Jetpack 6.8 was released today, introducing the plugin’s first set of blocks for Gutenberg. The necessary infrastructure was added in version 6.6 and all existing features that touch the editor are in the process of being ported over to blocks. This release includes blocks for payment buttons, forms, maps, and markdown.
The Contact Form module is one of the plugin’s most popular features and one that users often enable on new websites. This block removes a major barrier to implementing a form on WordPress sites – new users will have no need to try to understand the concept of shortcodes in order to collect feedback on their sites. Creating a new form essentially works like adding blocks inside of blocks:
The Simple Payments button block is slightly different in that it already has the form fields set up so the user can fill them out for whatever they are selling. This block is available for users on the Jetpack Premium or Professional plan.
The map block makes it easy for users to embed an interactive map within the content of posts or pages. After signing up for a free Mapbox Access Token, users can select a location directly inside the new editor and preview it live with different map theme options and a color-picker for the marker.
Some of those who have tested Gutenberg may not be a fan of its current writing interface, but after you see some of these blocks in action for things like maps and payment buttons, it’s clear that this is a superior interface for these content types. Modernizing the interface for content that previously relied on shortcodes is where Gutenberg truly excels right now.
Development on the Gutenberg plugin has been so active that it makes sense that the Jetpack team waited until WordPress 5.0 RC to release any blocks. Jetpack users can take advantage of them now if they have Gutenberg installed, or wait until 5.0 is officially released. The Jetpack team is also working on a number of other blocks for existing features. You can follow the progress on upcoming blocks at Jetpack’s GitHub repository and log issues with blocks that have already been released.
Jetpack 6.8 also restores the Publicize module to the pre-publish sidebar, so users can continue automatically sharing posts after WordPress 5.0 is released. This version ensures compatibility with Jetpack’s widgets for those using the Twenty Nineteen theme. Check out the release post to see more blocks in action and the changelog for a full list of all the enhancements and bug fixes.