Automattic acquires Frontity and its founders will work full-time on Gutenberg – WP Tavern
Automattic has acquired Frontity, the company behind an open source framework for creating WordPress themes with React. The acquisition comes more than a year after the company raised € 1 million in funding as part of a funding round led by K Fund, with Automattic covering 22%. The co-founders of Frontity Pablo Postigo and Luis Herranz and their team will no longer develop and maintain the framework. Their new focus will be to contribute to the open source WordPress project and improve the overall experience for site editing developers.
“After a series of conversations, Automattic offered to sponsor our team to work directly on the open source WordPress project,” Frontity founders said in the announcement. “In particular, to bring our expertise in developer experience, front-end tools, performance and user experience to the core of WordPress itself, instead of just doing it for an external tool.”
In a separate FAQ document, Frontity clarified that this acquisition does not mean that the framework will be merged into WordPress, nor that the team plans to integrate React into WordPress PHP themes or full site editing. The founders intend to apply their expertise to Project Gutenberg full time:
Even though Frontity is a React framework, that doesn’t mean we’re going to push React to the WordPress frontend. We’ll take a look at Gutenberg and the entire site editing space to identify areas where our work could have the most significant impact, and work closely with the WordPress community to help improve their developer experience.
WordPress is already the best content platform on the web. We want to help it become the best development platform on the web.
In addition to putting the Frontity team on improving the developer experience, Automattic is also investing in other ways to expand its support for Project Gutenberg. The company recently hired a new developer relations manager which forms a team responsible for improving the developer experience with Gutenberg and editing the full site. Birgit Pauli-Haack is a new member of this team and Automattic is also sponsorship his curation of the Gutenberg time publication and podcast of the changelog.
Frontity Framework will move to a community project
Following the acquisition and reassignment of the team to work on Gutenberg, the founders of Frontity turn the framework into a community-driven project. The team prepared to leave the project in “a stable and bug-free position”, with documentation of the features they were working on. The framework is used by many companies and agencies, including top sites like the TikTok Creators Portal, the popular Catholic news site Aleteia, and Diariomotor, a popular Spanish automotive publication.
“As far as we know, Automattic does not use Frontity Framework in any of its products”, Frontity CEO and co-founder Pablo Postigo said. “But we know that there are a lot of automatticians who are following our progress closely.
“We are aware that WordPress VIP also recommends Frontity for decoupled solutions. We are sure that our experience and knowledge could be of use to this team as well. “
The departure of the founders and the Frontity team introduces some uncertainty into the future of the framework. When asked if he could survive as a community project, Postigo was optimistic but not sure.
“We still believe the Frontity Framework is the best way to run a decoupled WordPress site with React and it will be for a long time to come,” Postigo said.
“It’s still too early to know what’s going to happen. Frontity has a great community behind it, there are a lot of great projects that use the framework in production, and there is also a good group of really active contributors. We are really positive about the future of the framework.