Teaching an old blog new tricks

Teaching an old blog new tricks 1

With our WPwatercooler site closing in on being 10 years old it has been running on Beaver Builder with its Beaver Themer for many of those years. So much has been changing with WordPress we just wanted to make sure we're testing WordPress 6.0, Gutenberg, and the new Full Site Editor on our site. I thought I'd go over some of the things I've done so far with it and any feedback I have.

Theme

Switching to the Stewart theme which is the Full Site Editor block theme and things have been pretty snappy. Since we're not using Beaver Builder and Themer we had to find plugins that provided the same functionality primarily with ACF. I'm not sure we'll stay with this theme but it's a good place to start for now.

Plugins & Blocks

I'm relying heavily on Kadence blocks for their collection of blocks and their ability to read from ACF data with what they call "Dynamic Content" from their paid offering Kadence Blocks Pro. This isn't a perfect analog to Beaver Themer and their ability to use custom fields like ACF everywhere in Beaver Builder but it's getting there. Sadly this Dynamic Content is only available in the Kadence Blocks Pro collection of blocks. Because of this, I have had to build a few basic blocks myself but we'll get into that in a bit.

Blocks

WordPress makes it REALLY easy, almost too easy to install a block by searching and installing a block by pressing the + sign button. Once you press that it installs the block with the plugin it's associated with. This leads me to the many plugins I have installed because of this. There is a lot of duplication with blocks between vendors. I have a feeling as Kadence matures I'll be able to only use them and maybe Spectra

We're testing out the following block plugins currently:

Plugins that I'd love to see FSE compatibility built-in.

Problems so far

  • Block Use - Due to the ability to install plugins with a block you searched for so easily, I'd love a way to see what page has what blocks on it and to see what blocks are being used on which pages.
  • Full Site Editor - FSE is very slow to use when dragging things around in the browser. I run into lots of lag.

Blocks I'm missing

  • Navigation block - page navigation that is feature-rich with all the bells and whistles.
  • Search Block - that has more styling capabilities and is aware of FSE. The few out there aren't aware they are in a sidebar or header since Gutenberg doesn't usually deal with that.

Advanced Custom Fields

Using ACF we collect and display various fields mainly related to our episodes. Using the ACF documentation to build a simple block I've been able to display our ACF filed for the YouTube URL to be embedded on the single episode page. As products like Kadence mature, I'll circle back around to see how much of this I can do in the plugin's blocks themselves. I learned a bunch from the ACF docs - ACF | Blocks

Switching Themes

Honestly, I'm not sure how switching themes will work but at some point, I may want to do so due to how limiting Stewart theme is.

What is a theme anymore?

We're working through a multipart series on WordPress themes and just how much they are changing.

Resources

I want to give a few shout-outs to some of the resources in our community helping make modern WordPress a great place.

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