. And that really relies on people using the product and us getting that information back from them. We really prioritize that element of it, having people use the product and us learning from it so that we can continue building something better and better meeting the needs of our users.

[00:22:57] Nathan Wrigley: So returning then to how we actually interact with it. We install the plugin. My understanding is you just drop in an API key or something like that. It’s basically setting less there’s not a lot to configure. You install it, show it your license key, and everything’s just right there without you having to think. Am I right in that?

[00:23:15] Chris Lubkert: You don’t even need a license key if you’re just using the free version so everyone can use it, without registering and try it out. We want people to try it out and see how it works. And again, going back to the feedback, share what they’ve found with us and share what they’d love to see more of with us. We always love to get that feedback. But yeah, once you had your license key, if you’re a paid subscriber, then that unlocks the unlimited access to the library and you’re good to go. So, in a lot of ways, it is very simple in terms of how the user interacts with it.

I think one thing that’s cool and I would encourage people to try is switching their theme, and switching their styles of their site and see how the library, the patterns, the layouts, all adapt to that. That’s where we don’t have settings in the library. You don’t need to pick a primary color and set up your preferred font, et cetera, everything adapts to whichever theme you’re using.

And we try to make it so that it should just work for people. And it’s, easier said than done but we work hard to make sure it works well across a variety of different setups and installs.

[00:24:14] Nathan Wrigley: I think the promise of these kinds of tools is so remarkable. The actuality, and I can speak from deep personal experience. I have the design skills of a potato. I’m prodigiously bad at making things look good. And so the idea of being able to click something, import a design really straightforwardly is brilliant. My problems begin from that moment on. In that I wish to modify things and to change things and make it suit the branding of the website. I might want to just move this left a little bit or put some rounded corners on there.

Can we get into that a little bit, talk about how easy it is to customize, and I do want you to be as brutally honest with yourselves as you can be here, you know, is it a easy system to work with? And of course, and I mean, Gutenberg your blocks and patterns just come in and you are left with the design system that Gutenberg has got at the moment. Does it have limitations or are you happy to say yep, try this out, you’ll be able to achieve everything.

[00:25:13] Rich Tabor: Yeah, I’ll take this one. We mentioned earlier about our utility style system. So that coupled with, some creative pattern building, lets our library adapt to your themes styles, pretty well, like Chris hinted at it’s a lot of work. It was a very huge challenge to tackle and something we’re still working at to improve, but for the most part, when you open up the library and added a full page layout, for example, it should adapt to your site. My goal when building this out was if you want to add a landing page to your site, you can go through this library, pick your favorite one, add it, and there just adapt it to your site. You don’t have to go in and remove all the wild colors that some of these other solutions out there will hard-code into their styles. And it kind of adapts and looks great right out of the bat. The one thing, going in on Core blocks, that can get challenging is we are relying a little bit more on what Gutenberg provides. 5.9 has added whole lot of different functionality, especially around, doing border radiuses or borders around group blocks and different types of topography settings. And I think Cora will continue to move down that direction. But for the meantime, some of those things are a little janky right now, but like I mentioned earlier, when we find those things, we tackle it, we go into Core, we write the issues and if we can, we put up the PR to try to help resolve that.

[00:26:30] Chris Lubkert: Yeah we don’t lock anything down, but our goal is that you Nathan, if you add a pattern to an existing site that you have, that you’re happy with the style and the branding, you don’t have to do those modifications. You don’t have to figure out what size the font should be. And, if it should be a rounded corner or not, or what color the button should be, you shouldn’t have to do those tasks every time.

You’re more than welcome to. You can certainly use, Extendify and create a terribly ugly site if you try hard enough. We don’t stop anything there but the idea is that you shouldn’t have to.

[00:27:02] Nathan Wrigley: With the library as it is at the moment. What’s the taxonomy going on there? How are we sort of navigating because I can see that currently this number, I’m sure is subject to change probably in an upward direction. Currently there are 1,400 plus site patterns. 70 plus full page layouts. That’s a lot, that’s a lot to, for me to consume. How do you make it easy for me to discover and browse the patterns and libraries and all of the things that you’ve got in there?

[00:27:31] Rich Tabor: As of right now, so we’ve got two different key mechanisms to filter down. So the first is your site type. Basically selecting the type of site you’re building, the industry that you’re building in. And this is unique to what we’re building, but essentially you can say yeah, I’m building a gym website or a restaurant website and right out of the gate, you’ll have all the patterns filtered to support those industries the best. You’ll have copy, a preset for those industries and you’ll have images that are also preset. So we’re also attacking the speed of getting to your, getting your site published even faster by doing that, so you’re not just having place a loader imagery, if you don’t want it. Which is pretty cool, and also very challenging thing that we accomplished. And the second piece is we do have the typical content type categories. So you can add hero areas or headlines, texts, different galleries. We have those kind of filters in place. We’re experimenting with a few other mechanisms to help filter. And as we add more patterns, I’m sure we’ll figure out a few other clever solutions as well.

[00:28:33] Nathan Wrigley: So you were just saying there, forgive me if I’ve misunderstood, but you were saying that, I think that the images that you bring in as placeholders for want of a better word, not placeholders, but something which is already in situ, they can remain on the site. We’re allowed to publish those to the web? We have the license for that?

[00:28:51] Rich Tabor: Yeah. So we’ve actually curated a few collections of different site industries behind the scenes that are pulled from Unsplash. So those are all available open for anyone to use. Yeah.

[00:29:02] Nathan Wrigley: In terms of the growth of the product, you clearly, your invested in this, you’re enjoying the experience, early days. The company is obviously growing. You’ve talked about the staff and whatnot. The roadmap for the future will be something I’d like to talk about.

But just before that, I don’t want you to feel that you need to throw numbers at me here, but is Extendify turning out to be a successful business? And the reason I’m asking that is not so that you can bare your soul simply that people, if they’re going to throw their weight behind this and build 10, 15, 20, a hundred client sites, they want to know you’re going to be around.

[00:29:40] Chris Lubkert: Yeah one thing we have not talked about. When we started out building Extendify, we raised some outside funding and outside capital from investors, both in and outside of the WordPress space to support what we were building. We wanted to make sure that we were able to build a real business behind this and not have it be a side project that was at risk of not continuing.

So we have funding to do that. We have a world-class team that we’re hiring for actually. So if anyone is interested in, in what we’re doing and passionate about the future of Gutenberg and WordPress, we’d love to, to talk to you. But Extendify is growing really well. If anything, we’re trying to increase our focus and continue to hire and build a team that can take us forward to where we wanna be.

[00:30:27] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. In terms of the roadmap for the feature set, and what have you, do you have any blue sky thinking? Is there anything that you would like to achieve in the near term? And again, it comes back to customers. If they become customers, it’s nice to think that the product is going to mature over time. So I just wondered if you had anything to add there.

[00:30:47] Rich Tabor: Yeah, definitely. To start, we really honed in and focused on our pattern collection. And right now those are pretty solid. We’ve got some really unique, beautiful patterns out there. Next we’re going to start combining those and coming out with improved page layouts. So full page layouts so you can add think landing pages, whole pages for restaurant menus. We want to make sure we can help you get that job done. And after that, we’re extending even further up the chain. So we’ve got patterns, layouts now, full site designs. We want to help you get a complete site done quickly, and we’re coming up with some experiments behind the scenes that we’re working through that really are very promising and very exciting. And thinking through some guided experience, for getting these sites set up. Particularly around folks who aren’t very familiar with WordPress, I think that’s the area that we will lean into. And then throughout that process, we’ll be integrating with additional functionality for these jobs to be done with appointments or with events, thinking through the type of patterns that were really help folks be successful online.

[00:31:48] Nathan Wrigley: In terms of that roadmap, are you still at a point where helpful suggestions are welcome? Or have you solidified that? I’m just curious to know if any customer in the recent past has said, I wish you would do this, and you’ve thought actually, we must do that because that’s a brilliant idea. Or are you firmly focused on what your own plans are that you’ve already decided?

[00:32:09] Rich Tabor: Oh no, we’re definitely always listening.

[00:32:10] Chris Lubkert: We’ve had customers, both free users and paid subscribers reach out let us know that, hey, XYZ would be helpful. This type of pattern. Sometimes people even send us a screenshot of what they’re trying to do. And that is really energizing to us. We love it. It’s awesome when someone asks for something, you build it, and then it gets used right away and it solves their pressing need for them. We have a long backlog of different patterns, layouts, designs, et cetera to add and continue to make the library fuller and better, but that feedback is awesome to get. Yeah, definitely eager to hear anyone’s experience with Extendify and what we could to do make their site editing Gutenberg experience better.

[00:32:53] Nathan Wrigley: Obviously you’ve got this suite of really beautifully designed patterns and what have you. I was just curious whether you had any options to save things that you’ve already done or sync things back up? Is it purely, is what we’ve got, this is Extendify . Take what you’ve got and download it onto your site and modify if you choose. Or is there any way outside of WordPress normal way of doing things? Any way of syncing things, having a design library which is just for you or potentially your clients, any of those kinds of things?

[00:33:26] Chris Lubkert: That’s on the horizon, Nathan. So today that is not functionality that exists within Extendify, but the the idea of saving presets or a collection of patterns or layouts that you use often. Curating a selection of patterns or layouts and making those available to clients so that they can continue to leverage the tool and get the benefit of it, but do so in a more controlled way that you’ve curated for them. That’s all on the horizon. Those are things that we’re excited to do. So that’s a good idea.

[00:33:55] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, there we go. I think I’ve asked all the questions that I wish to ask today. If people have been interested by what it is that you’ve said today, if they’re curious to check out Extendify, where’s the best place for them to find you guys? Let’s go Rich first and then Chris.

[00:34:12] Rich Tabor: Yeah. So I’m online. My personal account on Twitter is Richard underscore Tabor. I share a lot of Gutenberg, and a lot of interesting blocks I find in and a lot of the stuff we’re working on behind the scenes at Extendify. We’ve got Extendify on Twitter as well @extendifyinc. We do a lot of interesting pieces there, we share a lot of patterns that we’re building stuff we just released and that’s where you could follow it to keep up with the latest product updates.

[00:34:36] Nathan Wrigley: I will put those in the show notes and Chris.

[00:34:40] Chris Lubkert: Yeah. So on Twitter, I’m @chrislubkert. And. for Extentify, the best way to do it is just check out the plugin. Search for Extendify, add it to your site, play around, see what it’s like, and definitely share any feedback with us that you have. You can always reach us at, hey at extendify dot com or Rich or I individually at Rich at Extendify or Chris at Extendify, we love to hear from folks. So please check it out and let us know what you think.

[00:35:02] Nathan Wrigley: Thank you very much, both of you indeed. I appreciate you coming on the podcast, but also I appreciate the fact that you’re trying to do the difficult work of making WordPress a better solution in the future, even though we don’t quite know what that looks like perfectly yet, you’re giving it your best, and I really appreciate it. Thanks for coming on the show today.

[00:35:20] Chris Lubkert: It’s fun to be a part of. Yeah. Thanks Nathan.