promotional graphic reads: Webinar. WP Engine's Builder Tools. New Products & Updates, July 26, 2023

Webinar | WP Engine Builder Tools: New Products & Updates

Do you need help staying up to date with the latest WordPress tools and technologies? Look no further than WP Engine.

Our extensive range of tools and products simplifies the way you design, build, power, and manage your WordPress sites.

We’ve also made a series of improvements to our popular WordPress builder tools and unveiled exciting new features that cater to the needs of professionals looking to embrace the modern block-centric approach to building on WordPress.

Check out the webinar below to learn more!

Experts from across WP Engine’s Product and Engineering teams talk about the benefits of different products and features we manage.

If you’re a WordPress user, this webinar will help you learn more about:

Additional Resources from this Webinar

Watch now to gain new insights into the products you already love, as well as new information about some of the powerful WP Engine builder tools you may not have tried—yet.

In addition to this educational session, there is plenty more where that came from. Check out our Builder Resources to stay up to date with all things WP Engine.

Session Transcript


All right, everyone. Welcome to our July webinar. That was me being the DJ, but I am not the important person of the show today.

I’m just here to pick the music at the beginning and end. I’m very excited to have you here and much love to everyone in the chat.

Thanks for telling us where you are joining from. It’s really an honor to be in front of all of you from all across the globe.

WP Engine as you know is a global company so we love when you are all over.

We are here today to talk about WP Engine’s builder tools. And today we’ve got some great gentlemen  that are going to talk you through ACF or Advanced Custom Fields, WP Migrate, Local, Frost and Pattern Manager. So we’ve got some experts in here.

We will have time at the end of the agenda to go through some question and answer. So please feel free to drop any questions into the chat or also we’ve got the zoom question and answer feature going. If you want to drop any questions in there, my time has come to an end.

So without further ado, I will allow our group of panelists to introduce themselves and then talk through what they do here at WP Engine and what’s kind of new and exciting or recently released with the products they represent.

And then just a quick reminder, we are recording this webinar today. We will share the recording with everyone that is registered and or attended, as well as, all of our webinars are always posted to the WP page. So, please keep in mind that we will link out to any resources that were mentioned as well as provide that recording if you want to see that and or the transcript.

With that being said, Iain I will pass it over to you and go ahead and take it away.


Thanks, Lexi. Yeah, just an intro from me. I’m Iain Paulson.I am the product manager for the advanced custom fields plugin. ACF is both a free and a paid plugin, which is called ACF Pro.

And it makes creating custom data for WordPress, super easy.


Hi everyone, my name is Kevin Hoffman. I am the product manager for WP Migrate.

We provide a light and pro version of the plugin to help you export your site, move your site from One place to another. And we also have an exciting integration with local that I’m going to talk to you about later today. So speaking of local, over to Austin.


Thanks. Hello everyone. My name is Austin Went. I’m the product manager on the local product, local, if you’re not familiar, we’ll cover a little bit today, but as a tool that makes building WordPress sites extremely easy.

And no setup required to kind of download and get started and test any any ideas that you’re working on test your sites.

I’m excited to talk to you today. So Brian, over to you.


Austin, thank you. I am Brian Gardner. I am a principal developer advocate here on our developer relations team. I’ve been around the WordPress space for 17 years and am completely in love with the direction that we’re going.

So much so that I built a theme called Frost, which we will, talk about shortly. And I also have local on my mind because I’m working on some slides for a video that as part of my job I will be producing later. Phil, over to you.


Thanks, Brian. Yeah, my name is Phil Johnston and I’m a software engineer working on our pattern manager plugin which helps you build patterns for themes you might be working on for distribution and it’s a way to make pattern creation for themes and no code experience and it takes care of a lot of things additionally, like asset management, automatically pulling images into your theme. Saving to the disc and more, so yeah Excited to be here. Over to Iain. 


Cool, yeah, I know I get started with ACF. And we’re gonna take a look at what’s new in ACF and what’s coming soon.

So, ACF 6.1 was released back in April now. And with it, we introduced the ability to register custom post types, and custom taxonomies in in ACF from the ACF admin. That’s something completely new to ACF. It’s there to kind of make development workflows even easier with your when creating. So structured data within your site is a typical workflow to create a post type or custom place type and then add fields to it.

So we’re trying to smooth that out. For example, Once you’ve on the next slide, once you’ve created, a new custom post type. This is the screen once you’ve saved it, we present a notice. With a bunch of links for things to do next. And we aren’t opinionated in what you do. All we have to do is a kind of tutorial own adventure style. So you could create a new post type and then go and create new ACF fields for that post type and it will automatically then go to create a field group with the location rule of that post type already set so you can just go and create fields or create post time create another create taxonomy and so on.

It just makes it easy to do all the things you need to do to build your site data. 

And then one of the other things in 6.1 was the introduction of the field type selection model, which is a kind of a new thing that is triggered from a button that you can click. Next to when you’re adding a field, the field type. Select drop down as it is at the moment. There’s a button next to it which presents this modal. It gives you, a better indication of what the fields are available to you, helps you choose probably the best field type for the field that you’re building. It has description on the right hand side about each field and we have a tutorial link where there is one and documentation link.

So it’s kind of really helpful for some of the ACF pro field types like the repeater and the flexible content and the clone field which aren’t completely obvious if you haven’t used them before of what they do and what power they give you. So this this experience tries to improve that.

And then we are, well, the team are currently hard work on ACF 6.2. We’re very close to a beta release. And hopefully, yeah, post a link in chat about how to sign up to hear about beta releases. You can get on the track to, get, those updates. 6.2 has 2 main features We’ve got a UI that we’re adding to create options pages, which is a feature in ACF Pro and the ability to make relationship fields Bi-directional in the UI without needing any code.

So let’s just quickly talk about the options page. Options pages in general is it’s not a new feature. It is a feature of ACF Pro that has existed for ages, it’s a really, really powerful feature, if you haven’t used it before, it allows you to create standalone pages in the WordPress admin. And then create fields that appear on those pages to allow your content editors to to fill in data that is kind of global or site wide fields and those fields, the data gets stored in the options table.

So things like site, the, you know, the physical post to address of a company, the telephone number, social media handles, anything that is not specifically around post or custom postage, but it’s global to the site. And creating options pages, up until now, it’s something that you could do in ACF, but you have to use code to do it. So it’s not it’s not a very smooth. Process and it’s certainly not yeah it’s not a very smooth process, once you’re in the middle of creating fields and then you realize, oh, actually these fields are global. I need to go and create an options page and you have to bounce back to go and create t he page. 

So similar to, what we did for 6.1 for the custom post type and taxonomy registration, brought that UI for options pages, making it really easy to create pages, child pages, tweak all of the settings right from the UI, don’t need to go and like dig through our documentation to see what functional function arguments you need to pass.

But also adding the ability to sync the definitions of the options pages to JSON like you do for field groups and custom post types and taxonomy so you can commit your definitions to source control, collaborate with other developers and make it super easy.

But this video, this is my favorite thing about this feature, is how we’ve moved the creation of the options page inside like in line the process of creating fields in a field group. So there’s now no more having to go and create the options page first before you define the fields and there’s no kind of bouncing around between the admin and code to go and register the options page.

So let’s just take a look, see what I mean.

So this is edits in a field group with some site wide fields. And now we’ve got the ability to create options page right from this, the location rules for the field group. And then once we save that now, we have a new site settings page in the sidebar. Which with those fields, and it’s a really quick demo, bit too quick actually. 

But yeah, that’s hopefully just gonna make it a lot easier for people to create options pages.

The other big feature of 6 2. Is the ability to, to make relationship fields bi-directional. There’s quite a lot on this slide and it’s quite a hard feature to kind of explain. But we’ve got existing field types in ACF at the moment. We’ve got the relationship field type, post objects, taxonomies, users. And they allow you to create relationships between 2 different objects. But with the bi-directional thing now that relationship is stored on both objects.

So think related post- related products or this example we’ve got connecting hotels to local golf courses. And the, the example that’s kind of highlighted showing the relationship field to select 2 local golf courses to this resort.Without the bi-directional setting, you would only be storing the data about those golf courses on the hotel. But now with the bi-directional setting. So we’ve got the next slide. A new tab when you, edit in the field, this is a relationship field, we’ve got an advanced tab with a bi-directional setting and you can select, it’s actually target field. Now we’ve renamed that too. So you can say where to store the reverse data.

Which is a bit of a Yeah, it’s hard to explain. But on the next slide, we’ve kind of got what it would be like, Yes, so the next slide shows 2 screenshots.

On the left, if we were to create a relationship between the hotel and the golf course is now we’ve got those 2 golf courses we selected.

But with the bi-directional setting turned on, if we go and view one of those golf courses it now has that data the information to say we’ve connected it back to the hotel that we’d made that relationship on.

So yeah, if you haven’t used bidirectional relationships or haven’t used a relationship field. And maybe already used bi-directional with code that we give you on the documentation this is gonna make it super easy and it’s a really powerful feature that’s now just gonna be baked in right into the into the UI.

Yeah, and that’s, that’s it from ACF. Happy to take questions later, but now on to Kevin to talk about the WP Migrate.


Thanks, Iain, as a long time developer and user of ACF myself. It’s awesome to see what y’all are doing to bring more of ACFs functionality into the GUI.

But I love that you still have like version control and things like that in mind. So with that said, let’s move on to WP Migrate. I’m excited to tell you about a few of the recent developments here, but just to set the stage. If you are new to WP Migrate or maybe you haven’t used to plugin in a while.

Wp Migrate is almost over 10 years old at this point and, we have grown a lot from a database migration tool to really a full site migration tool at this point. And that starts with WP Migrate lite, which is in the WordPress plugin directory. If you haven’t used the plugin, that’s a great place to get started. Kind of understand what the plugin can do for you. Provides powerful export backup and find and replace functionality.

But moving forward into, full site exports is really what I’d like to touch on today and that integration with local.So earlier this year, we extended our existing database export functionality. And we added the ability to include media uploads, themes, plugins, and even WordPress core files. To the point where you can now export your entire WordPress site and take it anywhere you need to. So if that’s manually moving that to any other site on the web or bringing it down into your local machine, you can drag and drop that zip file right into Local and in a matter of minutes you’ve got a site on your local machine so you can develop it in a low stress risk-free environment where you can really do things like test it with the latest version, the PHP and Mysql like Austin will touch on and a little bit here. 

But also just making that whole remote to local workflow faster than it’s ever been before. So we do have documentation on that. It’s a quick 5 step process if you’ve never used Migrate or local we’re confident you can get started with both. And really start to take advantage of the power of local on your own machine. One really cool thing about when a export is drag and dropped into local is local will read the export file and try to match PHP and Mysql versions to the export files. So that you have that parity between your local and remote site. So you want to be really sure that when you’re testing on your local site, it’s going to look like it does on the web.

This is just a really well-rounded workflow to make sure that. When you go live that things are, gonna work as well as they can. And that we’re bringing a lot of that automation into this workflow for you through WP Migrate and local.

One other piece that is in development right now is background. Migrations. So if you have used our plugin before, you may know that you have to keep the browser open to make sure that that migration can continue. The team is hard at work right now to make sure that that migration can then keep happening in the background. This allows you to kind of set it and forget it. Allows you to schedule migrations, opens up powerful functionality and CICD workflows where you may want to use the command line to kick off a migration or run an export or a backup on a regular basis.

So by doing so, one, we increase the success rate of your migrations because there’s no longer this browser dependency, we don’t have to worry about your browser closing, your laptops power going out, your network connection being interrupted because the migration is now happening directly between your 2 WordPress sites from server to server. So we hope that this background migration functionality will roll out later this year in migrate 3.0

So that’s going to be a major release for us. And this is one of the the major new features involved there. So keep your eye out for a beta announcement on that front and we look forward to getting your thoughts on background migrations going forward.

I think that’s about all I have to share on migrate today. I’m gonna hand off to Austin to talk to you about local.


Yeah, awesome. Thanks, Kevin. Like Kevin said, local is, really happy to start working more closely with the rest of the builder tools that you’re seeing here highlighted today.

But maybe to get started if you’re not familiar with local. Local is a Not quite as old as migrate, it’s about 8 years old, at this point, but it is a tool to make building WordPress sites incredibly easy. Used to be part of Flywheel now as part of the WP Engine family. And I think what’s great is that locals completely free. There used to be a paid portion of local, in the summer of 2021, we actually sunset the paid version and just made it free for everybody. So all the power that you could need to build your WordPress sites free for everyone. We’re gonna keep it that way.

And it’s great whether or not you’re hosting with flywheel with WP Engine. So the workflow that Kevin mentioned, kind of regardless of where your site is host on the internet, we want local to be a place that can be valuable for you to build your sites. To get them up and going and make sure you’re confident in the changes you’re about to push out to production.

So. If you haven’t used local, would highly recommend it. I think Lexi is gonna drop a link in the chat for, for you to start downloading, but, for those who are coming with local or maybe kind of to dive in on some of the new releases that we’ve been working on.

In addition to the release that Kevin mentioned where regardless of where your site is hosted, you can drag and drop into local. That was great. One of our biggest releases last quarter was a highly requested feature called site organization. So familiar with the local UI and that left hand side, so you’re familiar with the local UI and that left hand side.

So you’re familiar with the local UI in that left hand sidebar, you can see the list of sites, and that left hand sidebar, you can see the list of sites, that I have available to use. And previously that was just one big unorganized list. And so if I only have 2 or 3 sites, that was just one big unorganized list. And so if I only have 2 or 3 sites, that’s not a big deal, but for many of our customers, that’s not a big deal.

But for many of our customers or particularly those who are freelancers or work in an agency and maybe you’re working on. 10 to 20 or more sites across 3, 4, 5 or more clients. That’s hard to get really messy and it created problems for, if I’m trying to screen share with client A, I don’t want client A to see all of client B sites, in my site list. So we had the ability to create custom groups and to group your sites. To make that super easy for both just keeping your, workspace clean, but also that screen sharing component has been a key feature for people that we’ve heard of.

So you can see in the screenshot, I have a builder tools webinar, with my PHP 8.2 site up there. I also have a build mode live, which is a, weekly session that the, and DevRel team runs. So just enables me to keep that workspace, really clean and it’s been a big hit, with users.

Speaking of PHP 8.2, another one of our big releases, even just in the last couple of weeks is offering full support for PHP 8.2 so that WordPress developers who are trying to make sure that their site is compatible with the latest versions and staying up to date. Is very easy to do with local. So not only does this apply to PHP 8.2, which is now available, but also newer database versions like Mysql 8, which is coming and I know top of mind for many of our users as they prepare for older version of MySQL end of life.

So, local is a great place for you to pull your site down from WP Engine or like Kevin mentioned, wherever you’re hosting it, spin it up, test it with changing your PHP versions changing that database version and really making sure that your site is gonna be compatible with the latest and greatest technologies that are coming out.

Speaking of that MySQL 8 compatibility, there will be a webinar coming up next month the Wp engine will be hosting.

Local is going to be a great place to test that. I won’t go too deep today on in where, to look, checking logs, things to look for, things like that. So keep your eye out for an invite that will be coming from WP Engine, like I mentioned to the August webinar of where to look for things like that.

And finally, last but not least, it’s kind of a mix of where we’ve been and where we’re going is working on our connected WP engine functionality. So we want to make it really, streamlined for people who are hosting with WP Engine. Someone asked in chat. Yes, this also applies to flywheel as well, but, something that we’re focused on right now this specific integration with making it super easy to push and pull sites, from WP and since we’ve been doing some work on stability and reliability fixing up some bugs improving our error logging. We’ve heard from users that just want to be much more clear when you do run into problems, what’s going wrong? How can you fix it? But then also coming up, can we work on some highly requested features like being able to connect to multiple WP engine accounts so that you don’t have to, you know, log out and log back in as you switch between the clients you’re working on or whatnot, as well as the ability to create new sites on WP engine without having to leave local.

So for example, if I’m right now the way that works is I want to create a new site on wpengine I have to go to WP engine, make sure it exists, and then I can push and pull to it from local.

Just making sure that you don’t have to actually leave local to accomplish that. And then kind of this next stage we’re taking look at is kind of designing a better flow for what we’ll call hosted development environments. You know, name TBD. Just a way for, you know, us to really be better partners in that build process. And we know that, you know, your job isn’t done until that site is live and on the internet, you can share it with others. So what we can, what can we do to make that a more smooth and seamless experience. So that’s kind of all this kind of been going on on local right now.

We’d love to continue talking with you. There’s a large community of WordPress developers that chat local and WordPress over at community.Local We’d love to have you, but with that I will hand it off, to Brian, we can talk Frost.


Yes, let’s talk frost. So as I mentioned, I’ve been building, for WordPress since 2006. I built studiopress and the Genesis framework which we have here in house at WP Engine. But a few years ago, Matt Mullenweg, dropped a big bomb on the WordPress community talking about this thing called Gutenberg, which as we know now is actually the experimental plugin.

But what Gutenberg did was completely reset the way WordPress was going to be used across the board. Part of that sort of evolution was something that I created 2 summers ago before I actually came here to WP Engine. Was a WordPress team called Frost. I can’t help myself, but design in WordPress and community is the other trifecta part of the 3 things I love most about my job, is I get to do design, I get to engage and network with the community, but I also get to be exclusively focused on WordPress.

And so when I was hired, we brought Frost in as an experimental theme for our developer relations team. I can arguably say that Frost is one of the more mature full site editing block themes. There’s been several hundreds and thousands of hours obsessing over everything that’s coming so that we could bring to you the very latest and thousands of hours, obsessing over everything that’s coming so that we could bring to you, the very latest and greatest features in WordPress. 

 And one of those changes happened in the WordPress 6.2 release, which was in April, as we can see on the next slide. We took Frost out of the experimental phase and launched a version 1.0 and as part of that we put the Frost theme on the WordPress theme directory.

We do free things here WP engine and we want to get this in the hands of as many people as possible. So we decided to take that jump and put Frost on the repository. As you can see, we’ve got a couple of 5 star reviews, which is great. We have 2,000 active installations, which is really great for us to sort of get the feedback from, it helps us identify just the opportunities or we can serve people. And so you could check out Frost and download it there. I’ll drop a link directly to that WordPress theme directory page. 

And as we get into the next slide, I’ve got some exciting things to share. That are relatively new to Frost. What we’re looking at here, one of the values that Frost has is that it has a huge collection of block patterns, and patterns something that Phil will talk about here in a bit are extremely critical in sort of go forward plan with the way WordPress websites are going to be built, so much in fact that almost the entire 6.3 release which should be out early August, is built around sort of this new. This new UI that we’re seeing here. 

It’s called the site editor and inside of the site editor, they spent a lot of time implementing the ability to work with, create, save, and so on – patterns. And so this is a screen that we’re looking at when you enter the site editor. This is just sort of a library of patterns that come with the Frost themes.

You can see on the left hand side, they’re they’re categorized and on the right hand side you get to see what the patterns look like and with one click, you’re able to insert these, what a block pattern is for those who are new to WordPress, sort of a collection of like a group of blocks that are sort of pre built in a way that makes it very easy to build out websites or just sections of a website. 

And as we get into the next slide, another exciting thing that I get to share, and this is an example of a pattern inside the WordPress editor, this is a pricing table which has a pattern inserted. And much to the chagrin of folks who have used the tiny MCE editor years ago, WordPress has become more visual. And so what we’re able to do, in with something I’m really excited about and was excited about when I saw the vision, is go into the editor and just visually build things out.

So you get to design within WordPress, which is something we’ve never really been able to do before. And this is an example where you can go in and select the column and change the width and, you know, change the colors and so on. And so everything is now at the hands. This is more of a no code thing that we get to experience.

Next slide. Speaking of frost and colors, one of the newer, features that we shipped with the version 1.0 is sort of taking advantage of what’s called style variations. This is for lack of a better term like a skinning system within WordPress where a theme can offer variations and it’s very simple to do. I won’t get into the weeds with this, but through a separate theme JSON file, you’re able to sort of allow users to click around and choose schemes in the case of frost. I’ve chosen to just offer up different color schemes in the case of Frost. I’ve chosen to just offer up different color schemes.

So I’ve chosen to just offer up different color schemes. So, frost out of the box comes with the blue palette. So, for us out of the box comes with the blue palette. But if you’re into different colors and purples with the blue palette. But if you’re into different colors and, but if you’re into different colors and purple’s your favorite color, then you can select the purple variation and then your favorite color, then you can select the purple variation and then you’re served up a different color palette that you can use and select the purple variation and then you’re served up a different color palette that you can use and gets easily updated throughout the use of purple next slide, please.

Speaking of local, speaking of Frost and speaking of community, one of the things that I’m really excited about and I’m gonna go fetch the link as I’m saying this because I’m so excited about this. Something we just released within the last couple of weeks. This is what we’re calling the Frost blueprint. I dropped a link in the chat. There’s an example you can see it live. There’s also a download link if you want to go check out the blueprint and this is made for Local and this was a very basic sort of a presence looking site that we just decided to put together for people to download and easily with literally about 10 seconds of your time, you can install this site as you see it onto your local. And what that allows you to do is it allows you to get under the hood and see how things are built.

It allows you to play around with without consequence changing color schemes, variations, playing around with the patterns that come with frost, and or if you’re daring, it allows you to take this and build from it and use it for client sites because it’s a pretty simple basic site and I think It’s something that I think a lot of people are excited about. Next slide, please.

I’m gonna give it to Phil, but before I do, as Austin. Mentioned one more link I’m gonna put into the the chat is Sam Munoz, Sam Brockway, she just recently got married and now is out on maternity leave, her and I host a thing called build mode live, it’s a call that we do every Friday. There’s a link to sign up for that.

What we do is get to engage with the community and talk about WordPress. The direction in which it’s going. So we invite you to check that out. This week we’re gonna have Mike Mcallister joining us to talk about his onboarding tool. So just hope to see some of you folks there and shout out to the build mode folks who are here because I see a couple of your names in the chat already.

So thanks for the support. Over you, Phil.


I just wanna jump in real quick if you are listening to this webinar on demand or. Want these resources after the webinar, we will link to them in the transcript in the case that you are not in the chat.

So we will share all of these resources as well. After the event so that you can come back and engage with the team. Now Phil, really over to you.


Cool. I’m gonna try and share my screen here. Here we go. Good. 

So yeah, great demo there, Brian of Frost. And as he mentioned, patterns are a big part of building and designing pages in WordPress, especially with the block editor.

So I’ll start with like a quick demonstration of what a pattern is. So if I am in WordPress and I go to pattern new, I can click here. And move over to here and then once I’m once I get this sidebar open you can see this patterns tab. And the patterns that you’re gonna see here are gonna be coming from your theme. And so if I click on one of these categories – here’s a pattern that I made and it’s inside my custom theme. And so I can easily drop that onto the page.

And now I can be off to the races essentially. I have a whole page design just like that, ready to go. It’s in the editor and I can start changing the text to whatever I want and publish the page. So these are really powerful because you can, give them to a client along with your theme and they can start building their own pages, their own landing pages.

If they have something they need to talk about, they’re empowered to go and build something that looks awesome and looks great and matches their brand, they don’t have to play around with all of the little you know colors and edges and making sure that everything is spaced correctly. You can pre make all of that in a pattern and give it to them and they can just drop it onto a page and sort of change the the text or the images or play around with the layout but it gives them a quick way to make a page and.

So patterns you can think of them as like a way to start a new page. And, and so in order to get these patterns, oops, in order to get these patterns into WordPress, here so you can drop them onto a page. You have to do it. Manually right now with WordPress. So. Here I am in my WP content teams directory, which I am running on local, which are where I’m developing this site.

So in my local drive, I’m in WP content themes and I’ve duplicated Frost, and here I’ve called it Frosty, and, I have a directory inside there called patterns and Here’s the patterns that are sitting inside this team right now. And if you go back to, where I showed you how to insert a pattern, you’ll see that those correspond those files that I showed you there correspond to the patterns that you’re seeing here so you’ve got pattern called a pattern called B and a pattern called C. And then a full page pattern that contains pattern A, pattern B and pattern C. 

And so those correspond to what you’re seeing here. Sorry, the full page pattern is called pattern one and then my individual patterns that are inside that pattern are called A, B, and C. So each one of these files represents a pattern. And you can see that this is PHP code. If you look at the top there, you can see the PHP opening tag. I’m gonna open this up in VScode here a sec.

So I’ve got A open here. And in order to make a pattern, you have to construct this file. And so you have to know that you need to have this pattern header here. You need to make sure that it’s typed in correctly. It needs to have all of these values. You need to be aware of those values. And then you have to paste in your block code. So you have to build the block pattern somewhere, which is go into the block editor and put some blocks on the page, copy that code and paste it into this file. And so that’s a very manual process to do.

And so while we were building some of these, we were like, wouldn’t it be great? If we could just build a tool that made this file for us. What if it what if I could just click save and it wrote all of this to the file for me and I don’t have to do that as a theme creator. So that’s where pattern manager comes in.

So you can find pattern manager on the plugin repo. If you go into your WordPress and go to plug in to add new. You can search for pattern manager and it will come up here and you can activate it. And when you do, you’ll get this patterns menu on the left here.

So if I click on that. This is now the pattern manager. View. And this is where you can work on the patterns that are inside of your theme. So you can see each one of these patterns here corresponds also to those files that you’re seeing here in my theme this one and then A B and C. So this is pattern one. And then A, B, and C. And so if I need to create a new pattern, I can do that by clicking create new pattern up here, it’ll take me into the block editor. And I can start to construct it, but let’s edit one that’s already existing here.

So I’m gonna go to this one. And so now I’m working on this pattern. Which is inside my theme. So again, this is coming from the file that’s on the drive and it’s writing back to the file that’s on the drive. This is not a normal WordPress database stored thing. This is actually writing right to the disk and also reading from the disk.

And so I can, I have a lot of control. I have all the control that the block editor gives me over here with blocks. I can design it, I can put the text in as I need, but pattern manager exposes this whole new set of controls over here on the right.

And each one of these corresponds to the things you’re seeing here in the in the pattern header. So for example, the title, which is A. Excuse me. So here. I can change A to something else and it will change the name of that pattern in the file. I can add a description. If I say this is the description, it’s great. I that I’ll click update. Now if we go back over. You can see it added it’s great to the file. And so it gives you a really quick way to not only be aware of what’s available to you as a pattern creator.

It also gives you a way to update those things really simply and easily without being able to really make any mistakes. There’s no human error involved anymore. Like oops I made a typo or which value should go in which field. So for example, like the viewport with, this is how you can choose how this pattern. Is previewed to somebody who’s going to insert it and perhaps you want it to be in look like it’s on a big screen when it’s previewed or maybe you want it to look like it’s on a phone.

And so you can drag and you can kinda get a quick preview of that. So let’s say I wanna set it to 880 pixels at the viewport width, if I update, you can see it updated that. Here on the viewport width for you. And then you get into some really cool stuff that’s Maybe a little bit more hidden in WordPress, but it’s easily surfaced with pattern manager.

So you can restrict a pattern from being inserted only for a specific post type. So if you have, you know Woocommerce with a custom post type of product, or even ACF you know you can make your own post types now with ACF, and maybe you want to add patterns to those post types, but restrict them to only that post type. You can now do that here and you can choose the post type that you want it to be allowed for.

So for this demo, I’m just gonna choose pages. So now this pattern is only allowed to be used on pages and there’s another cool thing here called modal visibility. So this is a WordPress feature that’s very elusive, but if you use this it’s really cool so, If I turn on modal visibility and update this pattern. And then I go over to, you know, WordPress normal. I’m gonna go back here and just click add a page.

It pops up in a modal and it prompts me to say, here’s a pattern you could use to start this page.

And so you could with your theme make a whole bunch of starter patterns to say or even if you have specific use cases or your marketers on the team have very typical landing page layouts that they want to use for maybe different verticals or things. You can surface all of those patterns right here for them and then boom they can be off to the races and start back building that pattern right away. Or sorry, building that page with that pattern right away. So that modal visibility is a really cool one. And that’s built again, maybe not again, but the cool thing about this is that this is writing to your theme in the files.

So you can turn pattern manager off. And that modal will still open up. That doesn’t come from pattern manager. All pattern manager does is surface the wordpress built in stuff. So once you’ve made your theme and you built these patterns into your theme, you can like get rid of pattern manager. In fact, we recommend you do don’t run it on live site. Give the theme to your client let them run that on a live site and all of these features are still available they don’t come from specifically pattern manager.

There’s other things like displaying in the inserter and more complicated things like block transformation. So for example, you can turn any paragraph block into a pattern. So if I said paragraph here. I can say if somebody inserts a paragraph block, give them the option to transform it into this pattern. And so if I update this, you can see that it’s updated it here as well. And you’ve got your transforms here.

And this is where pattern manager helps too because some of these are fairly confusing like block types. You wouldn’t expect that to control transforms. And it’s hard to wrap your mind around some of this stuff. And pattern manager completely abstracts the need to even know that away. Because it writes that code for you. And so now, if I refresh this here, I’m in the page editor again.

If I add a paragraph block here and I just say test, I should be able to now transform it into my pattern. But the first paragraph in there is test. So it actually pulls that paragraph in. From what it was. So it allowed me to transform that paragraph block into this pattern and put that paragraph block into that pattern. So there’s like a lot of cool hidden features that WordPress has like packed into it, but it’s really hard to find them and pattern manager sort of makes it easy to find those things and to build them into your themes and build them into your patterns and empower you to just take advantage of all these features. 

And another cool thing that Pattern Manager also does is it can work with any theme. It doesn’t have to be a full site editing or a block theme. So you could add this to your current theme. It could be a classic theme. It could be possibly even like an elementor theme because as long as you’re using the block editor you can use patterns and for pages and post types you are typically using the block editor now. And so patterns are available to you so you can install pattern manager and start adding patterns to anything you might have made today and not need to change anything else, no workflow changes or anything like that. So I’ll stop here for questions and I’ll sorry I haven’t had time to look at the questions either but I’ll open that up.


Okay, Phil, I think, we can open it up to the larger group if you want to kill your screen share.

I’m just gonna add everybody back up again. Thank you. To all our panelists and to all of you for joining today.

There are tons of questions and this is really an opportunity to ask these product experts questions, and we definitely don’t have time to answer every question, but we will try and get through as many as we can.

And feel free to drop any questions into the question and answer or in the chat. And then just real quick on pattern manager, I do want to plug that Phil, as well as Michael Day, who is another software engineer, did a session on pattern manager during our DE{CODE} this year. You can find that in the resources center and this was literally like an hour long session or maybe half an hour long where they just went into the product and showed how to use it. So if you have more questions or want to learn more about how to use pattern manager, that’s definitely a great place to go.

Although I think every product we’re talking about was featured during DE{CODE}. So there’s definitely more resources.And then I want to plug really quick. And then I want to plug really quick, Brian is a great advocate of this, but we do have resources for you as builders in the product. So please, if you’re using these, feel free to find those resources helpful.

And I’m gonna start with a question that’s kind of to multiple products. So, how easy is it to connect Frost to ACF or Pattern Manager? Iain is delegating to you or Phil or you, Brian.


Sorry, I was typing an answer to another question, so I didn’t hear you say it again.


Yeah, yeah, can we talk at all about, how you connect frost and or pattern manager and or ACF? Is that something that’s viable? Is that easy to do, etc.?


Right, so, so I would, if I were to do that, I think I would install ACF and I would make a custom post type. I mean, this is one possible workflow, but I could make a custom post type now in ACF. And then in my theme, I could make a pattern. That only gets used on that post type. So, you know, if it’s a golf course, post type. I might have patterns for golf courses that I can then insert specifically onto that golf course post type.

And I won’t accidentally insert it onto my duck post type, you know, not that you’d have golf courses and ducks on the same website, but maybe you would. And then now, you know, you won’t accidentally put your golf course pattern on your duck page.

I’m not sure why I thought of ducks, but Here we are.


We’ve gone for birdies as well.


That might be why. Yeah, that might have been it.


Yeah, thank you. Lots of questions. Yeah. Okay, cool. Austin, I’m gonna put this to you. Lots of questions on local, but, when you have a team that is working remote in different locations, how do you feel that local is best run?


Yeah, that’s awesome question. Sorry, I was grabbing a link. I’ll drop this link into the chat. There is a how do best develop with local and GitHub help doc, that we have. So what I would recommend is if you’re gonna be working with a team across, you know, multiple locations, it’s probably best to have code stored in some sort of version control system, just so that you’re making sure that you’re not overwriting changes. And basically wasting time and wasting work that you can’t get back if someone externally pushes code over somebody else’s changes. 

So we definitely recommend some form of version control, the help doc that I dropped in chat local does work with GitHub and some of the other CICD tooling the WP engine offers. So I recommend checking that out, and letting the local team know if you have any questions, can always reach us over that


Totally. Thank you and, panelists, feel free to jump in if you feel like there’s a super relevant question. I’m just trying to pull out ones that were kind of popular. Iain, I’m gonna take it back to the beginning.

Someone asked a question on ACF and pods. And why obviously we know ACF is a better choice, but, how ACF compares and why, we think that? 


Yeah, I think with pods. The similarities that ACF now has with custom post type and taxonomy registration, something that pods has had for a while.

There may not be complete feature parity between ACF and pods. And if you’re already using pods to, you know, create your post types and do some custom other stuff that pods only offers then you know maybe that’s That’s fine to continue using. And you don’t have to use, you know, ACFs new functionality for CPT registration. I think, you know, that’s kind of what we’ve tried to stress. Because people are very, you know they use, alternative tools at the moment to do that.

They don’t have to switch to do it if they register and post acting code, continue to do so if that’s easy if you use another plug-in use pods. The big thing I think the difference it that comes to mind with PODs is, as far as I know it’s a Open source project run by one person. You know, we’ve got ACF is a team of developers. You know, we’re backed by WP Engine. It’s kind of a nice big safe home. And we’re all working towards improving the product and make an ACF better for everyone so yeah obviously I’m biased ASF is great. Use ACF.


Yes, thank you. Moving over kind of, I think this is WP migrate and or local, but is there a special process to migrate sub-sites within a multi site WordPress? And are there any catches or nuances you might consider as you migrate over?


Yeah, great question. So a multi-site Sub-site to sub-site migration is probably the most complex, migration you can do in WordPress. Fortunately, WP Migrate Pro has multi-site tools built into it. So at our premier license level, we allow you to do a migration directly from subsite of network A into subsite of network B.

And it really takes care of a lot of behind the scenes work that could be otherwise troublesome for you. So an example of that is multi-sites have one user table, even though you may have many subsites within that network. So we take care of only moving the users that have access to that particular subsite that you are moving and a lot of other things that the database level that could trip you up.

So that premier license level is kind of where we point folks who are doing subsite to subsite migrations.


Yeah, and just a reminder, several of the plugins and things we’ve mentioned today, have multiple different levels. So, in the link in the chat, we linked to, WP migrate late, but there are some additional levels of that available as well as, you know, additional features.

I’m going to put this one over to Brian with Frost. This is kind of a interesting question. But is there a sort of elementor type thing within Frost more of like a drag and drop style website builder?


So I like to explain that WordPress itself is the Elementor and this is the existential threat I think to page builders is WordPress itself and that’s something that didn’t exist prior to what’s called Gutenberg or this whole editing experience.

And so what Frost really is, is just more of the presentation layer of all of the drag and drop capabilities that WordPress itself has by way of core blocks. As we have seen over the last probably 2 years, the number of core blocks, the settings that are within them, things like the site editor, the idea of patterns, really are native to WordPress core and I’ve always all the way back to the creation of Genesis been an advocate of just always sort of adhering to best practices of WordPress and I’ve generally never gone against any of that.

And so everything I do and what we’re doing here at WP Engine with Frost is really just in support of WordPress core. We’re just trying to make it look better by plugging into the capabilities of page building that exist in WordPress core and just you know stylizing them in sort of opinionated ways with the theme.


Awesome. Yeah, and I’m gonna subset that question with another question on Frost, but, do you feel like Frost is a good starter theme to use?


Yes, yes, I do. For number of reasons. One, because it has a library of patterns so you can kind of just look and see how they’re built. If anything, just whipping up a local install and then just installing Frost, you can just easily just go to add themes and the WordPress thing and then just search for Frost and it’ll come up.

And just inserting patterns and then using list view in the block editor really helps you understand how things are built. And so not only that, and I will grab this here in a second. I did a workshop on how to actually fort frost and make it your own theme, whether it’s to use as a freelancer in your business or even as an agency.

I’m a huge advocate of just taking it, renaming it, making it your own, understanding how WordPress is working and then using that sort of as the foundation for what you build sites on without the fear of having to like, customize it and then get the automatic updates, which are great if you’re a user, but if you’re building websites, that’s a little scary because if you’re making some changes in the frost updates and you don’t realize that those updates are overriding your changes. That might become problematic, so I definitely encourage just using Frost either as a user displaying around and kind of creating some things. Or also forking it and making it like a base name of your own.


Totally. Thanks, Brian. Phil, over to you. I think we’ve had this question in a variation or 2, but talking about, creating patterns inside the theme is there a need to create actually I think Michael just answered this but I’ll have you reiterate but is there a need to create a child theme to ensure you don’t lose the pattern in the theme update?


Right. Yeah. The short answer is yes. Pattern manager is intended for someone creating a theme. So this is especially helpful for somebody at an agency, perhaps making, you know, a custom theme for a client or even someone making a theme from mass distribution.

That’s kind of where pattern managers target user is. We’re not recommending anyone use pattern manager. It’s really for like a power user, somebody who’s building themes, and understands the difference between, say, working locally and working on in a production environment or, you know, that you would wipe out the theme files. The pattern manager is really there to save you from needing to manually code those files. And so Yes, if you are adding patterns to a theme that is not your theme, make the child theme and it does work well with child teams. And you can add patterns to those child teams and they, they work great. So, great question.

And, yeah, we’re trying to make that as obvious as possible. Like this is not for just anyone. This, when we recommend that you have like, version control, whether that’s Git or something else. We have a notice that comes up for that as well. Right, when you open pattern manager. And, yeah, great question.


Awesome. Thank you there. Local question. Sorry, I lost my train, but, Austin, what is the best way to use local, but also manage theme files in a bit bucket repo?


Yeah, certainly very possible. I’d probably refer back to that article that I linked previously just in terms of, there’ll be some guides in there on how to configure your repo. So create a site and local, do the initial Git clone and then how to best sync the files.

But yeah, work with plenty of users to do that as a workflow. And just use, version controls a way to manage the theme as opposed to any of the other files. So it’s something you can accomplish. So I’ll drop it. Yeah.


Totally. Thank you. Yeah. Any outstanding questions, feel free to drop them in. Just looking at the remaining questions. I do feel like some of these are hyper specific. We don’t necessarily want to get into the nitty gritty. We’re just here to be resources. As we mentioned, the WP Engine builders page, which we will link out in the email is a great resource for you, all of these gentlemen on the webinar are very active in our communities, and love talking and working with customers.

This webinar was just to update you all on what has been happening with our products and where we’re going. But we’re only halfway through the year. So there’s definitely a lot more to come.

I am not seeing a ton of other questions. Sorry, we’ve got one on WP, migrate real quick. We’ll take this as the last question. But with regards to WP, Migrate, is there a way to sync specific posts or is this something you’re considering for the future?


Yeah, you save the, 10 million dollar question for the end, huh? Yeah, this is a question we get a lot. The real answer is the architecture of WordPress, at the database level makes it increasingly difficult to identify the beginning and end of a post, and some of what you heard today is only making that harder.

So what I mean by that is within the post content now we have concepts of patterns and synced patterns and potentially partially synced patterns coming in the future. So whereas in the old days you may have been able to say just give me the content of the tiny MC editor. You know, now we have the potential that we’re linking to blocks, that are, you know, in terms of, reusable blocks and reusable synced patterns going forward. Those actually have their own rows in the database. And as we’re looking to try to migrate an individual post. We would need a way to know exactly all of the references that a post or a page is is linked to, that touches on ACF as well if you have related posts, we would need to say move all of those golf courses that are displayed on your hotel page.

So while on the surface, I certainly understand like the user case for wanting to move just this page to, you know, from staking to production. Under the hood the database structure of WordPress makes that extremely difficult. And that’s why to date we have taken a table based approach.

So WP Migrate can move individual tables. You can hand select which ones you want to move. But as far as a individual post by post basis. You know, we continue to listen to that feedback and maybe there is a more narrow use case that is more of like the blogger who wants to just move like straightforward post content from one side to another, but as that gets more complicated with post meta and references to other posts.

That’s where it gets a little bit trickier just because of the nature of WordPress and their architecture. So. I’ll leave it there for now, but thank you for the question.


Yeah, thanks, Kevin. Lottery ticket of the day. I’m gonna close the webinar out.

Thank you to everyone that has joined. This is why we love our job. This is such a great community. And we want to continue to build this and answer your questions. This is again, just supposed to be a high level overview. Please come connect with us on any of our resources. Please come connect with us on any of our resources.

And we will see you back in August. We’ve got a number of events happening in August. And we will see you back in August. We’ve got a number of events happening in August. As Austin mentioned, we’ll be doing a webinar on the My SQL updates.

And then we’re going to do kind of like a marathon of plugins, and feature different plugins and talk about plugins of different categories. Stay tuned for registration and resources for that. And see you later this summer, thanks everyone! 

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