Markup in Twenty Twenty Two

I glanced at the new Twenty Twenty Two theme that shipped with WordPress 5.9 earlier this year. I don’t pay much attention to the default themes in general, and I’m not a theme developer myself. But I know HTML, and this is gross:

<!-- wp:template-part {"slug":"header-small-dark","tagName":"header"} /-->

<!-- wp:query {"query":{"perPage":10,"pages":0,"offset":0,"postType":"post","categoryIds":[],"tagIds":[],"order":"desc","orderBy":"date","author":"","search":"","exclude":[],"sticky":"","inherit":true},"layout":{"inherit":true},"tagName":"main"} -->
<main class="wp-block-query"><!-- wp:post-template {"align":"wide"} -->
<!-- wp:group {"layout":{"inherit":true}} -->
<div class="wp-block-group"><!-- wp:post-title {"isLink":true,"align":"wide","fontSize":"var(--wp--custom--typography--font-size--huge, clamp(2.25rem, 4vw, 2.75rem))"} /-->

<!-- wp:post-featured-image {"isLink":true,"align":"wide","style":{"spacing":{"margin":{"top":"calc(1.75 * var(--wp--style--block-gap))"}}}} /-->

<!-- wp:columns {"align":"wide"} -->
<div class="wp-block-columns alignwide"><!-- wp:column {"width":"650px"} -->
<div class="wp-block-column" style="flex-basis:650px"><!-- wp:post-excerpt /-->

<!-- wp:post-date {"isLink":true,"format":"F j, Y","style":{"typography":{"fontStyle":"italic","fontWeight":"400"}},"fontSize":"small"} /--></div>
<!-- /wp:column -->

<!-- wp:column {"width":""} -->
<div class="wp-block-column"></div>
<!-- /wp:column --></div>
<!-- /wp:columns -->

<!-- wp:spacer {"height":112} -->
<div style="height:112px" aria-hidden="true" class="wp-block-spacer"></div>
<!-- /wp:spacer --></div>
<!-- /wp:group -->
<!-- /wp:post-template -->

<!-- wp:query-pagination {"paginationArrow":"arrow","align":"wide","layout":{"type":"flex","justifyContent":"space-between"}} -->
<!-- wp:query-pagination-previous {"fontSize":"small"} /-->

<!-- wp:query-pagination-numbers /-->

<!-- wp:query-pagination-next {"fontSize":"small"} /-->
<!-- /wp:query-pagination --></main>
<!-- /wp:query -->

<!-- wp:template-part {"slug":"footer","tagName":"footer"} /-->

See the file on GitHub

WordPress is supposed to have a low barrier of entry, it is written in its docs and reiterated at WordCamps. Decisions like enforcing the traditional array syntax array( 'this', 'and', 'that' ) over the short syntax ['this', 'and', 'that'] in PHP have been justified with it “being much more descriptive for beginners”. I don’t see how inventing a new markup language that lives in HTML comments is either descriptive or accessible for anyone. I don’t consider myself a beginner, but whoever thinks an HTML template in a WordPress theme should be authored like this, has completely lost me.