Coding Guidelines Edit

This living document serves to prescribe coding guidelines specific to the Gutenberg editor project. Base coding guidelines follow the WordPress Coding Standards. The following sections outline additional patterns and conventions used in the Gutenberg project.


Naming Naming

To avoid class name collisions between elements of the editor and to the enclosing WordPress dashboard, class names must adhere to the following guidelines:

Any default export of a folder’s index.js must be prefixed with editor- followed by the directory name in which it resides:

.editor-[ directory name ]

(Example: .editor-inserter from inserter/index.js)

For any descendant of the top-level (index.js) element, prefix using the top-level element’s class name separated by two underscores:

.editor-[ directory name ]___[ descendant description ]_

(Example: .editor-inserter__button-toggle from inserter/button.js)

For optional variations of an element or its descendants, you may use a modifier class, but you must not apply styles to the modifier class directly; only as an additional selector to the element to which the modifier applies:

.editor-[ directory name ].is-[ modifier description ]
.editor-[ directory name ]___[ descendant description ].is-[ modifier description ]_

(Example: .editor-inserter__button-toggle.is-active )

In all of the above cases, except in separating the top-level element from its descendants, you must use dash delimiters when expressing multiple terms of a name.

You may observe that these conventions adhere closely to the BEM (Blocks, Elements, Modifiers) CSS methodology, with minor adjustments to the application of modifiers.

SCSS File Naming Conventions for Blocks SCSS File Naming Conventions for Blocks

The build process will split SCSS from within the blocks library directory into two separate CSS files when Webpack runs.

Styles placed in a style.scss file will be built into blocks/build/style.css, to load on the front end theme as well as in the editor. If you need additional styles specific to the block’s display in the editor, add them to an editor.scss.

Examples of styles that appear in both the theme and the editor include gallery columns and drop caps.

Top ↑

JavaScript JavaScript

Top ↑

Imports Imports

In the Gutenberg project, we use the ES2015 import syntax to enable us to create modular code with clear separations between code of a specific feature, code shared across distinct WordPress features, and third-party dependencies.

These separations are identified by multi-line comments at the top of a file which imports code from another file or source.

Top ↑

External Dependencies External Dependencies

An external dependency is third-party code that is not maintained by WordPress contributors, but instead included in WordPress as a default script or referenced from an outside package manager like npm.


 * External dependencies
import TinyMCE from 'tinymce';

Top ↑

WordPress Dependencies WordPress Dependencies

To encourage reusability between features, our JavaScript is split into domain-specific modules which export one or more functions or objects. In the Gutenberg project, we’ve distinguished these modules under top-level directories. Each module serve an independent purpose, and often code is shared between them. For example, in order to localize its text, editor code will need to include functions from the i18n module.


 * WordPress dependencies
import { __ } from '@wordpress/i18n';

Top ↑

Internal Dependencies Internal Dependencies

Within a specific feature, code is organized into separate files and folders. As is the case with external and WordPress dependencies, you can bring this code into scope by using the import keyword. The main distinction here is that when importing internal files, you should use relative paths specific to top-level directory you’re working in.


 * Internal dependencies
import VisualEditor from '../visual-editor';

Top ↑

Experimental APIs Experimental APIs

Exposed APIs that are still being tested, discussed and are subject to change should be prefixed with __experimental, until they are finalized. This is meant to discourage developers from relying on the API, because it might be removed or changed in the (near) future.


export { __experimentalDoAction } from './api';

If an API must be exposed but is clearly not intended to be supported into the future, you may also use __unstable as a prefix to differentiate it from an experimental API. Unstable APIs should serve an immediate and temporary purpose. They should never be used by plugin developers as they can be removed at any point without notice, and thus should be omitted from public-facing documentation. The inline code documentation should clearly caution their use.

export { __unstableDoAction } from './api';

Top ↑

Variable Naming Variable Naming

Gutenberg inherits WordPress’ naming conventions of camel-casing:

Variable and function names should be full words, using camel case with a lowercase first letter. This is an area where this standard differs from the WordPress PHP coding standards.

Constructors intended for use with new should have a capital first letter (UpperCamelCase).

However, Gutenberg is more specific about its handling of abbreviations, acronyms, constants, and the ES2015 class construct.

Top ↑

Abbreviations and Acronyms Abbreviations and Acronyms

Abbreviations must be written as camel case, with an initial capitalized letter followed by lowercase letters.

Acronyms must be written with each of its composing letters capitalized. This is intended to reflect that each letter of the acronym is a proper word in its expanded form.

If an abbreviation or an acronym occurs at the start of a variable name, it must be written to respect the camelcase naming rules covering the first letter of a variable or class definition. For variable assignment, this means writing the abbreviation entirely as lowercase. For class definitions, its initial letter should be capitalized.


// "Id" is an abbreviation of "Identifier":
const userId = 1;

// "DOM" is an acronym of "Document Object Model":
const currentDOMDocument = window.document;

// Acronyms and abbreviations at the start of a variable name are consistent
// with camelcase rules covering the first letter of a variable or class.
const domDocument = window.document;
class DOMDocument {}
class IdCollection {}

Top ↑

Class Definition Class Definition

A class definition must use the UpperCamelCase convention, regardless of whether it is intended to be used with new construction.


class Earth {
    static addHuman( human ) {
        Earth.humans.push( human );

    static getHumans() {
        return Earth.humans;

Earth.humans = [];

All @wordpress/element Components, including stateless function components, should be named using Class Definition naming rules, both for consistency and to reflect the fact that a component may need to be transitioned from a function to a class without breaking compatibility.


class MyComponent extends Component {}

function MyComponent() {}

Top ↑

Constants Constants

An exception to camel case is made for constant values which are never intended to be reassigned or mutated. Such variables must use the SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE convention.

In almost all cases, a constant should be defined in the top-most scope of a file. It is important to note that JavaScript’s const assignment is conceptually more limited than what is implied here, where a value assigned by const in JavaScript can in-fact be mutated, and is only protected against reassignment. A constant as defined in these coding guidelines applies only to values which are expected to never change, and is a strategy for developers to communicate intent moreso than it is a technical restriction.

Top ↑

Strings Strings

String literals should be declared with single-quotes unless the string itself contains a single-quote that would need to be escaped–in that case: use a double-quote. If the string contains a single-quote and a double-quote, you can use ES6 template strings to avoid escaping the quotes.

Note: The single-quote character (') should never be used in place of an apostrophe () for words like it’s or haven’t in user-facing strings. For test code it’s still encouraged to use a real apostrophe.

In general, avoid backslash-escaping quotes:

// Bad:
const name = "Matt";
// Good:
const name = 'Matt';

// Bad:
const pet = 'Matt\'s dog';
// Also bad (not using an apostrophe): 
const pet = "Matt's dog";
// Good:
const pet = 'Matt’s dog';
// Also good:
const oddString = "She said 'This is odd.'";

You should use ES6 Template Strings over string concatenation whenever possible:

const name = 'Stacey';

// Bad:
alert( 'My name is ' + name + '.' );
// Good:
alert( `My name is ${ name }.` );

Top ↑


We use
phpcs (PHP_CodeSniffer) with the WordPress Coding Standards ruleset to run a lot of automated checks against all PHP code in this project. This ensures that we are consistent with WordPress PHP coding standards.

The easiest way to use PHPCS is local environment. Once that’s installed, you can check your PHP by running npm run lint-php.

If you prefer to install PHPCS locally, you should use composer. Install composer on your computer, then run composer install. This will install phpcs and WordPress-Coding-Standards which you can the run via vendor/bin/phpcs.

Skip to toolbar