What’s Missing From The Block Editor

In my daily life as a freelance developer I’ve been staying away from the block editor until now. This has been more coincidence than a conscious decision on my part. None of my clients wanted to use it and even new projects favored different approaches. For years, I have been building WordPress backends with ACF flexible content fields. It was flexible enough to let the users move around pre-defined modules or blocks but also allowed me as a developer to constrain the user what the design had in store for them.

Enter my first new project of 2021 and the Block Editor™. Together with another developer we figured we should try to build the layout with the block editor for a few weeks and see if we hit major walls. So far, there have been many walls to climb, but we got over them one way or another. Here are a few things, I think need to change soon to allow me to build websites to spec that make the designers, users, and developers happy:

Block Templates

Block templates are nice for either creating demo content or for creating a hard/fixed layout. It’s either too flexible or not at all. What I need to be able to do is:

  1. Lock a block in a certain position, i.e., it has to be here and the user can’t move this block anywhere else.
  2. Lock an optional block in a certain position: i.e., the block doesn’t have to be there, but if it is, it needs to be in this position.
  3. Define editable areas, e.g., in between my fixed blocks in position 1 and n the user can add two more blocks from a predefined set of blocks. I’d also need to be able to limit this to a certain number of blocks and limit the re-usability of blocks in this area.

If these issues were adressed, the block editor together with ACF could be a viable solution for me going forward.