8 May

ACF 5.8.0 Release – PHP Blocks for Gutenberg

By Elliot Condon

Advanced Custom Fields version 5.8.0 is now available for download. This new release includes a powerful PHP-based framework for developing custom block types!

Β πŸ“¦β€οΈ

Code named “ACF Blocks”, and packaged in our professional version, this frameworks aims to radically change the perception of block development in Gutenberg by reducing learning time, hurdles, environment setup and JavaScript knowledge to an absolute minimum.

Here is a quick look at an ACF Block in action!

Bringing Blocks to Everyone πŸ’ͺ

The mission for ACF version 5.8.0 has been to bring block development to everyone, and I’m delighted to say that “I think I have done it”!

ACF Blocks has been under development for the past 6 months. This has been a whirlwind of JavaScript, React, the REST API and planning. Surprisingly, “planning” is the part I was/am most excited about. Looking back, I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, even in the most difficult of times. This framework proves that a) Almost anything is possible and b) Thoughtfulness leads to happiness.

I say this because a solution, no matter how impressive, is only as good as it is usable. ACF Blocks makes Gutenberg more usable.

Getting to know ACF Blocks ❀️.

ACF blocks are highly customisable and powerfully dynamic. They integrate deeply with custom fields allowing PHP developers to create bespoke solutions inline with WordPress theme development. To learn more, please read the ACF Blocks documentation.

🌎 PHP Environment

ACF blocks is a PHP framework and does not require any JavaScript. This differentiates itself from the WordPress block API which relies heavily on modern JavaScript techniques, syntax and build tools.

🎨 Simple Templating

Similar to WP theme development, ACF blocks are rendered using a PHP template file or callback function allowing full control over the output HTML.

πŸ”Œ Custom Fields Compatible

ACF blocks offer full compatibility with all field types including both the Repeater and Clone fields!

It’s a similar story for template functions too. Whether you are loading a field value via get_field(), or looping over a Repeater field using have_rows(), the experience remains familiar and consistent to regular theme development.

πŸ‘€ Live Previews

Content changes, and so do block previews! When editing an ACF block, the HTML will update in the backend giving you a real time preview of your content.

Looking ahead ✌️.

With ACF Blocks out in the wild, I’m excited to see what the community make of it. There’s no denying that the Gutenberg rollout has been bumpy to say the least, but I hope that this PHP framework can help developers take a second look.

I mentioned above that the “planning” side of things has sparked my interest. By this, I mean the planning for what ACF will look like over the next 2, 5 or 15 years.

Exciting features are already in the works for ACF’s future, and I can’t wait to share them with you when the time is right.

For now, I’ll leave you with ACF Blocks whilst I figure out “being a dad” πŸ‘‹.

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