Developer Focus: ACF Pro – Component Field Add-On

May 19, 2016
By Forge and Smith

We like efficiency at Forge and Smith. When we encounter a web development or web design process that takes more time and effort than it should, we have to improve it.

Forge and Smith WordPress web developer Alan Chen recently released a brand-new custom field add-on for Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) Pro. The base plugin is one of the most utilized plugins for WordPress — but he took it one step further!

What’s ACF Pro?

ACF Pro powers a large amount of the content-management-system (CMS) we create for our sites. But unless you are a web developer, you likely won’t interact with the plugin directly. The way you’ll see ACF-Pro in action is the building blocks for copy, images, and anything else you use to edit or create new content in your WordPress dashboard.

A CMS is composed of a wide variety of fields to input (and edit) content: text blocks, links, bullet points, paragraph text and so on. Our developers use ACF Pro for its flexibility in building content templates that require complex, adaptable content control — and still easily manageable by our clients.

ACF Pro also cuts down the amount of time spent writing code, which enables our team to build websites more efficiently. That means a quicker, more usable website for you.

The New ACF add-on

Alan’s Advanced Custom Fields – Component Field add-on is a simple-yet-powerful tool that allows you to group fields as a component. These components are easier for our developers to work with, reuse, and reposition throughout a build.

The add-on also allows for those components to be nested within each other, with changes made to one replicating through all of the linked blocks. What does that mean? Instead of manually updating dozens of items in your website’s code, we can update one and replicate that update to all the others in the set.

That’s an incredible level of customization, while actually reducing time spent on development.

What it can do

The tool can be used to create custom text areas, testimonial blocks, gallery sliders that pull in WordPress posts by title or taxonomy. Developers create the component group once, define which pages and post types it’s available to — and then start stacking it into those pages like Lego.

Added benefits

Developers can export pre-defined components from one website build and import them into new projects. They can then modify them as required to suit the new project. Instead of having to compose a new plugin each time, they can grab the pieces they need and begin.

Instant changes can be made to sites by developers to add new functions to pages, posts, and custom post types. They simply define the new functionality, go to the content area of the page, and start adding components. Here’s a basic example.

Do you have a pre-existing page that now needs a gallery? Easily done. Need a custom callout to line up with a new pay-per-click campaign or sales initiative? It can do that, too. If you need to create something more elaborate, here’s an advanced nesting example.

Recent Forge and Smith website builds use the power of the ACF Pro – Component Field add-on. Complex pages are easily managed in the WordPress dashboard.

We love working with WordPress — and spreading the word. Learn more about our custom development services for your business.

Forge and Smith

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