Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) has announced the availability of version 6.0, an update that applies to both the free and pro versions of the plugin. This release introduces a refreshed admin UI that ACF product manager Iain Poulson said users had been requesting since 2021.
“We didn’t want this to be a huge change that would disrupt a user’s workflow, but instead a light reskin that focuses on bringing user experience improvements to the Field Group editor,” Poulson said.
“The team have done a great job with the new design, improving all the ACF plugin admin screens from the Field Group editor to the Tools page.”
The reskinning delivers the following improvements:
- Reduces the vertical height of the field settings
- Improved experience adding new fields to a Field Group
- Added a sticky “Save Changes” button to the header bar that is always visible without users having to scroll up to the top of the page
- Added more width to “Fields” box to reduce cramping from nested subfields
- Keyboard navigation for fields
- Improved focus states across the Field Group editor, toggle switches, radio buttons, and checkbox groups
- New opt-in setting for Repeater pagination
Version 6.0 also includes ACF Blocks Version 2, a feature included in ACF PRO. It allows developers to use a PHP-based framework for developing custom block types.
“ACF 6.0 contains a new block versioning system, allowing you to opt in to new versions which will change things like the markup and structure of ACF Blocks in both the backend and frontend, and may require updates to your theme to support,” Poulson said.
“This next generation of ACF Blocks brings us much closer to the native block experience, while still giving you the PHP based templating language you know as a WordPress developer.”
ACF users were encouraged to see that the plugin is still moving forward after having changed hands twice in the past two years. Delicious Brains acquired ACF from its creator Elliot Condon in June 2021. By November of that year, Delicious Brains was soliciting the plugin’s Lifetime License holders for contributions via email, urging them to purchase annual subscriptions. Seven months later, Delicious Brains sold off ACF and four other products to WP Engine, rattling customers who were concerned about the plugin’s lack of innovation and its stability in the hands of a large hosting company.
Poulson, who continued on with WP Engine to support Delicious Brains’ products after they were acquired, said the next thing on the roadmap is adding the ability to register custom post types and taxonomies in the UI and improvements to how field types are selected.