Understanding the New Naming of Patterns in WordPress
WordPress has always been a popular platform for website development, and its latest update brings some significant changes to the way reusable blocks and patterns are handled. In this article, we will explore the new naming of patterns in WordPress and how it affects users.
What are Reusable Blocks and Patterns?
Before we dive into the changes, let’s first understand what reusable blocks and patterns are. Reusable blocks are content blocks that can be created and edited in the block editor and then reused in other places, such as being inserted into posts or pages. On the other hand, block patterns are pre-designed layouts that can be inserted into posts and pages. Once inserted, they can be edited and customized to fit the user’s needs.
What’s New in WordPress 6.3?
The latest update of WordPress 6.3 brings a significant change to the way reusable blocks and patterns are named. Reusable blocks have now been renamed to patterns, with the option to be synced. This offers the same functionality as the former reusable blocks where all instances can be updated at once. Non-synced patterns are just regular patterns that can be edited independently of other instances that have been inserted.
This change was confirmed by WordPress contributor Aki Hamano, who posted a diagram on Twitter regarding the renaming. However, some developers have expressed concern about the change, as clients already find the pattern and reusable block concept challenging to grasp.
Learning materials and documentation will need to be updated with very little notice, and Gutenberg contributor Paal Joachim Romdahl commented that it would be helpful to have more time to test this in a few versions of the Gutenberg plugin.
Pattern Creation in the Block Editor
As part of this effort, WordPress 6.3 will also introduce pattern creation in the block editor using the same interface that it previously used for reusable blocks. Pattern creation necessitates having a place for users to view and manage their patterns. WordPress 6.3 will also include a first pass at a Pattern Library inside the Site Editor, which will include both patterns and template parts.
The Potential of Partially Synced Patterns
In May, contributors began a discussion about the concept of partially synced patterns. Partially synced patterns retain a reference to the source pattern when inserted, and the blocks within the pattern are locked so that they cannot be removed or reordered, and new blocks cannot be inserted.
When the source pattern is updated, all instances of blocks that reference the source pattern are updated too, but the content values the user entered are retained. This concept offers a glimpse of what might be more granular control coming to patterns in the future.
Partially synced patterns would bring distinct benefits to many CMS and content design use cases where clients may be editing content. However, the discussion on making partially synced patterns possible continues in search of an implementation that will ensure users don’t modify the patterns in ways that destroy the ability to display the retained content.
The renaming of reusable blocks to patterns with the option to be synced is a significant change in WordPress 6.3. While some developers have expressed concern about the change, it is part of an effort towards consolidating the many different block types into a single concept and streamlining the content and site editors.
WordPress 6.3 will also introduce pattern creation in the block editor using the same interface that it previously used for reusable blocks. Additionally, partially synced patterns offer a glimpse of what might be more granular control coming to patterns in the future.
As with any significant change, there will be a learning curve for users and developers alike. However, these changes offer exciting possibilities for content creators and site designers to create more customized and streamlined websites using WordPress.