ACF Chat Fridays are the biweekly open forum to discuss all things ACF, including future developments, the best ways to build WordPress sites with ACF, and much more.
The January 5th edition of ACF Chat Fridays provided an open forum for user questions and use cases, as well as insight into some of the new features and enhancements coming in ACF 6.3.
Co-hosted by Iain Poulson, Matt Shaw, Anthony Burchell, Damon Cook, and Brian Hardie.
You can see the entire session in the player below, or catch the highlights in the session summary.
ACF Chat Fridays kicked off its 2024 season on January 5. Sessions are typically held every two weeks throughout the year.
Iain Poulson started the session with a quick update on ACF 6.3, the plugin’s next major release, noting that it will be focused on enhancements and new features for ACF Blocks, before opening the floor for user questions.
Questions about the best way to use ACF, feedback about the plugin, or feature requests? ACF Chat Fridays is one of the best places to make sure your voice is heard and your questions answered.
We’ve included some of the questions and answers from the latest session below, with minor edits made for clarity and style.
Q: Any news on the possibility of having field groups at the top of the block editor? We often use field groups for page settings, and while the sidebar may be the logical place for this, we often have specific options that are easily overlooked when added to the sidebar.
A: At the moment, it’s at the bottom because that’s the system WordPress has implemented. As you noted, WordPress does let you move it into the sidebar, but then you end up with a weird mismatch of legacy CSS inside the block editor.
We do want to move that into a kind of native experience, actually bringing it more into the block rather than relying on the WordPress legacy system. WordPress is looking at this as well, as the current legacy system causes problems for things they want to do with iframes, etc.
You should definitely expect it to move at some point, but in this case it might be the WordPress design team or our design team who figure out where it should go.
Q: What can we expect regarding ACF Blocks in the next update? Any new features or fixes?
A: One of the big things ACF 6.3 will introduce is block validation. ACF fields often include validation, such as setting a certain field as “required,” or a Number field with minimum/maximum inputs. However, if the fields are set to ACF Blocks, the validation doesn’t work due to how WordPress saves data. We intended to fix this in ACF 6.3.
ACF 6.3 will also introduce more choice in how field data associated with an ACF Block is saved. Currently, the field data is saved inside the post content as part of the block data. We’re working on an option to allow the block to save that data in the
wp_postmeta table instead.
This would be helpful when the block requires your editor to put in data, but you really want to store that data in postmeta because it’s a lot easier to search, query, or filter. We’ve heard from a lot of users who want to do this.
We also have a really exciting piece for anyone building full headless WordPress sites or building frontend components for their ACF Blocks in React, Vue, or similar. Currently, to actually render what it looks like in the editor, you must include a PHP template. This is annoying if you’ve already built a React component for your actual frontend, because you’ll also have to create a PHP template that’s only used to render the component in the editor. Starting in ACF 6.3, it will be possible to define a path to your frontend component in your
block.json file, and the same component will be used in the editor to show a preview of that block.
We’re continually improving the editing UI for ACF Blocks, moving it closer in looks to native WordPress blocks. If you’re building a site with a mix of native WordPress blocks and ACF Blocks, the editing experience is slightly different, which isn’t ideal for clients. This is a very long-term effort, but we’re chipping away at it. One day, it might be possible to do inline editing in ACF Blocks, instead of having the main block editor section look like a form when you turn the block into edit mode. This isn’t really WYSISWYG editing currently, as it doesn’t look like the native blocks where you can just edit the data inline. We’d love to move towards something like that.
Q: The functions API supports
get_field(). Is there a function that supports something like
A: Absolutely. You can use
acf_get_field_groups(), which will give you all the field groups you’ve got, or
acf_get_fields(), which retrieves all the fields from a specific field group, and returns them as an array of field objects.
There are functions for practically everything in ACF, but we’re very careful about which ones we document. Basically, we only document them when they support a common use case and they’re unlikely to change. We’ve recently published documentation for acf_get_fields(), and we’re looking at creating documentation for
acf_get_field_groups() as well.
We share relevant resources during the call. We’ll sum them up here and try to provide a bit of context:
Join us on January 19th, 2024 at 3pm UTC for the next session of ACF Chat Fridays.
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