Wordpress News

WPTavern: GitHub Introduces Codespaces IDE, Discussions, and Code Scanning

Wordpress Planet - Thu, 05/07/2020 - 14:42

GitHub Satellite, the company’s annual product and community event, went virtual this year for the first time but marched forward with the usual major product announcements. GitHub is ramping up its offerings with four new products: an IDE, a discussion platform, code scanning, and private instances.

Codespaces is the platform’s new built-in IDE that lets users code in the browser with minimal setup. The product is based on the VS Code editor and includes terminal access, support for code completion, and extensions:

Codespaces can be configured to load your code and dependencies, developer tools, extensions, and dotfiles. Switching between environments is simple—you can navigate away at any time, and when you switch back, your codespace is automatically reopened.

The IDE was created to facilitate contribution but it also enables better development on mobile devices. GitHub design lead Joel Califa shared a demo of how he uses Codespaces on his iPad:

People have been asking about using Codespaces on the iPad. Here's what it looks like: pic.twitter.com/5UQHtzMwZh

— Joel Califa (@notdetails) May 6, 2020

GitHub plans to implement a pay-as-you-go pricing model for Codespaces, but it will be free during the limited beta. This product should compliment the recent launch of GitHub’s mobile apps for iOS and Android in March, which allows users to manage projects, tasks, feedback, and pull requests.

Discussions is a new feature that stands to have a more meaningful impact on open source communities. GitHub issues and pull requests have long been the home of most conversations, but oftentimes this type of collaboration would be better served with features more tailored to a knowledge base. Discussions offer a threaded format where questions can be marked as answered. Participation in discussions counts towards users’ contribution graphs. GitHub plans to put the feature into beta for public repositories soon.

GitHub also announced code scanning, powered by CodeQL, a semantic analysis engine trained to find vulnerabilities. When code scanning is enabled, every `git push` is inspected by CodeQL for potential vulnerabilities and the results are displayed in the pull request. Code scanning is free for open source software.

Secret scanning, which has been enabled on public repositories since 2018, is now available for private repositories. It scans code for known secret formats and notifies developers upon finding something. At the beginning. of 2019, GitHub announced that it was giving free users access to unlimited private repositories. Adding secret scanning to private repositories is the next natural step, as these have likely grown in number after being added to the free tier.

While many of GitHub’s new features are aimed at free users and open source communities, this week’s announcements also include a new enterprise product called Private Instances:

Today we introduced our plans for GitHub Private Instances, a new, fully-managed option for our enterprise customers. Private Instances provides enhanced security, compliance, and policy features including bring-your-own-key encryption, backup archiving, and compliance with regional data sovereignty requirements. 

After Microsoft acquired GitHub for $7.5 billion in 2018, the company has aggressively worked to make its product more compelling in the highly competitive space of code sharing platforms, starting with the free tier. Pricing has not yet been finalized for any of the revenue-generating products announced this week, as GitHub may be testing the waters to gauge the community’s reaction before launch.

WPTavern: Apply to Speak at the JavaScript for WordPress Conference

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 21:43

The third annual JavaScript for WordPress Conference is gearing up for three days of online talks and workshops on July 8-10, 2020. The event is free to attend and organizer Zac Gordon is working to put together a diverse speaker lineup.

Day 1 will be devoted to workshops that help beginners get up and running with JavaScript and React. Day 2 will focus on building Gutenberg blocks and block-based themes. Day 3 will include topics and projects that use WordPress as a Headless CMS.

“Last year we did 4 tracks all at once.” Gordon said. “That was a lot. So this year we’re doing two days, one track each day. We decided on Blocks and Headless as our two tracks, because that seems to be where most of the JavaScript development is happening at the moment in the WordPress space.”

Previous editions of the conference have pulled in approximately 1,000 viewers, similar to the size of a large WordCamp. Gordon said the event is open for all JavaScript-related topics related to WordPress beyond Gutenberg and headless setups and they are trying to encourage new speakers.

“Each year we’re trying to do more to have the conference reflect a range of speakers, and this year we’re hoping that a few of the brilliant and industrious younger folks coding or building with WordPress might speak,” he said.

Registration is free on the event website and applications for speakers will be open until June 1.

“I’m not sure how many speakers we will do exactly, but we will have a few folks leading workshops day one and then maybe 5-8 speakers the two other days,” Gordon said. “It will be fewer speakers than last year, but hopefully still a lot of quality focused talks. The applications we’ve seen come in so far are exciting.”

WPTavern: Apply to Speak at the JavaScript for WordPress Conference

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 21:43

The third annual JavaScript for WordPress Conference is gearing up for three days of online talks and workshops on July 8-10, 2020. The event is free to attend and organizer Zac Gordon is working to put together a diverse speaker lineup.

Day 1 will be devoted to workshops that help beginners get up and running with JavaScript and React. Day 2 will focus on building Gutenberg blocks and block-based themes. Day 3 will include topics and projects that use WordPress as a Headless CMS.

“Last year we did 4 tracks all at once.” Gordon said. “That was a lot. So this year we’re doing two days, one track each day. We decided on Blocks and Headless as our two tracks, because that seems to be where most of the JavaScript development is happening at the moment in the WordPress space.”

Previous editions of the conference have pulled in approximately 1,000 viewers, similar to the size of a large WordCamp. Gordon said the event is open for all JavaScript-related topics related to WordPress beyond Gutenberg and headless setups and they are trying to encourage new speakers.

“Each year we’re trying to do more to have the conference reflect a range of speakers, and this year we’re hoping that a few of the brilliant and industrious younger folks coding or building with WordPress might speak,” he said.

Registration is free on the event website and applications for speakers will be open until June 1.

“I’m not sure how many speakers we will do exactly, but we will have a few folks leading workshops day one and then maybe 5-8 speakers the two other days,” Gordon said. “It will be fewer speakers than last year, but hopefully still a lot of quality focused talks. The applications we’ve seen come in so far are exciting.”

WPTavern: Apply to Speak at the JavaScript for WordPress Conference

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 21:43

The third annual JavaScript for WordPress Conference is gearing up for three days of online talks and workshops on July 8-10, 2020. The event is free to attend and organizer Zac Gordon is working to put together a diverse speaker lineup.

Day 1 will be devoted to workshops that help beginners get up and running with JavaScript and React. Day 2 will focus on building Gutenberg blocks and block-based themes. Day 3 will include topics and projects that use WordPress as a Headless CMS.

“Last year we did 4 tracks all at once.” Gordon said. “That was a lot. So this year we’re doing two days, one track each day. We decided on Blocks and Headless as our two tracks, because that seems to be where most of the JavaScript development is happening at the moment in the WordPress space.”

Previous editions of the conference have pulled in approximately 1,000 viewers, similar to the size of a large WordCamp. Gordon said the event is open for all JavaScript-related topics related to WordPress beyond Gutenberg and headless setups and they are trying to encourage new speakers.

“Each year we’re trying to do more to have the conference reflect a range of speakers, and this year we’re hoping that a few of the brilliant and industrious younger folks coding or building with WordPress might speak,” he said.

Registration is free on the event website and applications for speakers will be open until June 1.

“I’m not sure how many speakers we will do exactly, but we will have a few folks leading workshops day one and then maybe 5-8 speakers the two other days,” Gordon said. “It will be fewer speakers than last year, but hopefully still a lot of quality focused talks. The applications we’ve seen come in so far are exciting.”

WPTavern: Apply to Speak at the JavaScript for WordPress Conference

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 21:43

The third annual JavaScript for WordPress Conference is gearing up for three days of online talks and workshops on July 8-10, 2020. The event is free to attend and organizer Zac Gordon is working to put together a diverse speaker lineup.

Day 1 will be devoted to workshops that help beginners get up and running with JavaScript and React. Day 2 will focus on building Gutenberg blocks and block-based themes. Day 3 will include topics and projects that use WordPress as a Headless CMS.

“Last year we did 4 tracks all at once.” Gordon said. “That was a lot. So this year we’re doing two days, one track each day. We decided on Blocks and Headless as our two tracks, because that seems to be where most of the JavaScript development is happening at the moment in the WordPress space.”

Previous editions of the conference have pulled in approximately 1,000 viewers, similar to the size of a large WordCamp. Gordon said the event is open for all JavaScript-related topics related to WordPress beyond Gutenberg and headless setups and they are trying to encourage new speakers.

“Each year we’re trying to do more to have the conference reflect a range of speakers, and this year we’re hoping that a few of the brilliant and industrious younger folks coding or building with WordPress might speak,” he said.

Registration is free on the event website and applications for speakers will be open until June 1.

“I’m not sure how many speakers we will do exactly, but we will have a few folks leading workshops day one and then maybe 5-8 speakers the two other days,” Gordon said. “It will be fewer speakers than last year, but hopefully still a lot of quality focused talks. The applications we’ve seen come in so far are exciting.”

WPTavern: Apply to Speak at the JavaScript for WordPress Conference

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 21:43

The third annual JavaScript for WordPress Conference is gearing up for three days of online talks and workshops on July 8-10, 2020. The event is free to attend and organizer Zac Gordon is working to put together a diverse speaker lineup.

Day 1 will be devoted to workshops that help beginners get up and running with JavaScript and React. Day 2 will focus on building Gutenberg blocks and block-based themes. Day 3 will include topics and projects that use WordPress as a Headless CMS.

“Last year we did 4 tracks all at once.” Gordon said. “That was a lot. So this year we’re doing two days, one track each day. We decided on Blocks and Headless as our two tracks, because that seems to be where most of the JavaScript development is happening at the moment in the WordPress space.”

Previous editions of the conference have pulled in approximately 1,000 viewers, similar to the size of a large WordCamp. Gordon said the event is open for all JavaScript-related topics related to WordPress beyond Gutenberg and headless setups and they are trying to encourage new speakers.

“Each year we’re trying to do more to have the conference reflect a range of speakers, and this year we’re hoping that a few of the brilliant and industrious younger folks coding or building with WordPress might speak,” he said.

Registration is free on the event website and applications for speakers will be open until June 1.

“I’m not sure how many speakers we will do exactly, but we will have a few folks leading workshops day one and then maybe 5-8 speakers the two other days,” Gordon said. “It will be fewer speakers than last year, but hopefully still a lot of quality focused talks. The applications we’ve seen come in so far are exciting.”

WPTavern: ACF Blocks Provides Assortment of Blocks Built from Advanced Custom Fields Pro

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 20:36

Over the weekend, Munir Kamal released version 2.0 of his ACF Blocks plugin, a project that creates a suite of blocks for the editor. The plugin offers 18 custom blocks in its free version and 15 more in the pro upgrade. It is built on top of Advanced Custom Fields Pro (ACF Pro).

The latest update of the plugin added support for typography, including options for using various Google Fonts for in-block text. Kamal also included base styling options for design features like margin and padding for every block in the plugin.

With ACF Pro as a hard dependency, it limits the audience of ACF Blocks. In large part, this plugin will be useful for agencies and freelancers who need to quickly build features for clients within their budget. For that purpose, the plugin does a solid job.

The tight coupling with ACF Pro hurts the user experience for the plugin. However, the ideas behind ACF Blocks and its custom options make up for the shortcomings of relying on its dependent parent plugin. Decoupling the two is unlikely, but it would make for a smoother experience and open the plugin to a wider audience.

Kamal took inspiration for the plugin from ACF and its pro version. He described the process of building blocks with the framework “super easy,” even for an intermediate-level developer. “It has been such an amazing WordPress framework for years to create custom fields,” he said. “And when [Elliot Condon] announced the block creation feature in ACF, that quickly triggered me to build this collection of ready-to-use ACF Blocks.”

The biggest technical limitation is that Kamal cannot build nested blocks, which is a current limitation of ACF. “I have already discussed it with [Condon], and he is already working on bringing that functionality hopefully soon,” he said. “Once that comes to ACF, we may create more amazing and powerful Gutenberg Blocks.”

Watch a short walkthrough of how the plugin works:

Useful Assortment of Blocks

While primarily testing the free version of ACF Blocks, I found that it has several useful blocks that could immediately address common needs for end-users. With 18 free blocks available, users have plenty to work with before deciding whether they want to move along the upgrade path to the pro version.

One of the best blocks in the collection is the Photo Collage block. It is ACF Blocks’ answer to the core Gallery block. The grid options for this block alone make this plugin worth checking out. The block offers between 2 and 15 grid layouts, depending on the grid option the user selects.

Setting the grid for the Photo Collage block.

My second favorite of the assortment is the Testimonial block. Coupled with the typography options, which are available for all blocks, you can have a lot of fun designing a testimonial section.

Tinkering with Google Fonts in the Testimonial block.

This is a small sampling of what the plugin can do. The Price List block can help restaurant sites set up their menu. The Pricing Box block, particularly when nested into the core Columns block, makes it easy to set up a pricing section with multiple product options. And, the Team block makes it simple to create profile sections on a company’s team/about page.

The following blocks are available in the free version (with several more in the pro version):

  1. Scrollable Image Block
  2. Tab Block
  3. Toggle Block
  4. Accordion Block
  5. Image Slider Block
  6. Social Sharing Block
  7. Photo Collage Block
  8. Posts Block
  9. Testimonial Block
  10. Team Block
  11. Multi Buttons Block
  12. Pricing Box Block
  13. Price List Block
  14. Start Rating Block
  15. Progress Bar Block
  16. Counter Number Block
  17. Click to tweet Block
  18. Business Hours Block

Kamal’s favorite blocks from the overall suite are Image Hotspot, which allows users to set an image background with “pointers” to pop up content; Before After Image, which lets users compare two images using a sliding bar; and Photo Collage, the plugin’s grid-based gallery block. The first two are available only in the pro version of the plugin. The plugin creator said he thinks all the blocks are useful but these were the most fun to build.

Room for Improvement

ACF Blocks is a nice concept. It gets a lot of things right. However, there are minor issues that dampen the experience of working with its blocks. These issues are not insurmountable, and I expect Kamal will address them in upcoming versions based on familiarity with his past work and drive toward building great products for users.

The most immediate issue and likely the simplest to fix is the plugin’s styles for left and right margins on every block. The plugin resets these margins to 0 by default. Depending on the active theme on a site, this could shift the blocks to the edge of the screen instead of the content area on the front end. Some themes use left/right margins to align content. This is not an issue with only ACF Blocks. It is prevalent among plugins with front-end output.

One quick solution for the margin issue is to wrap any of the plugin’s blocks within the core Group block. This will put margins back under the theme’s control.

Editing block content happens in the block options panel instead of directly in the block. I am unsure if this is a limitation of using the ACF Pro framework or a design decision on Kamal’s part. It feels odd to jump between editing content in the content area to editing content in the sidebar.

One example of my confusion with block content was with the Photo Collage block. I clicked on the block, hoping to have the media library appear for uploading. Nothing happened. I clicked again because, well, maybe I did not get a good click in that first time. Nothing happened. I eventually found the image upload button under the block’s option panel on the right.

Setting block options can feel a little sluggish at times with the block output in the editor not reflecting changes immediately. This is primarily because ACF Blocks relies on the server-side rendering capabilities of ACF Pro. It is unlikely this can be addressed in the blocks plugin. Some users may find the delayed rendering to be tedious when editing multiple options.

Final Thoughts

Kamal has put together a useful set of blocks that will help many end-users build sections of content they cannot create out of the box. Between the free and pro versions, there is a total of 33 blocks. The creator is committed to adding more blocks over time based on user feedback. In the immediate future, he plans to keep hacking away at bug fixes and improving the code.

I still feel like how ACF Pro works is a hindrance to how good this plugin could be if built from scratch. With that said, the framework helped make Kamal’s plugin a reality. ACF Blocks is a showcase in what is possible via ACF Pro, which should inspire other developers who are looking for solutions built on top of one of the most widely-used frameworks in the WordPress ecosystem.

Kamal understands that some ACF Pro users may try their hands at creating similar blocks but feels like his team’s knowledge and dedication to offering support are the most important parts of the equation. “ACF Blocks saves time and effort for creating blocks yourself for the most common web design elements,” he said.

Note: this plugin review and feedback were requested by the plugin author. Read our post about honest feedback based on genuine experiences for more information on how reviews are handled.

WPTavern: ACF Blocks Provides Assortment of Blocks Built from Advanced Custom Fields Pro

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 20:36

Over the weekend, Munir Kamal released version 2.0 of his ACF Blocks plugin, a project that creates a suite of blocks for the editor. The plugin offers 18 custom blocks in its free version and 15 more in the pro upgrade. It is built on top of Advanced Custom Fields Pro (ACF Pro).

The latest update of the plugin added support for typography, including options for using various Google Fonts for in-block text. Kamal also included base styling options for design features like margin and padding for every block in the plugin.

With ACF Pro as a hard dependency, it limits the audience of ACF Blocks. In large part, this plugin will be useful for agencies and freelancers who need to quickly build features for clients within their budget. For that purpose, the plugin does a solid job.

The tight coupling with ACF Pro hurts the user experience for the plugin. However, the ideas behind ACF Blocks and its custom options make up for the shortcomings of relying on its dependent parent plugin. Decoupling the two is unlikely, but it would make for a smoother experience and open the plugin to a wider audience.

Kamal took inspiration for the plugin from ACF and its pro version. He described the process of building blocks with the framework “super easy,” even for an intermediate-level developer. “It has been such an amazing WordPress framework for years to create custom fields,” he said. “And when [Elliot Condon] announced the block creation feature in ACF, that quickly triggered me to build this collection of ready-to-use ACF Blocks.”

The biggest technical limitation is that Kamal cannot build nested blocks, which is a current limitation of ACF. “I have already discussed it with [Condon], and he is already working on bringing that functionality hopefully soon,” he said. “Once that comes to ACF, we may create more amazing and powerful Gutenberg Blocks.”

Watch a short walkthrough of how the plugin works:

Useful Assortment of Blocks

While primarily testing the free version of ACF Blocks, I found that it has several useful blocks that could immediately address common needs for end-users. With 18 free blocks available, users have plenty to work with before deciding whether they want to move along the upgrade path to the pro version.

One of the best blocks in the collection is the Photo Collage block. It is ACF Blocks’ answer to the core Gallery block. The grid options for this block alone make this plugin worth checking out. The block offers between 2 and 15 grid layouts, depending on the grid option the user selects.

Setting the grid for the Photo Collage block.

My second favorite of the assortment is the Testimonial block. Coupled with the typography options, which are available for all blocks, you can have a lot of fun designing a testimonial section.

Tinkering with Google Fonts in the Testimonial block.

This is a small sampling of what the plugin can do. The Price List block can help restaurant sites set up their menu. The Pricing Box block, particularly when nested into the core Columns block, makes it easy to set up a pricing section with multiple product options. And, the Team block makes it simple to create profile sections on a company’s team/about page.

The following blocks are available in the free version (with several more in the pro version):

  1. Scrollable Image Block
  2. Tab Block
  3. Toggle Block
  4. Accordion Block
  5. Image Slider Block
  6. Social Sharing Block
  7. Photo Collage Block
  8. Posts Block
  9. Testimonial Block
  10. Team Block
  11. Multi Buttons Block
  12. Pricing Box Block
  13. Price List Block
  14. Start Rating Block
  15. Progress Bar Block
  16. Counter Number Block
  17. Click to tweet Block
  18. Business Hours Block

Kamal’s favorite blocks from the overall suite are Image Hotspot, which allows users to set an image background with “pointers” to pop up content; Before After Image, which lets users compare two images using a sliding bar; and Photo Collage, the plugin’s grid-based gallery block. The first two are available only in the pro version of the plugin. The plugin creator said he thinks all the blocks are useful but these were the most fun to build.

Room for Improvement

ACF Blocks is a nice concept. It gets a lot of things right. However, there are minor issues that dampen the experience of working with its blocks. These issues are not insurmountable, and I expect Kamal will address them in upcoming versions based on familiarity with his past work and drive toward building great products for users.

The most immediate issue and likely the simplest to fix is the plugin’s styles for left and right margins on every block. The plugin resets these margins to 0 by default. Depending on the active theme on a site, this could shift the blocks to the edge of the screen instead of the content area on the front end. Some themes use left/right margins to align content. This is not an issue with only ACF Blocks. It is prevalent among plugins with front-end output.

One quick solution for the margin issue is to wrap any of the plugin’s blocks within the core Group block. This will put margins back under the theme’s control.

Editing block content happens in the block options panel instead of directly in the block. I am unsure if this is a limitation of using the ACF Pro framework or a design decision on Kamal’s part. It feels odd to jump between editing content in the content area to editing content in the sidebar.

One example of my confusion with block content was with the Photo Collage block. I clicked on the block, hoping to have the media library appear for uploading. Nothing happened. I clicked again because, well, maybe I did not get a good click in that first time. Nothing happened. I eventually found the image upload button under the block’s option panel on the right.

Setting block options can feel a little sluggish at times with the block output in the editor not reflecting changes immediately. This is primarily because ACF Blocks relies on the server-side rendering capabilities of ACF Pro. It is unlikely this can be addressed in the blocks plugin. Some users may find the delayed rendering to be tedious when editing multiple options.

Final Thoughts

Kamal has put together a useful set of blocks that will help many end-users build sections of content they cannot create out of the box. Between the free and pro versions, there is a total of 33 blocks. The creator is committed to adding more blocks over time based on user feedback. In the immediate future, he plans to keep hacking away at bug fixes and improving the code.

I still feel like how ACF Pro works is a hindrance to how good this plugin could be if built from scratch. With that said, the framework helped make Kamal’s plugin a reality. ACF Blocks is a showcase in what is possible via ACF Pro, which should inspire other developers who are looking for solutions built on top of one of the most widely-used frameworks in the WordPress ecosystem.

Kamal understands that some ACF Pro users may try their hands at creating similar blocks but feels like his team’s knowledge and dedication to offering support are the most important parts of the equation. “ACF Blocks saves time and effort for creating blocks yourself for the most common web design elements,” he said.

Note: this plugin review and feedback were requested by the plugin author. Read our post about honest feedback based on genuine experiences for more information on how reviews are handled.

WPTavern: ACF Blocks Provides Assortment of Blocks Built from Advanced Custom Fields Pro

Wordpress Planet - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 20:36

Over the weekend, Munir Kamal released version 2.0 of his ACF Blocks plugin, a project that creates a suite of blocks for the editor. The plugin offers 18 custom blocks in its free version and 15 more in the pro upgrade. It is built on top of Advanced Custom Fields Pro (ACF Pro).

The latest update of the plugin added support for typography, including options for using various Google Fonts for in-block text. Kamal also included base styling options for design features like margin and padding for every block in the plugin.

With ACF Pro as a hard dependency, it limits the audience of ACF Blocks. In large part, this plugin will be useful for agencies and freelancers who need to quickly build features for clients within their budget. For that purpose, the plugin does a solid job.

The tight coupling with ACF Pro hurts the user experience for the plugin. However, the ideas behind ACF Blocks and its custom options make up for the shortcomings of relying on its dependent parent plugin. Decoupling the two is unlikely, but it would make for a smoother experience and open the plugin to a wider audience.

Kamal took inspiration for the plugin from ACF and its pro version. He described the process of building blocks with the framework “super easy,” even for an intermediate-level developer. “It has been such an amazing WordPress framework for years to create custom fields,” he said. “And when [Elliot Condon] announced the block creation feature in ACF, that quickly triggered me to build this collection of ready-to-use ACF Blocks.”

The biggest technical limitation is that Kamal cannot build nested blocks, which is a current limitation of ACF. “I have already discussed it with [Condon], and he is already working on bringing that functionality hopefully soon,” he said. “Once that comes to ACF, we may create more amazing and powerful Gutenberg Blocks.”

Watch a short walkthrough of how the plugin works:

Useful Assortment of Blocks

While primarily testing the free version of ACF Blocks, I found that it has several useful blocks that could immediately address common needs for end-users. With 18 free blocks available, users have plenty to work with before deciding whether they want to move along the upgrade path to the pro version.

One of the best blocks in the collection is the Photo Collage block. It is ACF Blocks’ answer to the core Gallery block. The grid options for this block alone make this plugin worth checking out. The block offers between 2 and 15 grid layouts, depending on the grid option the user selects.

Setting the grid for the Photo Collage block.

My second favorite of the assortment is the Testimonial block. Coupled with the typography options, which are available for all blocks, you can have a lot of fun designing a testimonial section.

Tinkering with Google Fonts in the Testimonial block.

This is a small sampling of what the plugin can do. The Price List block can help restaurant sites set up their menu. The Pricing Box block, particularly when nested into the core Columns block, makes it easy to set up a pricing section with multiple product options. And, the Team block makes it simple to create profile sections on a company’s team/about page.

The following blocks are available in the free version (with several more in the pro version):

  1. Scrollable Image Block
  2. Tab Block
  3. Toggle Block
  4. Accordion Block
  5. Image Slider Block
  6. Social Sharing Block
  7. Photo Collage Block
  8. Posts Block
  9. Testimonial Block
  10. Team Block
  11. Multi Buttons Block
  12. Pricing Box Block
  13. Price List Block
  14. Start Rating Block
  15. Progress Bar Block
  16. Counter Number Block
  17. Click to tweet Block
  18. Business Hours Block

Kamal’s favorite blocks from the overall suite are Image Hotspot, which allows users to set an image background with “pointers” to pop up content; Before After Image, which lets users compare two images using a sliding bar; and Photo Collage, the plugin’s grid-based gallery block. The first two are available only in the pro version of the plugin. The plugin creator said he thinks all the blocks are useful but these were the most fun to build.

Room for Improvement

ACF Blocks is a nice concept. It gets a lot of things right. However, there are minor issues that dampen the experience of working with its blocks. These issues are not insurmountable, and I expect Kamal will address them in upcoming versions based on familiarity with his past work and drive toward building great products for users.

The most immediate issue and likely the simplest to fix is the plugin’s styles for left and right margins on every block. The plugin resets these margins to 0 by default. Depending on the active theme on a site, this could shift the blocks to the edge of the screen instead of the content area on the front end. Some themes use left/right margins to align content. This is not an issue with only ACF Blocks. It is prevalent among plugins with front-end output.

One quick solution for the margin issue is to wrap any of the plugin’s blocks within the core Group block. This will put margins back under the theme’s control.

Editing block content happens in the block options panel instead of directly in the block. I am unsure if this is a limitation of using the ACF Pro framework or a design decision on Kamal’s part. It feels odd to jump between editing content in the content area to editing content in the sidebar.

One example of my confusion with block content was with the Photo Collage block. I clicked on the block, hoping to have the media library appear for uploading. Nothing happened. I clicked again because, well, maybe I did not get a good click in that first time. Nothing happened. I eventually found the image upload button under the block’s option panel on the right.

Setting block options can feel a little sluggish at times with the block output in the editor not reflecting changes immediately. This is primarily because ACF Blocks relies on the server-side rendering capabilities of ACF Pro. It is unlikely this can be addressed in the blocks plugin. Some users may find the delayed rendering to be tedious when editing multiple options.

Final Thoughts

Kamal has put together a useful set of blocks that will help many end-users build sections of content they cannot create out of the box. Between the free and pro versions, there is a total of 33 blocks. The creator is committed to adding more blocks over time based on user feedback. In the immediate future, he plans to keep hacking away at bug fixes and improving the code.

I still feel like how ACF Pro works is a hindrance to how good this plugin could be if built from scratch. With that said, the framework helped make Kamal’s plugin a reality. ACF Blocks is a showcase in what is possible via ACF Pro, which should inspire other developers who are looking for solutions built on top of one of the most widely-used frameworks in the WordPress ecosystem.

Kamal understands that some ACF Pro users may try their hands at creating similar blocks but feels like his team’s knowledge and dedication to offering support are the most important parts of the equation. “ACF Blocks saves time and effort for creating blocks yourself for the most common web design elements,” he said.

Note: this plugin review and feedback were requested by the plugin author. Read our post about honest feedback based on genuine experiences for more information on how reviews are handled.

WPTavern: Jetpack 8.5 Adds New Podcast Player Block

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 23:09

Jetpack 8.5 was released today with a new podcast player block for sharing audio content. Configuring the block is as simple as entering the podcast RSS feed URL. This will automatically bring in the cover art and recent episodes. Block options allow for further customization of the display, including the number of episodes, colors, and the ability to show/hide cover art and episode descriptions.

Jetpack’s new podcast player has arrived just in time, as podcasting has gotten a little boost in recent months due to the large numbers of people under stay-at-home orders. iHeartRadio, an American audio company with more than 350 podcasts, reports that listenership for its podcasting network is up 6% month-over-month, with California and New York jumping 13% and 8% respectively. iHeartRadio’s insights also showed that certain genres are more popular than others:

During a time of economic uncertainty, Americans are listening to more business and finance podcasts – for which downloads and streams are up 78 percent week-over-week among the iHeartRadio Original podcasts. Listeners are also turning to music, entertainment and comedy during this time, where iHeartPodcasts have shown an increase in listening as well.

Selling ads and marketing a new podcast may be more of a struggle during this economic downturn, but those with extra time on their hands may have an easier time producing and publishing episodes. Jetpack’s new block makes it easy to share your own episodes or podcasts you enjoy from other websites.

The 8.5 release also includes significant improvements to the new Search feature, which is powered by Elasticsearch, to provide better indexing and a simpler onboarding experience.

Automattic developer Brandon Kraft published a post today that details recent changes to the Publicize feature. In the past, Publicize would attach an image from the post when sending out its automatic tweet to Twitter. This has now been changed for Jetpack and WordPress.com sites so that Publicize no longer attaches a picture but defaults to allowing Twitter to display its Twitter card instead. Developers can use a filter to return the plugin to its previous behavior, if necessary.

Jetpack 8.5 also makes more widgets and embed tools AMP-compatible, expands options for the Revue block, and fixes layout issues with several other blocks. Check out the changelog on WordPress.org for a full list of the enhancements and bug fixes.

WPTavern: Jetpack 8.5 Adds New Podcast Player Block

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 23:09

Jetpack 8.5 was released today with a new podcast player block for sharing audio content. Configuring the block is as simple as entering the podcast RSS feed URL. This will automatically bring in the cover art and recent episodes. Block options allow for further customization of the display, including the number of episodes, colors, and the ability to show/hide cover art and episode descriptions.

Jetpack’s new podcast player has arrived just in time, as podcasting has gotten a little boost in recent months due to the large numbers of people under stay-at-home orders. iHeartRadio, an American audio company with more than 350 podcasts, reports that listenership for its podcasting network is up 6% month-over-month, with California and New York jumping 13% and 8% respectively. iHeartRadio’s insights also showed that certain genres are more popular than others:

During a time of economic uncertainty, Americans are listening to more business and finance podcasts – for which downloads and streams are up 78 percent week-over-week among the iHeartRadio Original podcasts. Listeners are also turning to music, entertainment and comedy during this time, where iHeartPodcasts have shown an increase in listening as well.

Selling ads and marketing a new podcast may be more of a struggle during this economic downturn, but those with extra time on their hands may have an easier time producing and publishing episodes. Jetpack’s new block makes it easy to share your own episodes or podcasts you enjoy from other websites.

The 8.5 release also includes significant improvements to the new Search feature, which is powered by Elasticsearch, to provide better indexing and a simpler onboarding experience.

Automattic developer Brandon Kraft published a post today that details recent changes to the Publicize feature. In the past, Publicize would attach an image from the post when sending out its automatic tweet to Twitter. This has now been changed for Jetpack and WordPress.com sites so that Publicize no longer attaches a picture but defaults to allowing Twitter to display its Twitter card instead. Developers can use a filter to return the plugin to its previous behavior, if necessary.

Jetpack 8.5 also makes more widgets and embed tools AMP-compatible, expands options for the Revue block, and fixes layout issues with several other blocks. Check out the changelog on WordPress.org for a full list of the enhancements and bug fixes.

WPTavern: Jetpack 8.5 Adds New Podcast Player Block

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 23:09

Jetpack 8.5 was released today with a new podcast player block for sharing audio content. Configuring the block is as simple as entering the podcast RSS feed URL. This will automatically bring in the cover art and recent episodes. Block options allow for further customization of the display, including the number of episodes, colors, and the ability to show/hide cover art and episode descriptions.

Jetpack’s new podcast player has arrived just in time, as podcasting has gotten a little boost in recent months due to the large numbers of people under stay-at-home orders. iHeartRadio, an American audio company with more than 350 podcasts, reports that listenership for its podcasting network is up 6% month-over-month, with California and New York jumping 13% and 8% respectively. iHeartRadio’s insights also showed that certain genres are more popular than others:

During a time of economic uncertainty, Americans are listening to more business and finance podcasts – for which downloads and streams are up 78 percent week-over-week among the iHeartRadio Original podcasts. Listeners are also turning to music, entertainment and comedy during this time, where iHeartPodcasts have shown an increase in listening as well.

Selling ads and marketing a new podcast may be more of a struggle during this economic downturn, but those with extra time on their hands may have an easier time producing and publishing episodes. Jetpack’s new block makes it easy to share your own episodes or podcasts you enjoy from other websites.

The 8.5 release also includes significant improvements to the new Search feature, which is powered by Elasticsearch, to provide better indexing and a simpler onboarding experience.

Automattic developer Brandon Kraft published a post today that details recent changes to the Publicize feature. In the past, Publicize would attach an image from the post when sending out its automatic tweet to Twitter. This has now been changed for Jetpack and WordPress.com sites so that Publicize no longer attaches a picture but defaults to allowing Twitter to display its Twitter card instead. Developers can use a filter to return the plugin to its previous behavior, if necessary.

Jetpack 8.5 also makes more widgets and embed tools AMP-compatible, expands options for the Revue block, and fixes layout issues with several other blocks. Check out the changelog on WordPress.org for a full list of the enhancements and bug fixes.

WPTavern: Need to Smile Today? Stay WordPress Strong

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 20:36
Lyrics: Zack Katz, Jonathan Mann | Music: Jonathan Mann
Video licensed under Creative Commons – Attribution

For the first time, at least 19 people from the WordPress community can literally call themselves WordPress rock stars without it sounding like an outdated marketing gimmick.

GravityView dropped a community music video and website named WordPress Strong earlier today. It is fun. It is inspirational. It will leave a smile on your face. The video features a wide range of faces, voices, and musical talent from around the planet.

Much of the world is looking for small ways to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Each day is about finding the things we should be thankful for while waiting for life to feel like normal. The WordPress community has been a beacon of hope for many. It has continued providing purpose to people despite their daily lives being upended. This project is one more way to show the strength of our community.

“People were scrambling to adjust to the new reality of living in a pandemic, and there was a rush of uncertainty,” said Zack Katz, the creator of GravityView, on starting the project. “In the middle of all that uncertainty, I felt lucky to be part of the WordPress community: doing what we do, working on an open and thriving platform, with a culture of people who are kind to each other and support each other.”

Many GravityView customers began using the plugin to enable COVID-19 responses, such as sites like Support Redditch, which coordinates relief efforts. “I sensed a movement of coming together to help each other, and I wanted to get the word out: if you need help, ask the community,” said Katz. “We’re here for you. We’ll get through this together.”

A total of 19 volunteers contributed to the music video, including WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg. However, the true star of the group was Tracy Apps, the owner of tracy apps design, who laid down the beat on the drums.

“It involved asking a lot of people!” said Katz of finding willing subjects. “I get why people are reluctant. I even waited until the last minute to record my video! Something special happens when people are invited to go beyond their comfort zone, especially when it comes to creative endeavors. It was moving to have the emails come in with their videos. People were willing to share a different part of themselves.”

The #WordPressStrong hashtag is open for anyone to contribute to on Twitter. The project is calling for volunteers to join in on the fun. If you can sing, play an instrument, or dance — or if you can’t — you can be a part of this movement for our community to become stronger. If nothing else, it will give you something to do to pass the time. Tag yourself doing something and share it. I am certain it will brighten at least one person’s day.

The WordPress Strong Project

Katz began the project in March. He shared some initial lyric ideas with Jonathan Mann who then wrote and recorded WordPress Strong. The GravityView team reached out to members of the WordPress community and asked them to lend their voices.

“I deeply respect [Mann] as a musician and how he exposes himself through his music,” said Katz. “His album I Used to Love My Body was my soundtrack for last year.”

Mann is the voice of the GravityView brand and has previously created a song for the product. Katz and Mann also worked on the WordPress Wiggle song in 2017.

“When creating WordPress Strong, I shared a poem with [Mann] and expressed the tone that I wanted to convey,” said Katz. “The email had the subject line ‘WordPress Hope Song.’ He wrote and recorded WordPress Strong, and I think you agree, it’s a great WordPress Hope Song.”

The plan for the WordPress Strong website goes beyond releasing a song. Katz wants to expand the site to be a place where people from the community can ask and receive help during the pandemic. The team is currently working on a part of the site where community members can request assistance or offer help anonymously.

“I was hoping artists of all stripes would be interested in sharing their work on the WordPress Strong website,” said Katz. “Sharing creativity together empowers us to be vulnerable in our despair as well as our hope. I would like to help foster that.”

Mark Jaquith: WordPress/Jetpack Driver for Laravel Valet

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 19:11

Recently I’ve found myself using Laravel Valet for local PHP development on my Mac. I love how fast and low-maintenance it is.

One thing that is a little tricky about Valet is that you can’t really write custom Nginx configs. That means that I couldn’t use my favorite technique of routing missing images to the production site, via Jetpack’s Site Accelerator (formerly “Photon”) CDN.

Normally, when doing local development on a WordPress site, you need three things: the codebase, a copy of the database, and the wp-content/uploads directory. But if you just redirect missing image files to your production site, you don’t need to laboriously copy all those files and clutter up your local machine.

I found myself really missing that technique today, so I wrote a driver for Laravel Valet that handles it!

You can get it here: WordPress Jetpack Valet Driver.

Mark Jaquith: WordPress/Jetpack Driver for Laravel Valet

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 19:11

Recently I’ve found myself using Laravel Valet for local PHP development on my Mac. I love how fast and low-maintenance it is.

One thing that is a little tricky about Valet is that you can’t really write custom Nginx configs. That means that I couldn’t use my favorite technique of routing missing images to the production site, via Jetpack’s Site Accelerator (formerly “Photon”) CDN.

Normally, when doing local development on a WordPress site, you need three things: the codebase, a copy of the database, and the wp-content/uploads directory. But if you just redirect missing image files to your production site, you don’t need to laboriously copy all those files and clutter up your local machine.

I found myself really missing that technique today, so I wrote a driver for Laravel Valet that handles it!

You can get it here: WordPress Jetpack Valet Driver.

Mark Jaquith: WordPress/Jetpack Driver for Laravel Valet

Wordpress Planet - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 19:11

Recently I’ve found myself using Laravel Valet for local PHP development on my Mac. I love how fast and low-maintenance it is.

One thing that is a little tricky about Valet is that you can’t really write custom Nginx configs. That means that I couldn’t use my favorite technique of routing missing images to the production site, via Jetpack’s Site Accelerator (formerly “Photon”) CDN.

Normally, when doing local development on a WordPress site, you need three things: the codebase, a copy of the database, and the wp-content/uploads directory. But if you just redirect missing image files to your production site, you don’t need to laboriously copy all those files and clutter up your local machine.

I found myself really missing that technique today, so I wrote a driver for Laravel Valet that handles it!

You can get it here: WordPress Jetpack Valet Driver.

WPTavern: Find My Blocks Plugin Shows All Blocks in Use on a WordPress Site

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 22:54

How do you know what blocks are in use on a WordPress site? I recently saw a tweet asking this question in regards to knowing whether it is safe to turn off a plugin. This seems like it could become a common question, especially for those who have hundreds or thousands of blog posts as well as those using WordPress as a CMS.

How hard would it be to create a plugin that let's me know how many and which blocks I'm using site wide? Sometimes I wonder if I can deactivate a block plugin but I don't know if I'm using a block it provides.

— Nick Hamze (@NickHamze) April 23, 2020

When looking at content in the editor, it isn’t immediately evident which blocks are in use. You can click on the block navigation at the top of the editor, but that will only show you the blocks in use on that particular page. If you have a lot of plugins installed and many pages of content to wade through, figuring out if it’s safe to remove a plugin can be a time-consuming process.

Fortunately, there is already a plugin that will give you a quick overview of where blocks are being used on your site. Find My Blocks is the one that was suggested to Nick Hamze in response to the question in his tweet. I had not heard of it before, so I took it for a test drive today.

Find My Blocks is basically a utility plugin that lists the blocks being used on your WordPress site, along with the posts/pages where they are in use. It includes core blocks and blocks from third-party plugins. The plugin’s settings also give the option to sort the block menu display alphabetically or by most/least popular.

Frontend developer Eddy Sims created Find My Blocks to solve one of his own problems and released it on WordPress.org in January.

“I was working on a site that required a few custom Gutenberg blocks,” Sims said. “After a week, updating became a hassle. I didn’t know where the blocks were used. Find My Blocks is a plugin I created to hopefully help someone else with this issue.” So far it has received several five-star reviews in the plugin directory.

“We’ve been using this plugin to help us figure out where we’ve used blocks on pages so we can deprecate them and replace them with shiny new blocks!” WordPress developer Tammy Lee said. “This plugin makes tracking down blocks really easy! I don’t want to think about how much time it would have taken us, otherwise.”

Find My Blocks is a plugin you may want to add to your favorites on WordPress.org for the next time you inherit a site that you didn’t build, or for cleaning out your own installed plugins.

WPTavern: Find My Blocks Plugin Shows All Blocks in Use on a WordPress Site

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 22:54

How do you know what blocks are in use on a WordPress site? I recently saw a tweet asking this question in regards to knowing whether it is safe to turn off a plugin. This seems like it could become a common question, especially for those who have hundreds or thousands of blog posts as well as those using WordPress as a CMS.

How hard would it be to create a plugin that let's me know how many and which blocks I'm using site wide? Sometimes I wonder if I can deactivate a block plugin but I don't know if I'm using a block it provides.

— Nick Hamze (@NickHamze) April 23, 2020

When looking at content in the editor, it isn’t immediately evident which blocks are in use. You can click on the block navigation at the top of the editor, but that will only show you the blocks in use on that particular page. If you have a lot of plugins installed and many pages of content to wade through, figuring out if it’s safe to remove a plugin can be a time-consuming process.

Fortunately, there is already a plugin that will give you a quick overview of where blocks are being used on your site. Find My Blocks is the one that was suggested to Nick Hamze in response to the question in his tweet. I had not heard of it before, so I took it for a test drive today.

Find My Blocks is basically a utility plugin that lists the blocks being used on your WordPress site, along with the posts/pages where they are in use. It includes core blocks and blocks from third-party plugins. The plugin’s settings also give the option to sort the block menu display alphabetically or by most/least popular.

Frontend developer Eddy Sims created Find My Blocks to solve one of his own problems and released it on WordPress.org in January.

“I was working on a site that required a few custom Gutenberg blocks,” Sims said. “After a week, updating became a hassle. I didn’t know where the blocks were used. Find My Blocks is a plugin I created to hopefully help someone else with this issue.” So far it has received several five-star reviews in the plugin directory.

“We’ve been using this plugin to help us figure out where we’ve used blocks on pages so we can deprecate them and replace them with shiny new blocks!” WordPress developer Tammy Lee said. “This plugin makes tracking down blocks really easy! I don’t want to think about how much time it would have taken us, otherwise.”

Find My Blocks is a plugin you may want to add to your favorites on WordPress.org for the next time you inherit a site that you didn’t build, or for cleaning out your own installed plugins.

WPTavern: Find My Blocks Plugin Shows All Blocks in Use on a WordPress Site

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 22:54

How do you know what blocks are in use on a WordPress site? I recently saw a tweet asking this question in regards to knowing whether it is safe to turn off a plugin. This seems like it could become a common question, especially for those who have hundreds or thousands of blog posts as well as those using WordPress as a CMS.

How hard would it be to create a plugin that let's me know how many and which blocks I'm using site wide? Sometimes I wonder if I can deactivate a block plugin but I don't know if I'm using a block it provides.

— Nick Hamze (@NickHamze) April 23, 2020

When looking at content in the editor, it isn’t immediately evident which blocks are in use. You can click on the block navigation at the top of the editor, but that will only show you the blocks in use on that particular page. If you have a lot of plugins installed and many pages of content to wade through, figuring out if it’s safe to remove a plugin can be a time-consuming process.

Fortunately, there is already a plugin that will give you a quick overview of where blocks are being used on your site. Find My Blocks is the one that was suggested to Nick Hamze in response to the question in his tweet. I had not heard of it before, so I took it for a test drive today.

Find My Blocks is basically a utility plugin that lists the blocks being used on your WordPress site, along with the posts/pages where they are in use. It includes core blocks and blocks from third-party plugins. The plugin’s settings also give the option to sort the block menu display alphabetically or by most/least popular.

Frontend developer Eddy Sims created Find My Blocks to solve one of his own problems and released it on WordPress.org in January.

“I was working on a site that required a few custom Gutenberg blocks,” Sims said. “After a week, updating became a hassle. I didn’t know where the blocks were used. Find My Blocks is a plugin I created to hopefully help someone else with this issue.” So far it has received several five-star reviews in the plugin directory.

“We’ve been using this plugin to help us figure out where we’ve used blocks on pages so we can deprecate them and replace them with shiny new blocks!” WordPress developer Tammy Lee said. “This plugin makes tracking down blocks really easy! I don’t want to think about how much time it would have taken us, otherwise.”

Find My Blocks is a plugin you may want to add to your favorites on WordPress.org for the next time you inherit a site that you didn’t build, or for cleaning out your own installed plugins.

WPTavern: Find My Blocks Plugin Shows All Blocks in Use on a WordPress Site

Wordpress Planet - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 22:54

How do you know what blocks are in use on a WordPress site? I recently saw a tweet asking this question in regards to knowing whether it is safe to turn off a plugin. This seems like it could become a common question, especially for those who have hundreds or thousands of blog posts as well as those using WordPress as a CMS.

How hard would it be to create a plugin that let's me know how many and which blocks I'm using site wide? Sometimes I wonder if I can deactivate a block plugin but I don't know if I'm using a block it provides.

— Nick Hamze (@NickHamze) April 23, 2020

When looking at content in the editor, it isn’t immediately evident which blocks are in use. You can click on the block navigation at the top of the editor, but that will only show you the blocks in use on that particular page. If you have a lot of plugins installed and many pages of content to wade through, figuring out if it’s safe to remove a plugin can be a time-consuming process.

Fortunately, there is already a plugin that will give you a quick overview of where blocks are being used on your site. Find My Blocks is the one that was suggested to Nick Hamze in response to the question in his tweet. I had not heard of it before, so I took it for a test drive today.

Find My Blocks is basically a utility plugin that lists the blocks being used on your WordPress site, along with the posts/pages where they are in use. It includes core blocks and blocks from third-party plugins. The plugin’s settings also give the option to sort the block menu display alphabetically or by most/least popular.

Frontend developer Eddy Sims created Find My Blocks to solve one of his own problems and released it on WordPress.org in January.

“I was working on a site that required a few custom Gutenberg blocks,” Sims said. “After a week, updating became a hassle. I didn’t know where the blocks were used. Find My Blocks is a plugin I created to hopefully help someone else with this issue.” So far it has received several five-star reviews in the plugin directory.

“We’ve been using this plugin to help us figure out where we’ve used blocks on pages so we can deprecate them and replace them with shiny new blocks!” WordPress developer Tammy Lee said. “This plugin makes tracking down blocks really easy! I don’t want to think about how much time it would have taken us, otherwise.”

Find My Blocks is a plugin you may want to add to your favorites on WordPress.org for the next time you inherit a site that you didn’t build, or for cleaning out your own installed plugins.

Pages