EP474 – Building Custom WordPress Blocks Because You Have To

January 26, 2024

On this episode of WPwatercooler, the panel, consisting of Jason Tucker, Sé Reed, Jason Cosper, and Nyasha Green, delves into the necessity of building custom WordPress blocks, a task propelled not just by choice but by the evolving needs of WordPress itself. They share personal anecdotes, challenges, and successes in navigating the block-based landscape of WordPress, emphasizing the importance of embracing blocks for future-proofing and enhancing WordPress projects. The discussion also touches on the broader implications of block technology for developers, users, and the WordPress community, highlighting the continuous learning and adaptation required to stay relevant and effective in the WordPress ecosystem.

Panel: Jason Tucker, Sé Reed, Nyasha Green, Jason Cosper


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:26 Greetings and Lottery Dreams
  • 02:33 The Inevitability of Building Blocks in WordPress
  • 04:17 Nyasha Green’s Journey into Block Development
  • 07:48 The Challenges of Naming and Explaining Blocks
  • 10:25 Discussing User-Friendly Design Tools vs. WordPress
  • 13:00 The Necessity of Custom Blocks and Developer Frustrations
  • 15:09 Nyasha’s Approach to Teaching Block Development
  • 17:23 The Rapid Evolution of WordPress and Its Impact on Users
  • 20:25 Nyasha’s Favorite Custom Block Project
  • 22:39 The Importance of Learning Basics Before Diving into Dynamic Blocks
  • 25:40 Building in Public and the Value of Sharing Mistakes
  • 27:02 Closing Thoughts and Mini Golf Plans

What is WPwatercooler? WPwatercooler is streamed live and recorded as the self-titled show on the WPwatercooler Network. Our objective with the show since the beginning has been to help people in this industry have a place to hear people, much like themselves, talk about the technologies and methods we all use on a daily basis. We named WPwatercooler to be that, the watercooler that WordPress folks can gather around and participate in the conversation, or just sit back and learn from the discussion. Our listeners and contributors come from all walks of life and all backgrounds. We strive to make this place as welcoming and accessible as we can. Learn more at https://wpwatercooler.com/wpwatercooler

What is Dev Branch? Dev Branch is streamed live and recorded monthly on the first friday of the month as the developer-focused discussions of the WPwatercooler Network. Dev Branch is released on its own podcast feed and made available live and on-demand in video format on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitch. Learn more at https://wpwatercooler.com/devbranch


Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Jason Tucker: This is episode number 474 of WPwatercooler building custom WordPress blocks because you have to. I’m Jason Tucker. You can find me over at jasontucker. blog.

[00:00:26] Sé Reed: I’m Sayreed, plug out right now, people.

[00:00:33] Jason Cosper: And y’all know who it is. It’s your boy, Jason Cosper back at it again on the world’s most influential WordPress podcast.

[00:00:40] Jason Tucker: Speaking of those podcasts, you can go find us wherever it is you can find great podcasts. And you can come hang out in the world’s most awesome Discord.

[00:00:52] Sé Reed: It’s a popular place. I forgot to say that I am Sayreed, winner of the California Lottery for 2024.

[00:01:03] Jason Cosper: Yes.

[00:01:04] Sé Reed: Forgot to say that.

[00:01:05] Jason Cosper: I, I bullshitted our way into us being the most influential WordPress podcast. So say absolutely

[00:01:13] Sé Reed: I, every day, every week, every week, and I want y’all to know that I have very, you know, everyone’s got like their lottery plan, right? But like, um, I was actually just talking about this with like, with Tucker and Cosper about, uh, you know, like, what does your lottery plan involve? Right? It, does it involve like creating a more like corporations involve, you know, like investing?

[00:01:38] Sé Reed: Does it involve like No, everyone’s like, no. I know NYSE involves hiring BTS to be, um, basically

[00:01:48] Jason Cosper: House boys,

[00:01:48] Sé Reed: house. Yeah, right.

[00:01:51] Nyasha Green: going to buy them straight cash. You hire, but

[00:01:54] Sé Reed: You’re going to buy a management firm that manages them. You’re going to be

[00:01:59] Nyasha Green: No, I’m going to buy them

[00:02:00] Sé Reed: yeah. First and

[00:02:02] Jason Cosper: just, I’m just going to buy the nicest Toyota Corolla possible.

[00:02:08] Sé Reed: You’re gonna do what now?

[00:02:09] Jason Cosper: I’m going to buy the nicest Toyota Corolla possible.

[00:02:14] Jason Tucker: Hey, man,

[00:02:14] Nyasha Green: that’s a good goal.

[00:02:16] Jason Tucker: got goals now.

[00:02:17] Sé Reed: Cars are so far not

[00:02:19] Jason Tucker: episode.

[00:02:20] Sé Reed: Oh my god, yeah, cars are just so far not even in my thing. Alright, so, all that to be said, who would stay in WordPress? Anyway, so about block.

[00:02:33] Jason Tucker: I am WordPress adjacent at this point.

[00:02:35] Sé Reed: Your WordPress adjacent?

[00:02:38] Jason Tucker: I am, I am, I am a, a, an adjacent of WordPress. Yes.

[00:02:42] Sé Reed: I’m WordPress adjacent too. Um, alright, so, this

[00:02:46] Nyasha Green: I guess I am technically too. Right?

[00:02:48] Sé Reed: Yeah, you are WordPress adjacent at the moment.

[00:02:50] Nyasha Green: Dang. Well,

[00:02:53] Jason Tucker: or you’re adjacent to a Jason.

[00:02:55] Sé Reed: Insofar as that you are adjacent to, to Jason’s, um, but also, I mean, I think you’re not WordPress adjacent right now you are full in because you are currently, uh, the, one of the team reps for the marketing team, which I am so happy about that I am not, and that you are, is really what I meant to say there.

[00:03:19] Nyasha Green: Well, I miss you. I’m not happy about that. I’m happy about 50 percent of that statement, but it’s okay. Yet,

[00:03:29] Sé Reed: it’s fun. Okay, anyway, the point here is, since you, we have, we don’t, we haven’t won the lottery, so we are in WordPress, here we are, and we really do have to build blocks. Like at a certain point, like, there’s no choice here, like, I mean, I guess there’s ClassicPress, but that’s not WordPress, that’s ClassicPress, so that’s a different choice altogether.

[00:03:57] Sé Reed: So if we’re doing this WordPress thing, and As a software, I’m not even going to talk about the community, because it is just like, just, I don’t want to think about it right now. Um, but, the software itself, it’s all about the block.

[00:04:16] Jason Cosper: Yeah.

[00:04:17] Sé Reed: And you know, wait, wait, I got another one. You know who the, the new kid on the LinkedIn Instructor block is a it’s night.

[00:04:28] Jason Tucker: Hey,

[00:04:29] Sé Reed: Yeah, she’s the she’s the new block. So on that note, tell us about your blocks.

[00:04:39] Nyasha Green: my blocks, so I’ll tell you

[00:04:41] Sé Reed: talk about my blog anymore. Your blocks now.

[00:04:43] Nyasha Green: We can talk, we can talk about my blocks, that’s okay. So sometime last year I got this wonderful opportunity to work for LinkedIn Learning, which honestly has changed my life. I know people said it about a lot of things, I’m like, that didn’t change your life, this did.

[00:04:59] Nyasha Green: Um, it kept me employed this whole past year. That’s a great one, Mika. Um, And they really wanted me to do a block course because in WordPress, we’re all, we’re always talking about blocks, not that type of block we’re talking about, you know, creating stuff with blocks and what really is it? If you walk up to anybody in community, can they just tell you off the, off the, like,

[00:05:22] Sé Reed: Off the block of their

[00:05:23] Nyasha Green: break down with a block off the block of their head?

[00:05:25] Nyasha Green: Can they break it down and tell you what it is? Why we have to use it? Like it’s well, because we have to, but that’s what I really wanted to do because like, when I got into WordPress, um, I’m sure as you all know, there’s never. In my experience, there’s never been like a beginner’s level for people. You go to these different places and they assume, you know, certain things you may not know.

[00:05:46] Nyasha Green: Um, I said, when I make this course, I wanted to address all the things I had a problem with moving into building blocks. Um, why, why am I using web tools? Why am I making these blocks this way? Is there anything that can help me make it faster? Scaffold tools like the pre blocked tools. And so they gave me this opportunity and I went for it.

[00:06:04] Nyasha Green: Uh, took months for me to write everything down. Um, went out, recorded and so far so good. I’m getting really good feedback on it. Um, lots of people who were scared to make blocks, um, theirself or like even dive into it. They like the intro, even if they’ve been in WordPress forever. Blocks are not that, you know,

[00:06:23] Sé Reed: Well, you know, we don’t really always, and this is something we’ve talked about, uh, like what’s in a name when talking about like renaming patterns and, you know, what are those called? Um, reusable blocks and other patterns. And, you know, we have a naming problem here in WordPress and an explaining problem because We do just move in to start using things without clarity or definition about what those things are.

[00:06:50] Sé Reed: And that’s from a development perspective, like, it just starts in, even with Gutenberg, right? Like, now there’s a whole thing about, like, no, Gutenberg was the name for the development, and now it’s the block editor, like, we’ve, you know, it’s hard to just even keep up with what things are called and what that means.

[00:07:08] Sé Reed: I know during your course, you were like, wait, does this, what was it for? Was that the reusable block that was changing during your course? Yeah.

[00:07:16] Nyasha Green: two things. So yeah, like I called I was in the middle of the booth. I called say and say didn’t answer. So I was messaging her. I’m like recording. I’m like say. The editor. What do I call it now? I’m like there. People say Gutenberg editor. People say WordPress editors. Some people say the editor. I’m like, well, I’m using V.

[00:07:32] Nyasha Green: S. Code. I don’t want to call it the editor and say it was like, well, you call it this. And I was like, what about this? And she was like, well, you do this really? And if it’s that confusing for us and we use this product almost every day, like how do we get newbies in? That’s what I always have on the top of my mind.

[00:07:47] Nyasha Green: How do we get new people

[00:07:48] Sé Reed: Mm hmm.

[00:07:48] Nyasha Green: We’re complaining that people don’t want to jump into this technology. What are we doing to make it? What are we doing to make it easier for

[00:07:55] Sé Reed: And you know what? You’re taking this from a development perspective and newbies, especially with developers, like bringing new people into the software to, you know, to the building, building it space. But I think about this a lot too, from the beginner user perspective, mostly from the perspective of small businesses.

[00:08:14] Sé Reed: I actually posted something on Twitter about this the other day. I’m helping a friend with a, um, with a campaign that they’re running and I’m like, we’ve got, so we got to get set up on WordPress, whatever. And they’re like, why, what, why am I using this? It’s very complicated. This isn’t making sense to me.

[00:08:31] Sé Reed: Um, can I just use Squarespace? And like, you know, that’s, that’s a choice. And once people make that choice, they’re kind of like committed to whatever that platform is. So even when we have opportunities like this, where we have, you know, We’re like, someone is willing to use it. They’re like, yeah, sure. I’ll use whatever you recommend.

[00:08:51] Sé Reed: And then they’re like, wow, this is just too much, too confusing. I’m going to go away where it’s simpler. Like that’s a concern. And that is, that is part of kind of systemic. It’s on the development side and it’s on the side and it’s, you know, it’s on the community side too. Like contributors being like, how do I contribute?

[00:09:11] Jason Cosper: Yeah, I, I don’t know if, uh, any of the rest of y’all got to look at, uh, the video that Jamie Marsland did this week where he, uh, recreated the notion homepage, uh, in what was effectively the Canva builder, and he does this a lot with like our, the, the block editor and

[00:09:32] Sé Reed: Like rebuild a rebuild experiment thing.

[00:09:34] Jason Cosper: right? Yeah.

[00:09:35] Jason Cosper: So like he rebuilt TechCrunch using just the block editor. He rebuilt a few other, uh, but he, um, was like, you know, the Canva editor, it has a grid, it has like all of these different layout tools. Uh, and he was just like, just breezing through it. And he’s like, uh, he, he has kind of been on this, uh, path lately.

[00:09:59] Jason Cosper: Uh, over the past few weeks talking about like, uh, I wish Gutenberg was more like, uh, Canva and, uh, Tucker. I know,

[00:10:08] Sé Reed: of like Figma. We’re going in the wrong direction because Figma is more like the direction that all the WordPress developers are obsessed with basically. And, and the designers, which is heavily leading the development. And then Canva is like, is like where everybody is.

[00:10:25] Jason Cosper: yeah, it’s, it’s user friendly.

[00:10:28] Sé Reed: So user

[00:10:28] Jason Cosper: you, you create the graphics for this podcast in Canva, right? Like our intro and outro videos, all this other stuff. It’s easy to use.

[00:10:38] Jason Tucker: Mm

[00:10:39] Sé Reed: Yeah, I don’t even

[00:10:40] Nyasha Green: started designing sites in Canva. You don’t? I still have Photoshop. I need Photoshop for my

[00:10:45] Sé Reed: don’t, I don’t, I wasn’t using it and I was like, wow, okay, I didn’t expect, I didn’t, you know, I don’t, the, the graphic work that I do, the resizing and all that stuff, I can, a lot of it I can just do in preview. And then, you know, the rest of the stuff, you know, I can do in Canva. I did make my daughter’s four year old birthday invitation using chat GPT in Canva.

[00:11:08] Sé Reed: So that was

[00:11:09] Nyasha Green: Nice.

[00:11:10] Sé Reed: so easy. It was a dolly. So it was a really gorgeous, uh, It’s a really gorgeous unicorn picture.

[00:11:17] Jason Cosper: It’s, it’s really been interesting to kind of, uh, watch, um, like, Hey, uh, Gutenberg is, uh, where things like, you know, kind of need to be moving for WordPress, but, uh, everybody keeps making, uh, some new page builder. Like it seems like every, it seems like every other week there’s, uh, oh, now there’s bricks now there’s, uh, You know, whatever the hell, like, um, you know, just, just new ones, like just springing out of the woodwork.

[00:11:49] Jason Cosper: And now it’s like, Oh, and we’re also, uh, Gutenberg compatible, uh, or, you

[00:11:55] Sé Reed: right. So what does that mean? Like, is that like, so with brick,

[00:11:58] Jason Cosper: knows what it means. I mean, it’s,

[00:12:00] Jason Tucker: means it coexists,

[00:12:02] Nyasha Green: It’s provocative. It gets the people going. I almost couldn’t say the, say the word.

[00:12:09] Jason Tucker: Yeah,

[00:12:09] Sé Reed: um, in terms of your course, when you were doing it, obviously this is something that happens, uh, a lot, like you’re doing the course and, um, you know, things are changing in the development while you’re doing the course, um, like the block. So Does your approach, um, do you think that it’s like, you’ll have to redo it or is it like, are you more like, cause you were saying, you’re talking about like the, why are you building blocks?

[00:12:38] Sé Reed: Which by the way, really speaks to me because if I know the why of why I’m doing something, it, it like makes everything better. I’m not like waiting for the answer at the end. So is that, is that more like more like an introduction in that terms or is it more like a technical. Here’s how to do it step by step.

[00:13:00] Nyasha Green: It’s a little of both because I’m the same way. If I don’t know why I have to do something, it’s hard for me to want to learn it and it’s hard for me to want to use it. And you bring up a really good point about the client aspect. Um, at my last job on my first day, I hadn’t even set up my computer yet.

[00:13:15] Nyasha Green: And they were like, can you explain to a client why they should. We should, they should let us rebuild their site and WordPress. And I was like today, and they were like, yeah, you work in the community. You’re doing a course. Like, why not? So I talked to her and some of the concerns you brought up was the same thing she did.

[00:13:30] Nyasha Green: She’s like, I don’t want to use this. Everything is too many options out here. How am I going to use this? How I’m going to teach my staff. And I’m like, well, guess what’s coming full site editor. You could do everything with this. We don’t need all this extra stuff. We don’t need Divi. We don’t need all these millions of plugins.

[00:13:44] Nyasha Green: If I sit down and I show you how

[00:13:45] Sé Reed: Giddy is not

[00:13:46] Nyasha Green: this, which I did. Okay. I’m just kidding. I’m kidding. But I’m like, if I can sit down and show you this, would you like to stay with it? She was like, sure. So I just went through the editor with her, showing her how easier things are. If she just did everything in the editor, nothing extra and that client now that client said.

[00:14:05] Nyasha Green: I love how you explain this. She said, I’m going to take your course. And then like, I laughed. I was like, okay, cool. So I’m not at that job anymore. That client took my course and wrote me a week ago. And she was like, I didn’t, did not forget. I took your course. She was like, thank you. And I do have them take, I do have them rebuilding my site and WordPress.

[00:14:22] Nyasha Green: And I’m like, they should be thanking me, but it’s okay. Um,

[00:14:25] Sé Reed: Uh, she should be hiring you directly. I was like,

[00:14:28] Nyasha Green: right.

[00:14:29] Sé Reed: so how about I just build it for you instead?

[00:14:33] Nyasha Green: Like, but, um,

[00:14:34] Sé Reed: Get on that email.

[00:14:35] Jason Cosper: Silence.

[00:14:36] Nyasha Green: Yeah, I’m going to do it, but to answer your question, like, it’s stuff I’ll have to update because reusable blocks did change to patterns after I wrote the course, but before I recorded it. But the good thing about it is I was so in general with my knowledge and I covered so many different things.

[00:14:51] Nyasha Green: I don’t have to redo the course. I can just make like a, hey, here’s an update video. And I think when we teach stuff like that, It’s better because that knowledge gets to stay around longer. It’s not, Oh, which video do I have to, uh, building blocks volume two. I have to go to that one. No, go to my original one, get that foundational knowledge.

[00:15:09] Nyasha Green: And then if there are any updates, I have that for you as well.

[00:15:12] Sé Reed: That’s awesome. Because I think that’s, that’s part of the, you know, I stepped out of, I call it like a stream, right? It’s like the knowledge stream of tech. And it is like a river. It is always not really stream. It’s a river. It’s always very flowing, right? Like, it’s like the Mississippi. It is a big river.

[00:15:28] Sé Reed: Um, and it’s moving constantly. And, I stepped out of it to have my kid, right. And stepping back in is like, wait, where do you, where do you, where do you get back in? You know, it’s like so many things have changed. It’s not even the same conversation. So, and, and then you do have to go find those things that are like the more basic stuff, but that stuff’s out of date.

[00:15:54] Sé Reed: So I think that’s, I think it’s really, that’s part of our issue. I think right now in WordPress is that everything is changing so fast that the resources Can’t really even keep up. Like if the developers can’t keep up and you know, the, the hosts are scrambling to keep up and all the plugin ecosystem and stuff, themes are struggling to keep up like the users and the, you know, the people who are building sites out there like myself or other people, like, it’s just, it’s always been hard to keep up with WordPress, but now it’s like things are changing sort of, uh, Not sort of, but really fundamentally, right?

[00:16:34] Sé Reed: Like this is a really, especially with the development of blocks, like it’s been very hybrid, like the ACF blocks, right? You can like kind of go in between, but now things are changing so quickly. And so many functionalities are being added to core. It’s like, now you have to get rid of those training wheels for the blocks and just like dive right in because otherwise you’re going to have all this.

[00:17:00] Sé Reed: middleman stuff that ends up costing a lot of money and, um, you know, bulking out the site essentially, you know, with a million different UIs. And then you have like, you know, some custom blocks built in the main thing and some ACF blocks and some theme blocks. And I don’t even know how you then manage your blocks.

[00:17:23] Sé Reed: Like what? Is there a block manager?

[00:17:26] Jason Cosper: Uh, yeah, I’m, I’m, uh, this is, this is where I announced that I’m, uh, building a block manager. I’m calling it X to the Z. Uh, it says, yo dog,

[00:17:36] Sé Reed: Is it really?

[00:17:38] Jason Cosper: I’m not doing any of that. Um, I,

[00:17:41] Sé Reed: good idea though.

[00:17:42] Jason Cosper: really wanted to make an exhibit joke.

[00:17:46] Sé Reed: I do this. I went to an exhibit show once. I felt really cool. It was like you needed Jason, I think, or somehow

[00:17:54] Jason Tucker: Sorry.

[00:17:57] Sé Reed: he’s like, you’re talking about it. I’m chiming in.

[00:17:59] Jason Tucker: Yeah. I said poor exhibit, man. The guy was a rapper and then he ended up being on TV once and now, now that’s all we talk about is him being on, on, uh, the TV

[00:18:09] Jason Cosper: my ride. Yeah.

[00:18:10] Nyasha Green: yeah.

[00:18:10] Sé Reed: even know what you’re all just talking about. I don’t know what

[00:18:13] Jason Tucker: there’s this thing called TV that a lot of people watch. And so

[00:18:19] Jason Cosper: Say, say watches, say, say watches all of her shows on her, on her laptop. And I

[00:18:25] Sé Reed: watch all of my shows on

[00:18:27] Jason Tucker: they wanted.

[00:18:28] Sé Reed: I watch any shows that I watch on my phone hiding away. My family. Yes.

[00:18:34] Jason Tucker: in a little bit on the, because you have to part of our, of our

[00:18:38] Jason Cosper: mean,

[00:18:39] Jason Tucker: title. So the, because you have, because you have to, I think, I think a lot of it comes from the fact that we were, we’re all early, um, Early adopters to the technology. And so there weren’t tools that were built yet for, for this stuff.

[00:18:55] Jason Tucker: I mean, people, they’re all trying to come up with like their version of these other, um, these other, uh, page builders and stuff, and trying to dump those types of technologies into, you know, um, the WordPress editor. Gutenberg, whatever it is, we’re calling it this week. But like the thing, the thing about that is, is technology is great.

[00:19:17] Jason Tucker: When you have these, uh, these developers that come up with like these really fancy names for like their, you know, their, their test setups and the way that they’re going to be developing things and whatnot, and those names get stuck. And then you end up with. All these early adopters that are, that are calling a Gutenberg and now it’s all in their texts.

[00:19:37] Jason Tucker: It’s all in the descriptions of their plugins. It’s all in there. Everything. So the, the, because you have to part is I think because of the fact that we were such early adopters to this, that we were expecting stuff to show up. Like I love ACF. I use ACF for a bunch of things. And I really wish. Like the editor had ACF functionality built into it, being able to pull in those, those values and stuff that I wanted to use and work with, and it doesn’t have it.

[00:20:06] Jason Tucker: You have to build blocks to do it. So the, because you have to part is, is literally that, you know, I do things a certain way because, and I want to use this new thing and I need to build this block now. Because I have to,

[00:20:20] Jason Cosper: it’s almost like we need a fields API, Jason.

[00:20:25] Sé Reed: wait, isn’t the

[00:20:25] Jason Tucker: know, I think we had it.

[00:20:26] Sé Reed: query block

[00:20:27] Jason Tucker: at one point we had a guy on that talked about that, huh?

[00:20:30] Sé Reed: Isn’t, I mean, the fields API is like, the, the fact that we don’t value custom fields when all of that is everything for everybody across the internet, um, since literally like, Since they were invented, they’ve been the main thing. Um, unlike post formats.

[00:20:47] Sé Reed: Um, sorry. Just a tiny bit of joke.

[00:20:52] Jason Tucker: Too

[00:20:52] Sé Reed: I’m all, I’m team custom fields. You’re team post formats, you know. Anyway, uh, I think that, um, We, we really, we neglect the custom fields. But I do recall, you know, Mika was, had a comment up here that, Uh, she remembered some sort of plugin that was maybe telling you what your blocks were from. I have a vague memory that, uh, custom post type content is coming to, um, is coming to like the blog or the query block. But you know, there’s been a lot of going on in WordPress and I haven’t been able to track it all.

[00:21:27] Jason Cosper: What?

[00:21:27] Sé Reed: emotional pain. Uh, so

[00:21:30] Jason Tucker: PHP files.

[00:21:31] Sé Reed: yeah, so I just want to get back to the dang PHP files, to be honest, I really do.

[00:21:37] Sé Reed: Um, but I, I have a vague memory of query blocks or some sort of block being expanded at some point, possibly at 6. 5, uh, to include custom post types.

[00:21:53] Jason Cosper: Yeah,

[00:21:53] Sé Reed: So, I mean, that’s good. That’s a step, right? That’s a step in the right direction. Is

[00:21:59] Jason Cosper: feel like I remember in the state of the word, uh, that Matias specifically was showing off

[00:22:06] Sé Reed: that where it was?

[00:22:07] Jason Cosper: yeah, some, some things around, um,

[00:22:11] Sé Reed: Dynamic content.

[00:22:13] Jason Cosper: Yeah. Dynamic content, uh, pulling in like, uh, effectively, uh, fields API without saying fields API. And I feel like Scott has been pretty busy lately. Um, so it, it wouldn’t surprise me, uh, if we start to kind of see that stuff creep in a little bit, this is, this is the thing is, um, you know, Here, this is all the stuff that we hoped for because we’re like power users.

[00:22:42] Jason Cosper: Um, and the thing is, is like, um, you know, we’re, we’re kind of, um, I, I, I keep going to this metaphor. We’re, uh, changing the engine on the plane while it’s mid flight. Like, doing, yeah, doing Gutenberg, uh, doing the block editor, doing whatever we’re calling it this week. As Courtney said in our comments, unlearning is hard.

[00:23:11] Jason Cosper: Once you call it something, it’s hard to quit calling it that thing. Um. You know, you, you can do it. It is possible. Um, but it’s hard. Um, and, um, changing out this engine mid flight, we’re realizing like, Oh crap. Uh, here’s some considerations that we had not made before. Um, You know, Scott, when we had him on to talk about the fields API, uh, was talking in part, if I recall correctly, uh, and Scott, if you’re watching, like, please, uh, you know, jump in the comments or whatever, and clear this up if I’m getting this wrong.

[00:23:51] Jason Cosper: Um, but like, Hey, um, the fields API will also. Benefit, um, having, um, the stuff for like the, the dashboard redesign, as we kind of make that a little more, uh, flexible and stuff like that. Um, so, um, kind of making, uh, the dashboard itself more, uh, Gutenberg y in, in some ways. Yeah. More, more, uh,

[00:24:19] Sé Reed: that’s actually a question I have. You know, you can customize the admin on the backend. Can you do blocks on the backend of the admin right now?

[00:24:27] Jason Cosper: I don’t think right now

[00:24:29] Sé Reed: Interesting. Do, uh,

[00:24:31] Jason Cosper: or, or now do you, it felt like you were about to say something there.

[00:24:36] Nyasha Green: I was gonna say no, but, um, I was gonna say something else. If it comes back, I’ll say it.

[00:24:41] Sé Reed: Um, I wanted to ask you about the dynamic blocks thing. ’cause do you talk, because that’s basically the, the reason, right. For making, um, custom blocks essentially. I mean, at least for me, like getting custom data into it, essentially. Right. That, sorry.

[00:24:58] Nyasha Green: No, like that’s if my course does well, my next course will hopefully, I’m not supposed to say this out loud, hopefully be on dynamic blocks. Um, mine is more of us. Thanks. Uh, starter course for it because that’s what I needed at the time. But yes, it is. And I’ve been actually playing around with some stuff this week, trying to make dynamic blocks because I’m making a family tree website.

[00:25:17] Nyasha Green: Um, so yeah, most of the power users, most of the power

[00:25:22] Sé Reed: got the cue.

[00:25:23] Nyasha Green: yeah, um, they do want dynamic blocks. It’s difficult though. It’s like, if you like, I jumped in trying to make dynamic blocks and I was like, I can’t do this, why is it so hard? I had to go and learn the basics. So it’s like, if you don’t know the basics, you’re not going to be able to build a dynamic block.

[00:25:39] Sé Reed: So, are there

[00:25:39] Nyasha Green: to start with

[00:25:40] Sé Reed: I’ve struggled too with, like, the, again, the naming about this, right? So, dynamic blocks Excuse me. Dynamic blocks, as used, as described, I’ll link to it in the show notes, but as described by like the developer, the WordPress developer, um, that just means blocks that are rendering with content, right?

[00:26:03] Sé Reed: Like they’re not necessarily static. So they would have some sort of dynamic content in it. Is that the same thing as pulling in, Basically like custom, custom content, custom meta, that sort of stuff

[00:26:17] Nyasha Green: Yeah, it can be. Um, I’m trying to think of a good example. Da da da da da da da da da da. Um, one idea I have for one of my blocks for my family tree website is to be able to pull, of course can’t pull information from ancestry. com, but pull from like a newspaper source. So that would be an example. Um,

[00:26:35] Sé Reed: like an external data source, right? Like a feed coming from an external data source or but what about like from your own, uh, from your own content, right? So say you have a custom post type with custom fields, right? Like is that

[00:26:50] Nyasha Green: That would also be dynamic. Yeah,

[00:26:52] Sé Reed: that would be a dynamic block, right? Because that content is dynamic. Is there another word for that or is it just just dynamic blocks?

[00:26:59] Sé Reed: Okay.

[00:27:02] Nyasha Green: to WordPress. I’m sure it’s 12 terms for it. Um,

[00:27:05] Jason Cosper: Right, I’m sure

[00:27:06] Nyasha Green: I wanted to say earlier.

[00:27:09] Jason Cosper: I’m sure we’ve got Courtney in the chat, uh, just, just about to drop whatever it is. The, uh, our, our factotum. Nah, please. I’m sorry. Continue.

[00:27:19] Jason Tucker: Silence. Silence.

[00:27:29] Nyasha Green: for an answer for something super specific, but I would go to the place and it would use a different term. And I’m like, is this the right thing? Am I on the right site?

[00:27:35] Nyasha Green: Okay. And that happened, that would happen all the time. So when I wrote the course, um, one of the people who was reading my scripts, they was like, is this really necessary to go into much detail about how there are different naming, names for everything? Yeah. Yeah, if someone takes this course and they want to build more blocks and they have a question and they need to know, they want to know like all 1, 700 terminologies and I missed like 1, 800 of them, well, I got them halfway there.

[00:28:00] Nyasha Green: So

[00:28:02] Sé Reed: I think maybe we should just have like a decision like you’re, maybe we just say like, whatever N says in her courses, that’s our new standard. Like that’s what we’re gonna call it. Because I, you know, I just need like an anchor somewhere, and I mean this in every fashion right now in the WordPress world.

[00:28:20] Sé Reed: I just need an anchor that I can like latch onto. Obviously this show. And, and my Jason’s here, my adjacent lifestyle, uh, but I, I do, um, yeah, I, I, yeah, mm hmm. Anyway, sorry, I got distracted again by my emotional distress. I, I, I also got distracted by the comments because everyone’s now, now everyone’s in the comments debating.

[00:28:45] Sé Reed: What dynamic blocks mean? And is it a server? Like, what is, what, what does that mean to anybody? Like, I don’t, ugh, I’m just, all I want is content, custom post types, and, uh, custom fields. Like, I do not understand why this is complicated. It seems like the most base Like, that is what all of ACF is, like, all about, so I do not understand why, if we’re going for that sort of functionality, that that’s not, like, just baked in at the beginning.

[00:29:16] Sé Reed: It makes no sense to me.

[00:29:19] Jason Cosper: So now, now that we’re hitting the basically the 30 minute mark now seems like a good time to ask, uh, Nye, like, uh, what, what are some of the custom WordPress blocks that you have built because you had to,

[00:29:36] Nyasha Green: Uh, what, what do you mean? Like, some of ’em I’ve had, like all of them I’ve had to build because I had to

[00:29:41] Jason Cosper: yeah, like, what, what, what are some of, what are some of your favorite ones?

[00:29:47] Nyasha Green: Oh, my favorite one right now is the one I’m building for my again, my family tree website. Um, I wanted a very like unique profile for when I talk about my family members. So I’m not a designer. I suck at designing. Just let me build it. Tell me what you want. I’ll build it. Um, I made a really special one that looks like a photo frame.

[00:30:04] Nyasha Green: And then like there in the side, there’s a picture of my ancestor. And then there’s information about them that kind of flows like you’re looking at a newspaper article, but it’s in a picture frame. So it’s like, My ancestor was so important. They got this like little plaque about them. So that’s my favorite custom block that I’ve made.

[00:30:20] Nyasha Green: And I cannot wait to show this website, like make it

[00:30:24] Sé Reed: that’s adorable, but I also have a question about the graphic part. Is that something that is an actual graphic or is that something that is CSS? Like what is the form made of?

[00:30:36] Nyasha Green: It’s a graphic right now, the actual frame. I might have to do it in CSS, but I mean, right now it looks fine. It just depends on if I change the profiles in the future, because it’s going to be the first website I’m going to add everybody. But as this grows, as I wanted to, it’s called the family forest project.

[00:30:54] Nyasha Green: So the goal is to meet people who see their ancestors on here and they’re like, I think we’re related. And they add themselves and their families. And it keeps growing and keeps growing and keeps growing. So eventually it may change the CSS, but it’s actually a graphic right now.

[00:31:06] Sé Reed: Interesting. I’m so fascinated by the, just the whole. I get it. I have to take your course too. I’m actually thinking about, uh, you know, my spare time actually doing the course and then like live posting something about it at the same time. I think that’d be kind of fun. That, that’s really what I should do to make it interactive for myself.

[00:31:26] Sé Reed: Also, I guess it’s just me there talking to you. It’s, I’m going to be like talking to the, try to talk to the person talking to me.

[00:31:34] Jason Cosper: there’s,

[00:31:34] Jason Tucker: like texting her. What’d you mean by this?

[00:31:37] Sé Reed: Explain yourself. Put

[00:31:40] Jason Cosper: the additional accountability of, uh, you’re doing it in a public facing way, like you’re showing your work, basically, you’re, you’re out there, like showing that you’re, you’re doing the thing. And then if you

[00:31:52] Sé Reed: it on my blog.

[00:31:52] Jason Cosper: it, if you stop doing it, then people will go, Hey, what happened to that?

[00:31:56] Sé Reed: No one will say that. No one follows up, first of all. And second of all, I hate public accountability as evidenced by what is happening right now. I want to just go hide in a hole.

[00:32:05] Jason Tucker: It’s all

[00:32:06] Sé Reed: I don’t hate public accountability. Just don’t want to be in

[00:32:10] Nyasha Green: you can’t let people sweat. That’s why I build in public. I’ve been building this site on public all week. And that’s another thing that used to tick me off. Can I say that? They used to tick me off. Like all these developers act like we never make mistakes. We know all of this. There was no beginners.

[00:32:25] Nyasha Green: I woke up and I knew WordPress and everything about it. When you ask them a question, like, okay, I don’t, can you answer this question for me? I was like, I’m going to build in public these mistakes. I’ve been making some of the mistakes, mistakes I’ve made. And people are like. Thank you for saying that. I messed this up too.

[00:32:39] Nyasha Green: Or, thank you for this, thank you for that. If we can’t show our mistakes, like, how are people going to learn? Like, I hate that. It’s in tech, it’s not just WordPress. I hate that developer’s attitude, like, I’m untouchable and I’m the god of code. Shut up.

[00:32:52] Jason Cosper: Uh huh.

[00:32:53] Nyasha Green: Teach people. So, you know, you can’t go far unless you go together, unless we go together, like teach people, let people see, work with people, do it in public, look at it from that point of view, and anybody else, like who cares, they can say, Oh my God, you built this course and you’re messing up.

[00:33:07] Nyasha Green: Well, I got paid to mess up. What about you?

[00:33:13] Sé Reed: No, this is why you’re the best. I’m going to do this. I’m going to set up my new blog inspired by, uh, uh, Cosper over here, and then I’m going to build it. custom blocks inspired by Nye. And then, uh, Tucker, uh,

[00:33:30] Jason Tucker: to micro dot blog.

[00:33:33] Sé Reed: don’t know. I’ll automate it with something that’ll, that’ll be in, in, in honor of you. This is my new thing. It’s good. All right. Well, uh, we’re going to, uh, our new thing is, uh, we have this thing called the after cooler. Now, are you familiar with this? You are. Oh, okay. So we’re gonna hop into the after cooler. And then, um, last week it was really exciting. We got some new boosts in our discord and now we can play mini golf.

[00:34:00] Sé Reed: So I really wanna play some mini golf. It’s the whole reason I came on the episode today, and also lie. So, uh, we should go play mini golf.

[00:34:12] Jason Tucker: We should go play mini

[00:34:13] Nyasha Green: We should

[00:34:14] Sé Reed: Yeah,

[00:34:14] Nyasha Green: also, if anybody’s hiring, I’m looking for part time or full time work. Cause I already work contract work in part time work, but I need a full time job. Just want to put that out there. I’ve got to plug

[00:34:25] Jason Tucker: We, we

[00:34:26] Sé Reed: y’all should, y’all should hire. I, I,

[00:34:28] Jason Tucker: below.

[00:34:29] Sé Reed: yeah.

[00:34:29] Nyasha Green: Mom’s got to eat.

[00:34:30] Sé Reed: too, by the way. I, I really am here for night. And the golf. Okay, see you

[00:34:37] Jason Tucker: links will be in the description below and on the blog post and all those fun things. And we’ll make sure that, uh, all nice stuff’s on there. Thank you very much for hanging out with us. We really appreciate it. Talk to y’all later. Here is our outro. Hey, as Cosper said earlier, um, you can go subscribe to us at the various places that you find podcasts as well as video stuff.

[00:35:01] Jason Tucker: So if you want to go find us at wherever it is that you watch videos and wherever it is that you listen to podcasts, feel free to do that. And we’ll talk to y’all later. You have a good one. Have a good weekend. See y’all. Bye bye.

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One response to “EP474 – Building Custom WordPress Blocks Because You Have To”

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    On this episode of WPwatercooler, the panel, consisting of Jason Tucker, Sé Reed, Jason Cosper, and Nyasha Green, delves into the necessity of building custom […]


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