In the early days after the block editor landed in WordPress, block collection plugins exploded on the scene and were quick to rack up hundreds of thousands of users. Plugins like CoBlocks, Kadence Blocks, and Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg offer dozens of blocks in one package, focusing mostly on blocks not offered in core. WordPress.org’s Block Directory gave some incentive for creating single-block plugins, allowing users to search for and install them inside the block editor.
As block themes generally include less custom CSS than traditional themes, some plugin developers are experimenting with applying interesting styles to WordPress’ core blocks. Snow Monkey Editor, created by developer Takashi Kitajima, is one such plugin that doesn’t include any custom blocks. Instead, it extends the block editor to give unique styles to core blocks, giving them the appearance of custom blocks.
For example, Snow Monkey Editor will take a simple paragraph and transform it into various alert styles, post-it, speech, etc.
In addition to paragraphs, the plugin has extra styles for image blocks, including different fluid shapes and shadowed.
The List block also includes several different pre-set styles to make lists more interesting.
The plugin puts a monkey icon inside the block toolbar that offers more formatting options for text, including background color, badge, font size, highlighter, letter spacing, line height, and text color.
Snow Monkey Editor also includes some utility and display settings for all blocks, including the following:
- Hide on smartphone size or tablet size or PC size. (Using media query)
- Hide by user roles. (Using render_block filter hook. If it does not pass this filter, it is ignored)
- Scroll animation
- Publish date time settings
- Unpublish date time settings
- Edit lock by user roles. (Only administrators can set it)
These settings essentially allow editors to do things like disappear selected blocks on a set date, hide content depending on device display size, and lock content from being edited by different user roles. Some of these could be helpful when building websites for clients.
The collection of styles for different blocks reminds me of the old days before the block editor when users would create similar formatted text using shortcodes. This new block-based approach is far less clunky and allows users to quickly preview the styles as they are working in the editor.
The Snow Monkey Editor plugin is available on WordPress.org, and has more than 10,000 active installs. It can be used with any theme, as the styles are mostly subtle and harmonious. If the plugin is deactivated, the block styles revert to the default core styles. Takashi Kitajima has also created a Snow Monkey Blocks plugin with ~3 dozen custom blocks, a Snow Monkey Forms plugin with 13 blocks, and a Snow Monkey theme for those who want more complimentary extensions designed to work with Snow Monkey Editor.