The idea, design and execution of these blocks is beautiful, and yet the limitations of the project and the way it is presented reveal a small existential crisis.
Oftentimes it’s impossible to have progress, or growth, without a certain degree of self-disruption — and in this sense, the new Cart/Checkout blocks serve their purpose. Gutenberg had to disrupt the publishing/creating experience in WordPress to keep the platform moving; both the user experience of it, and the tech stack. The WooCommerce Blocks plugin seems to be an exploration of how WooCommerce can fit into the Gutenberg picture — but one without a clear audience or purpose:
– If the project aims to better the checkout experience on those millions of sites currently built with WooCommerce (soon, and not in a distant future), the tech of the “new checkout” should be compatible with those thousands of extensions/plugins in existence.
– If the project aims to create a tightly controlled checkout experience that’s protected from plugin modifications and conflicts, then the decisions made so far make sense, along with the current plan to slowly make these new blocks work with flagship plugins and payment gateways. If this is true, the majority of existing users (developers, builders, merchants) are probably not in the best position to share meaningful feedback: They naturally expect that the new, sleek blocks will work with the plugins on their site, and are always puzzled to find out that this major limitation isn’t communicated anywhere.
I can easily see these Cart/Checkout blocks inside a tightly-managed and regulated version of WooCommerce — one not necessarily designed for today’s users, but for those new users looking for an easy, worry-free version of WooCommerce in the future.
My confusion might be stemming from my own difficulty to see the big picture from where I stand. However, I also can’t help but notice the confusion of dozens of SomewhereWarm merchants who have tried these blocks so far. Please consider shaping their expectations a bit more clearly: Users should not rely on third parties (Vendors) to explain who this project is for, or the vision behind it. The signals given by the core team are mixed and largely contradicting, and the product itself doesn’t do anything to help the average user understand what to make out of it.