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Implement partially synced patterns behind an experimental flag #56235

merged 9 commits into from
Dec 1, 2023


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@kevin940726 kevin940726 commented Nov 17, 2023


Alternative to #55807.

This PR also includes #56495, which sets the block id using nanoid when the inspector control is checked.

It only supports the content attribute for the core/paragraph for now. More blocks and attributes will be supported in future PRs.


See #53705. The reason to explore this approach is try to avoid monkey-patching setAttributes to limit the pattern-related logic inside the scope of the pattern block itself.

In #55807, we explored the approach of using nested registry to achieve that. That approach has a flaw of assuming only setAttributes could alter a block's attributes, but in theory there are more ways to do that (updateBlock for instance). The same goes for the "reading" side of the flow, which is more complicated too.


This approach replaces the inner blocks of the pattern block to create an isolated entity that doesn't get saved to the post but has impact over the undo/redo history. We can then derive the overrides from the updated blocks and update the pattern block.

Because setAttributes internally always creates a new undo level for each different block updates, we have to find a way to ignore some updates so that it doesn't break the undo/redo history. This PR creates a new private action syncDerivedBlockAttributes that behaves just the same as updateBlockAttributes but completely ignores the undo/redo history.

Testing Instructions

Follow the instructions in #55807.

Screenshots or screencast

@kevin940726 kevin940726 added [Type] Technical Prototype Offers a technical exploration into an idea as an example of what's possible [Feature] Synced Patterns Related to synced patterns (formerly reusable blocks) [Block] Block The "Reusable Block" Block [Type] Experimental Experimental feature or API. [Feature] Patterns A collection of blocks that can be synced (previously reusable blocks) or unsynced labels Nov 17, 2023
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github-actions bot commented Nov 17, 2023

This pull request has changed or added PHP files. Please confirm whether these changes need to be synced to WordPress Core, and therefore featured in the next release of WordPress.

If so, it is recommended to create a new Trac ticket and submit a pull request to the WordPress Core Github repository soon after this pull request is merged.

If you're unsure, you can always ask for help in the #core-editor channel in WordPress Slack.

Thank you! ❤️

View changed files
❔ lib/block-supports/pattern.php
❔ lib/experimental/blocks.php
❔ lib/experimental/connection-sources/index.php
❔ lib/experimental/editor-settings.php
❔ lib/experiments-page.php
❔ lib/load.php

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github-actions bot commented Nov 17, 2023

Size Change: +1.57 kB (0%)

Total Size: 1.72 MB

Filename Size Change
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build/editor/index.min.js 47.7 kB +240 B (+1%)
build/patterns/index.min.js 5.28 kB +440 B (+9%) 🔍
ℹ️ View Unchanged
Filename Size
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Flaky tests detected in 8a06518.
Some tests passed with failed attempts. The failures may not be related to this commit but are still reported for visibility. See the documentation for more information.

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I have added a PR here that checks that this approach will scale to the partial syncing of blocks with innerBlocks

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@talldan talldan left a comment

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Thanks so much for all your explorations, @kevin940726!

So the crux of this approach seems to be:

  • Avoid using useEntityBlockEditor and controlled inner blocks and instead just use normal inner blocks.
  • Listen to changes on the normal inner blocks using registry.subscribe and replicates those to the pattern block
  • Use a new syncDerivedBlockAttributes action to avoid additional undo stack entries for the changes to the pattern block's attributes.

Comment on lines 227 to 245
useEffect( () => {
const { getBlocks } = blockEditorStore );
const { syncDerivedBlockAttributes } = unlock(
registry.dispatch( blockEditorStore )
let prevBlocks = getBlocks( patternClientId );
return registry.subscribe( () => {
const blocks = getBlocks( patternClientId );
if ( blocks !== prevBlocks ) {
prevBlocks = blocks;
syncDerivedBlockAttributes( patternClientId, {
dynamicContent: getDynamicContentFromBlocks(
} );
}, blockEditorStore );
}, [ patternClientId, registry ] );
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Any concerns over using registry.subscribe?

Feels like something where there's a lot of scope to explore different API ideas, like being able to subscribe to specific blocks, or proxying updates from one block to another.

Not something where we should hold back from shipping a first version though, but it'd be good to keep the conversation going.

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I think it's fine as it's what useBlockSync uses under the hood too. It would be good to have something designed for this type of use case, but most of the other solutions I tried break the undo stack or require more wiring to make them work. I think we can ask for some help from @wordpress/data and undo/redo history experts here. For now, I think this is an easy-to-understand enough implementation for our first version.

Comment on lines 170 to 177
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@talldan talldan Nov 27, 2023

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I guess it relies on the pattern source not being editable from the editor?

I can't see code that ever saves changes to the inner blocks back to the entity, so that's my assumption. I guess it means there's a risk that if #56534 isn't successful, this approach might need to be adjusted, and there's a bit of a dependency.

It does sort of make sense though that if there's no need to save to the entity from a pattern block instance that the code is completely removed, so yeah, there's that too 😄

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Yeah, it's under the assumption that we'll need a separate UI to edit the pattern source. This approach also breaks the current behavior, but I think that's expected from the product's vision. We'll need more UI/UX work to make it acceptable for regular users though 😅.

@kevin940726 kevin940726 self-assigned this Nov 27, 2023
@kevin940726 kevin940726 changed the title POC: Implement partially synced patterns by passively syncing dynamic content POC: Implement partially synced patterns by passively syncing overrides Nov 29, 2023
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@kevin940726 I added the new experimental flag to this PR.

kevin940726 and others added 2 commits November 30, 2023 10:42
…ynching of pattern instances (#56495)

* Automatically assign block ids

* Downgrade package to fix tooling

* Move to the editor package and allow core/button

* Fix test resolver
@kevin940726 kevin940726 marked this pull request as ready for review November 30, 2023 03:48
@kevin940726 kevin940726 changed the title POC: Implement partially synced patterns by passively syncing overrides Implement partially synced patterns behind an experimental flag Nov 30, 2023
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Looks good, most of the comments are minor 😄

The main thing right now is this is behind an experiment flag and it doesn't seem to affect patterns in any way when the experiment is turned off.

I think it'd be pretty good to follow up quickly after this with #56574 after this PR is merged, even if it's a version of that PR that only targets the experimental version of the pattern block, as it makes the editing of partially synced patterns make a lot more sense.

packages/block-library/src/block/index.php Outdated Show resolved Hide resolved

// Register the block support.
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I wonder if this might be a bit confusing as we don't add pattern as a support option to the block.json of paragraph. We could probably add a comment to the file about why it works this way.

Similar to the other comment, the name pattern might also not be descriptive enough.

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This looks more specific to block bindings (previously connections), but it is indeed necessary for the Pattern block.

packages/editor/src/hooks/pattern-partial-syncing.js Outdated Show resolved Hide resolved
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I wonder if this could be called pattern-partial-syncing.php or similar. While it does a slightly different thing to the js file of the same name, it is a little more descriptive.

'label' => __( 'Test partial syncing of patterns', 'gutenberg' ),
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I think we could add a better description to this, but maybe I can do a follow-up PR that adds some more detail.

@kevin940726 kevin940726 force-pushed the try/partial-sync-no-monkey-patching branch from 669bd94 to 728f592 Compare November 30, 2023 09:00
@kevin940726 kevin940726 merged commit 16eb009 into trunk Dec 1, 2023
52 checks passed
@kevin940726 kevin940726 deleted the try/partial-sync-no-monkey-patching branch December 1, 2023 02:56
@github-actions github-actions bot added this to the Gutenberg 17.3 milestone Dec 1, 2023

const id = nanoid( 6 );
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This is a random string that is going to be generated whenever you set syncing for the attribute for the first time. Is that the final approach or do you plan to iterate over it?

By the way, other packages use uuid package in similar cases. Anyway, anything that generates random strings is going to make harder implementing shuffling for pattern design while overriding the user provided content:

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Is that the final approach or do you plan to iterate over it?

It can be both! It's mentioned here: #53735 (comment).

By the way, other packages use uuid package in similar cases.

uuid seems to be too long for storing in potentially every block in a pattern (they show up in the saved markup too). I think we could deprecate that package too in the future especially we can now just do window.crypto.randomUUID(), if we decide that UUID is still better. nanoid is only 100 bytes gzipped too so I think it's a better alternative here.

Anyway, anything that generates random strings is going to make harder implementing shuffling for pattern design while overriding the user provided content

Sorry, I don't follow. Could you elaborate why this impacts pattern shuffling? IIUC, we can still transform/convert/generate other deterministic ids independent of the ids here because it's all generated implicitly. We want these ids to be unique so that we can create one-to-one relationships when they are moved, transformed, or deleted. However, if we have a bigger picture of what we want to empower users, we can always switch to something deterministic (for instance, a combination of block order and block's name).

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[Block] Block The "Reusable Block" Block [Feature] Patterns A collection of blocks that can be synced (previously reusable blocks) or unsynced [Feature] Synced Patterns Related to synced patterns (formerly reusable blocks) [Type] Experimental Experimental feature or API. [Type] Technical Prototype Offers a technical exploration into an idea as an example of what's possible
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5 participants