Questions about ACF? Want to know what’s coming next, or how to build the best sites you can? Then make sure you attend ACF Chat Fridays, our open office hours with the ACF team and users. Keep reading for a recap of the latest session.
The September 15th session looked at the recent releases of ACF 6.2.1 and ACF PRO 6.2.1 and the final results from the ACF 2023 user survey, before diving into questions on using ACF with GeneratePress, next steps for ACF developers, and the advantages of ACF Blocks.
Co-hosted by Iain Poulson, Liam Gladdy, Matt Shaw, Andrew Botz, Brian Hardie, and Damon Cook.
Highlights and selected questions from the session are available in the session summary. You can also watch the entire session in the player below.
Iain opened the session with a discussion of the recent release of ACF 6.2.1. The release includes improvements to the Options Page UI introduced in ACF 6.2, such as the ability to assign new options pages as child pages for any top-level menu item. The release includes other fixes and enhancements, such as the ability to add a “Title Placeholder” setting to custom post types created in ACF, which filters the “Add title” text when editing posts.
He also noted that ACF PRO users have likely noticed another release: ACF PRO 184.108.40.206. This release fixes an error that only cropped up for PRO users who had disabled the Options Page UI with a filter.
After recapping the new releases, the discussion moved on to the ACF user survey results. The 2023 survey was a first of its kind for ACF, but the intention is to run them every year and track the results. The survey gathered in-depth information on how the 2,000-plus respondents are using ACF fields, as well as gauging what types of sites they’re building, the size of their business, and the other tools they use.
The next session of ACF Chat Fridays takes place September 29th. Can’t wait? Reach out to us on Twitter.
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: I’m new to ACF, and I’m having some troubles with the Date Picker field. I’ve set the return format the way I want it in ACF, but the format it returns is exactly how it’s stored in the database. I’m using the GeneratePress theme with GenerateBlocks.
A: Third-party extensions often put their own wrappers around the output, and that wrapper may have a parameter that basically says “Ignore whatever the user set for return format, I want the raw data,” because the extension is going to handle the data transformation. A user in the GeneratePress forums described a similar issue. What’s likely happening is that GeneratePress is using the very direct function of get_post_meta(), which will just get whatever is stored in the database and output it. ACF has the helpful get_field() function, which respects return formats.
One potential way around this is to use the ACF Shortcode function.
Q: I’m just starting to get in-depth with ACF. What are the topics I’d need to look into to go from an average ACF user to a high-level ACF developer?
A: ACF’s flexibility means there are a lot of different paths, but we’d recommend looking into Local JSON. Turning this on means that whenever you define fields and field groups in the admin, they’re also stored as a JSON file. This often dramatically speeds up ACF, as well as making it easier to collaborate with other developers. They can import that JSON file, and they’ve got all the configuration right there.
We’d also recommend watching some of Damon Cook’s ACF videos on the WP Engine Builders YouTube channel. Here’s a few to get you started:
Q: What are the advantages of ACF Blocks compared to something like Elementor? I started coding from scratch about three years ago, and have since moved into using Elementor.
A: That can be a hard question to answer, because the “ideal tool” is going to change based on your use case.
ACF Blocks are a great way to start creating sites that use the block editor. Creating a custom block to do something that isn’t offered by native WordPress blocks can be quite difficult. As you need a fairly thorough understanding of React. ACF Blocks are rendered through the usual PHP templates typical of “classic” WordPress, so it’s often simpler to get started and create the blocks you want.
With that said, Elementor and ACF work very well together. If you’re used to building with Elementor, you can probably create a site with it very easily that integrates your ACF fields.
We share relevant resources during the call. We’ll sum them up here and try to provide a bit of context:
Join us on September 15th for the next session of ACF Chat Fridays. This session will take place at 2pm GMT.
What do you think we should cover in upcoming sessions? Let us know what you’d like to see on Twitter.
Sign up for the next session of ACF Chat Fridays here:
The list of upcoming sessions is below.