25 Jun

ACF Chat Fridays: Q&A on ACF Blocks

By Mike Davey

ACF Chat Fridays is where the ACF community comes together to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and explore the latest advancements. Make sure to register for the next session and get an inside look at the latest developments and insights from the experts who shape the ACF ecosystem.

The June 21st session of ACF Chat Fridays saw the ACF team open the floor to discuss the future of block editing, upcoming releases, and more.

Co-hosted by Iain Poulson, Matt Shaw, and Liam Gladdy.

Sign up for the next session →

ACF Chat Fridays Banner Image.

Session Recording

You can see the entire session in the player below, or catch the highlights in the session summary.

Session Summary

The June 21st session of ACF Chat Fridays kicked off with a look at some of the features and enhancements we might see in the next major release, ACF 6.4. This release will introduce a new UI to register ACF Blocks directly within the plugin, similar to the Options Pages UI introduced in ACF 6.2.

ACF 6.4 will also likely see the introduction of a long-awaited feature: support for WooCommerce’s high-performance order system (HPOS). HPOS improves the performance of WooCommerce by storing order data in a custom table, rather than in the WordPress posts table. This allows for faster and more efficient retrieval and manipulation of order data, which can significantly improve the performance of WooCommerce sites.

Looking at the longer term, the team intends to introduce the ability to edit some fields, such as Text and Text Area, directly in the WordPress block editor. While not part of the plans for ACF 6.4, this development is still very exciting. It would allow users to edit their content more efficiently, without having to switch between the block editor and the sidebar, and bring ACF Blocks closer to the experience of WordPress core blocks.

While not covered on the call, ACF 6.3.2 is a security release with fixes for a number of vulnerabilities. As this is a security fix release, we recommend updating as soon as possible.

Q&A

We’ve included some of the questions and answers from the latest session below. Minor edits have been made for clarity and style.

Q: How do you plan to improve the block editing experience in ACF?

A: We want to make ACF Blocks feel native. We’re working on making it possible to edit Text and Text Area fields directly on the block editor screen, which will allow users to edit their content more efficiently without having to switch between the block editor and the sidebar. Our goal is to make the editing experience more aligned with core WordPress, so that users can have a seamless experience when working with ACF Blocks.

Q: Have you considered using the Interactivity API with ACF Blocks?

A: We’ve looked at the Interactivity API, and we support it in the sense that you can compile a block with the module and everything just works, but it’s somewhat outside the scope of ACF. Just put whatever you want in your rendering template, and if you want to make it interactive, you can use the API if you like.

However, we have had some conversations recently about whether we should use the Interactivity API as part of the editing experience for ACF Blocks. For example, if we’re rendering text that’s editable, and you edit that text, we could use the Interactivity API to let the ACF Block know that a field has changed and then update it everywhere. With that said, we’re not sure we’re going to use it, as it really depends on how we build our React components.

Q: How do you handle the sidebar editing experience with Repeater fields?

A: When you’re in “preview only” mode, the sidebar is the only place to edit, and that’s tough because of the limited size. This is an issue with a lot of things, but it can be particularly tough with Repeater fields, which can be complex and require a lot of space.

We’ve talked to the WordPress core team about this, and they didn’t seem to want to go down that road of making the sidebar draggable or resizeable. There’s an initiative to look at a different editing experience, like a different panel or possibly even a modal.

We want to get to the point where you can edit directly in preview mode without having to change the form, so if you’re using the WordPress site editor with iframes, you’d be able to edit directly and wouldn’t have that problem at all.

We’d really like to see the editing experience for Repeaters moved out of the sidebar, possibly into a modal. We’re working alongside core to make sure the design decisions we make are in line with what they’re planning as well. We don’t want to create something that’s custom, and then it turns out WordPress core is going in a different direction. Sooner or later we’d be really out of line with the block editing experience in WordPress core.

The goal is to make the ACF Block editing experience as close to WordPress core as possible.

We share relevant resources during the call. We’ll sum them up here and try to provide a bit of context:

Coming Up on ACF Chat Fridays

Register today for the next session of ACF Chat Fridays, taking place July 19, 2024 at 2pm UTC. Questions and suggestions for the development team are always welcome.

Register for the next session of ACF Chat Fridays here:

https://wpeng.in/acf-chat-fridays/

The list of upcoming sessions is below.

  • July 19, 2024
  • August 2, 2024
  • August 16, 2024
  • August 30, 2024

Tag or DM us on Twitter to let us know you’ll be there. Suggest new topics, let us know what you’d like to see, and send us feedback with #ACFChatFridays on Twitter.

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