What are Wordpress Block Patterns and How to Use Them

block pattern

The “block pattern” term has been officialized recently. It now refers to patterns and synced patterns, replacing reusable blocks.

Patterns can either be created(registered) by the theme(defined in code) or created by the user(stored in the database).

Synced patterns are patterns that sync across your website. A good example of a synced pattern use is a call-to-action block inserted at the end of the page. You want that section to remain the same for the entire site, therefore a synced pattern.

Patterns(referring to non-synced) and full-page patterns are simply sections. They save time when building as you just copy and paste them.

A good analogy for patterns is:

  • Sections Templates = Patterns. Can either be synced-pattern on patterns(non-synced).
  • Page layouts = Full-page patterns
  • Website templates = Full-page patterns kits
Wordpress Pattern navigation – Source

If you don’t have a block theme installed, you can manage synced patterns with the following code(paste in functions.php), by creating a shortcut in the wp-admin:

 * Reusable Blocks accessible in backend
 * @link https://www.billerickson.net/reusable-blocks-accessible-in-wordpress-admin-area
function be_reusable_blocks_admin_menu() {
    add_menu_page( 'Synced Patterns', 'Synced Patterns', 'edit_posts', 'edit.php?post_type=wp_block', '', 'dashicons-editor-table', 22 );
add_action( 'admin_menu', 'be_reusable_blocks_admin_menu' );

Another workaround for managing or building patterns is using the Pattern Manager plugin. It’s indicated for developers, but you can create patterns that will be saved in the PHP code of your theme.

Building with patterns

Block themes or FSE themes, are relatively new, while block plugins are already popular.

You don’t need a block plugin to build a block theme, but many themes’ full-page patterns require you to install their proprietary block plugin to make all features work.

It’s up to you to choose to use only a block theme or build using a block theme plus a block plugin.

Every block theme listed on the WP repository uses core blocks.

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