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Tag Groups, Version 0.38: Gutenberg Blocks

Screenshot - Gutenberg Post Edit screen - WordPress

Gutenberg is a new editor and it will be one of the most disruptive changes in the history of WordPress. We are proud to present you now the first version of the Tag Groups plugin that comes with its own Gutenberg blocks.

What Gutenberg means for Tag Groups

Even though users will be able to opt out, Gutenberg will become part of the default package.  This means new challenges, the need to get used to a different way of writing posts, but also the chance to do things much better than before. Looking at the Tag Groups plugin, we see a huge opportunity to make the configuration of tag clouds much user-friendlier.

Screenshot - Gutenberg Inspector - WordPress

Using shortcodes is a bit like writing code: You need to search their meanings and accepted values in a documentation and you have to make sure that you strictly follow the syntax and avoid typos, formatting and strings with spaces that are not enclosed in quotes.

Blocks are entirely different:1 You configure them with form elements such as menus, sliders or input fields. Each of them can have a self-explanatory title and a link to more information. They can even be “clever” enough to avoid settings that don’t make sense. Instead of searching IDs of tag groups or names of taxonomies, you simply select them from a list.

How to use the blocks of Tag Groups

First of all, you need Gutenberg on your WordPress site. Currently you have to install an extra plugin for that, but starting from version 5.0 it will be inside the WordPress core package.

Screenshot - Gutenberg - add block - WordPressWith Gutenberg your post edit screen looks different: The content is organized in blocks. Each of the blocks has its own menu, and many of them reveal further options in the Inspector under the “Blocks” tab. If you don’t see the Inspector, you need to click the gear-wheel icon in the top bar.

You find the Tag Groups blocks in the “Add block” menu – that is the plus in the circle. Try searching for “Tag Cloud”.

Since the tag cloud blocks are “dynamic blocks” they don’t display “live” on your edit screen. You still have to press the “Preview” button in order to see your changes.

What will happen to your existing shortcodes

Nothing. They will survive. Shortcodes will still be working and you won’t have to touch any of your published posts and pages.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict the development of WordPress in the far future. Looking at the huge amount of plugins and themes that use shortcodes, however, it is safe to assume that they will still be supported for some years to come.2

Transforming the block

Screenshot - Gutenberg menu - transform into shortcode - WordPressNot all shortcode parameters are available in the blocks because they are rarely used.3 And some options, such as font sizes, accept only a limited range of values. If you want more freedom to configure them, you first need to transform the tag cloud block into a “shortcode” block. You can do so through one of the menus directly at the block.

A shortcode block is simply a block that contains a shortcode, including the square brackets. The tag cloud shortcode may look like that:Screenshot - Gutenberg - Shortcode Block - WordPress

Please note, however, that it is not possible to transform a Tag Groups shortcode (back) into a block. You would have to create a new block and copy the settings.

The output is exactly the same for blocks and shortcodes. You only have to make sure they have the same settings.

If you prefer the classic editor

There are many folks out there who prefer to keep the classic editor. There is nothing you need to do now. Starting from WordPress 5.0, you will have to install the Classic Editor plugin.

Give it a try – or take your time

Gutenberg is still under development. You most certainly find many issues in the way how it works today. If you don’t like the “Gutenberg experience” now, you may want to check back in a few weeks.

Things might still change how Tag Groups blocks appear and interact. An extension of a beta version cannot be final.

PS: Other Changes

The shortcode parameters “prepend” and “append” for the tag clouds 4 can now understand the placeholder {count}. Now you can do things like that:

Screenshot - Tag Clouds - numbers – WordPress

The HTML structure of the tags has slightly changed (mainly <span>s were added). So if you used a custom styling, better make sure it all still looks fine.

 

We hope that you will find the new features useful. As usual, please let us know if you run into any glitches! And if you want to honor several weeks of work, please give us a 5-star rating or check out the premium plugin!

Show 4 footnotes

  1. It is possible to add a “shortcode wizard” to the edit screen, but this would mean a lot of overhead for coding and maintenance, and once the shortcode is rendered it would be very difficult to parse it again for editing.
  2. Or somebody will write a plugin that returns support for shortcodes to the core.
  3. Namely:’include_terms’, ”exclude_terms’ and ‘show_all_groups’
  4. of the free plugin – premium will follow later
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Updated: 2018-06-15T19:04:27+00:00

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