blocks ACF 5.8 Beta 1 Introduces Blocks Feature, Release Slated for November design tips
photo credit: Adabo! 3d printed tetris blocks(license)

Advanced Custom Fields is now actively testing its new block creation feature in ACF 5.8 beta 1, released this week. ACF Blocks is a feature aimed at PHP developers who have not taken the deep dive into JavaScript yet. It essentially offers a shortcut to creating custom blocks using PHP and HTML instead of JavaScript.

“We believe that ACF Blocks is one of the more important features ever added to our plugin,” ACF representative Eric Karkovack said. “It levels the playing field and allows more developers to take advantage of Gutenberg’s key feature.” The feature was designed to allow WordPress developers who use ACF to maintain their current workflow for extending the editor.

ACF Blocks allows developers to register a custom block type from a functions.php file. From there they can create a field group and use any ACF fields in the block. Rendering the block is the same process that’s used for displaying custom fields, with the notable addition of wrapping the HTML + PHP in a function.

The ACF team plans to include the new blocks feature in version 5.8, which is anticipated to arrive in November.

Creating custom blocks in this way seems like a stopgap measure for developers who haven’t had the time to learn how to extend Gutenberg before WordPress 5.0 arrives. This feature may be a useful abstraction for those who need to maintain their current workflow with ACF but it postpones the inevitable for developers who want to be truly proficient at extending the new editor. JavaScript skills will be required to properly understand what is going on under the hood.