It has been a couple months since the initial launch of the Block Visibility plugin, but I am please to announce that version 1.1 is finally here. With it comes a number of usability enhancements as well as the ability to schedule any block, or group of blocks, in the WordPress editor.
The most significant addition in version 1.1 is the ability to schedule blocks. This allows you to set a start and/or end date for when a block should be visible on the frontend of your site.
Displaying time-sensitive content is historically quite difficult in WordPress. There are purpose built solutions for this, but often you are limited to the types of content that you can schedule. Since Block Visibility applies visibility controls to all blocks, this new functionality allows you to schedule anything with ease.
Assume you are running a business and you have a page on your site dedicated to seasonal offers or events. Perhaps you own a store that is planning to run a sale during the month of December. How do you ensure the promotion code for the sale only displays between December 1st and December 31st?
Of course you could add and remove the content manually. But why not make use of block scheduling and your content will be dynamically shown and hidden all on its own.
The applications for block scheduling are seemingly endless, but I expect it will be primarily used by businesses on WordPress that need to control time-sensitive content. However, if you have ideas for other ways scheduling can be used, or additional features you would like see added, please let me know in the comments.
Content Management Tools
Block Visibility was originally built with content management in mind. Often a client would run into a situation where they had a page on their website that was already published, but they needed to work on updates to that page. Sometimes, it would take awhile to complete those updates and they wanted a way to save their changes without their incomplete content being published on the live page.
This is where the Hide Block control comes in so handy. A user can just hide the content that they are still working on and publish the page. Their content is saved, but the public will not see it until they are ready for the grand reveal.
In version 1.1, the workflow for hiding a block was streamlined with a new toolbar button. This makes it much quicker to hide, or reveal, a block as opposed to toggling the option in the block sidebar. Future releases may include a keyboard shortcut, but this is a solid first step.
After getting Block Visibility in the hands of users, it became clear that it was impossible to easily identify which blocks had active visibility controls when simply looking at the editor. You had to click on each block to see which settings were enabled. On pages with lots of blocks, this proved to be a content management nightmare.
Therefore, version 1.1 introduces “contextual indicators”. Now when a block has an enabled visibility control and is unselected, it will be slightly faded and have a dashed border along with a visibility icon.
Modifying the styling of blocks, especially third-party blocks, is a tricky affaire. So future releases will include refinements to the contextual indicators. For example, on themes or blocks with dark backgrounds, it can be hard to see the new styling.
You’re in Control
As always, the user should be able to decide which features they want to use. All the new functionality detailed above can easily be toggled on and off on the Block Visibility settings page. You can disable the Date & time control (scheduling) on the Visibility Controls tab and you can disable the editor enhancements on the General Settings tab.
A rough roadmap for future versions is outlined below.
- Refinement of the contextual indicators, especially for themes with dark backgrounds and themes with “dark mode” functionality.
- Compatibility with the new full-site editing functionality coming in WordPress v5.6+.
- Keyboard shortcut for hiding blocks.
- The ability to limit who can use the visibility controls provided by Block Visibility based on user roles.
Have a features that you would like to see? Find an issue with the plugin?
Please leave a comment below or in the support forum in the Plugin Repository. Thanks for using Block Visibility and I hope you find it useful.