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Block Management: Add the possibility to hide/show blocks from the inserter #14139

youknowriad opened this Issue Feb 27, 2019 · 5 comments


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youknowriad commented Feb 27, 2019

Previously #4573

There has been a lot of feedback recently suggesting the need for a solution to "manage" the available blocks in the editor. Installing block plugins often brings a dozen of blocks while in reality the user only needs one or two of them.

After trying some existing solutions Gutenberg Manager, Cloud Blocks, Co Blocks... It seems that CoBlocks approach is the one that matches the Gutenberg design and development guidelines the most.

Let's try to explore integrating it (or something similar). Important notes:

  • UI close to the editor
  • It should hide and not disable blocks (disabling can harm the experience if used previously...)
  • Hiding per category and block works for me but would love insights from designers
  • The code should match design, dev and a11y guidelines.

@youknowriad youknowriad added this to the WordPress 5.x milestone Feb 27, 2019


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karmatosed commented Feb 27, 2019

For reference here is what you have in CoBlocks now, props @richtabor for this work:




A few points I would raise:

  • How can the modal look more like the block picker itself? Does it need to be so large and different?
  • Feedback/ awareness of disabling/enabling per block could be clearer. It's hard to know about that interaction.
  • Moving to options makes sense.

@mapk mapk added this to To Do in Phase 2 via automation Feb 27, 2019


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mapk commented Mar 1, 2019

Really nice work on this, @richtabor!

I like the use of the modal as it's keeping inline with similar interaction patterns from the "Tools & Options" screen. I'd agree that we might be able to make it look closer to the Block Inserter, and not be so wide. I've mocked something up to help relate what I'm saying.

block manager

How to disable/enable individual blocks needs some more iteration. There's not a lot of user feedback happening and it's not clear exactly how to proceed once the modal opens up.

I do love that if a block is in use, when clicking "Disable all," that particular block doesn't disable. Smart.

And while the wording isn't quite right, I can imagine the Tools & Options sidebar to eventually include a "Block Management" section. This could include the Block Manager, Resusable block management, and even the Block DIrectory (when we get there).



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samuelsidler commented Mar 1, 2019

Thinking aloud: I wonder if it makes sense to add in a full interface for this, versus Gutenberg being "smart" about which blocks are shown and when. For example, Gutenberg could expose which blocks are part of which plugins, even notifying the user when they attempt to disable a plugin, if they've used blocks from it. Gutenberg could also automatically disable blocks that haven't been used, but still expose them if searched for and note that they're "disabled". I'm sure there are other approaches that could improve both discoverability of blocks and the overhead of dozens of blocks installed.

Adding an interface for block management, especially one that's inherently complex[1] seems like it could be the wrong approach, as it puts the onus on users to manage blocks, instead of WordPress working for them.

[1] If a typical user has a dozen or so plugins installed and each of them has 1-10 blocks, there's a lot to sift through to determine what's in use, what's not, what's the "right" block for them, etc. Do we have a sense of the average number of plugins installed and the current number of blocks per plugin? Is that data that can be gathered to make a more informed decision? (Noting, of course, that blocks will only get more not less popular.)


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aduth commented Mar 4, 2019

Pull request at #14224

@noisysocks noisysocks moved this from To Do to Tighten Up in Phase 2 Mar 5, 2019


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mapk commented Mar 7, 2019

I wonder if it makes sense to add in a full interface for this, versus Gutenberg being "smart" about which blocks are shown and when.

Hey @samuelsidler! I didn't want to leave your comment unaddressed. Your idea aligns with where AI is taking software interfaces in the future. I love it.

Right now we're hoping to get something like this in WP 5.2, and building an interface based on a modal system we already have in place shouldn't be too overwhelming. In fact, it looks like the scope of this might lighten up dramatically. Take a look at #14224 (comment) for further information.

Phase 2 automation moved this from Tighten Up to Done Mar 15, 2019

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