Pinegrow WP modular theme creation best practice: Using ACF Blocks or ACF Flexible Content


I’ve used Pinegrow WP several times for building simple bespoke themes with low level of editability, and moderate use of Advanced Custom Fields. This time I’d like provide more flexibility to my tech-savvy client though.

I’ve a strong backgrund in Perch CMS development: In Perch there’re Blocks, with that you can build admin screens in a very flexible way. Most advanced CMSs have these options: There’s a great overview of how different CMSs manage this task here: How Different CMS's Handle Content Blocks | CSS-Tricks

In my understanding, in a theme creation process powered by Pinegrow WP and ACF Pro there’re not only one, but basically two ways to implement this: You can use either ACF Blocks, or ACF Flexible Content (please correct me, if I’m wrong). I understand how they work, how to implement them, and also their differences. However, I’d be very interested – I’m asking pro users here :slight_smile: – which way do you suggest to use?

These are my considerations, by priority:

  • Easy implementation and maintenance.
  • High level of flexibility (Show Posts actions within blocks, etc.).
  • User interface display in admin is less important (I wouldn’t style Gutenberg blocks in the editor etc.).

There’s a short discussion here on a similar topic, but it’s quite basic, and not Pinegrow-specific:

The themes I’m working on are usually not ‘generic’ all-purpose WP themes, but rather completely unique, and specific themes created for my clients, accordingly to bespoke website designs.

What do you think @matjaz or @Emmanuel ?

Thank you very much in advance,
Márton Lente

Hi @martonlente, it appears that you have a ACF Pro license available. In such case I would go with ACF Blocks, because they are nicely supported by PG WP builder:

1 Like

Hello @matjaz ,

Thanks for your answer, and also the link. :slight_smile:

Just let me ask two more questions in the light of the above:

  • Does it basically mean, that ACF Pro’s Flexible Content method is somewhat obsolete, now that Gutenberg Blocks are available, and last year Pinegrow also introduced it to its users? Or do you see any use-case, where you’d prefer using ACF Pro Flexible Content instead?
  • To be honest, I’d probably still prefer Flexible Content implementation after considering my experience with WP seeing less obstacles here, and reading this nice article: How to use ACF Pro Flexible Content with Pinegrow WP - Pinegrow Web Editor - Documentation and Tutorials Do you think it’s necessarily a bad choice for the task? (I might just want to validate, my choice is reasonable.)

Thank you very much in advance! Your tips are really welcome.

Kind regards,
Márton Lente

Well, I guess this will remain your own choice.
You can use the new blocks system (with ACF blocks), the classic editor or use ACF to create a fully customized interface.

It will depend on your customer’s expectations, the time you wish to devote to the project etc…
It is not useless to master all the solutions, if only to have the choice.

1 Like

Thanks @Emmanuel for the tips! I’ll likely go the ‘ACF Flexible Content way’ this time then, and will discover working with Gutenberg blocks on a later project.

Just maybe one question, which may be difficult to judge without experience: What do you think requires less time of the two to build a flexible admin screen with (if the admin-styling of Gutenberg blocks isn’t in consideration, and all ‘blocks’ would be fully custom, section-like parts of the page)?

Márton Lente

I’m the author of the post about Flexible content on the Pinegrow documentation site and it’s a subject I experimented well a few years ago because it’s great and it allowed me to do exactly what I wanted, without depending on a page builder plugin.

WordPress has evolved since then, whether we like it or not (I’m not a big fan of gutenberg), the trend today is blocks everywhere and that’s a goal for 2021 from the WordPress dev team …
See: WordPress Roadmap Update: Full-Site Editing Targeted for 5.8 Release in June 2021 – WordPress Tavern

But then again, no one has to depend on trends, and as long as WordPress doesn’t remove features that are necessary for ACF’s historical functionality to work, all is well.

1 Like

Thanks @Emmanuel for the clarification, and insights! After reading the articles and comments I’ve a better understanding of the different approaches. :+1: