ButterBean Post Meta Box Framework 1.0 Released

Justin Tadlock’s new ButterBean post meta box framework was officially released this week. The framework allows developers to easily build a metabox with a tabbed UI to accommodate multiple fields. After roughly three months of beta testing, ButterBean is ready for use in projects. It can be dropped into a plugin or used as a standalone plugin.

“The framework was built to bundle with plugins that need a sweet UI for handling several meta fields,” Tadlock said in the release announcement. “It’s particularly useful with custom post types. It is merely an interface for metadata in the same way that the WordPress customizer is an interface.”


If you enjoy working with the WordPress Customizer API, then you may appreciate how Tadlock structured ButterBean. The PHP code for the framework was architecturally modeled after this API. The templating, however, uses Underscore.js.

“If you’re not a JavaScript developer, don’t worry,” Tadlock said. “Assuming you’re not building advanced custom controls that require custom JavaScript, you’ll never have to touch it. You can register everything in PHP.”

Tadlock said one of the most frequently asked questions about this project is why he didn’t simply opt to use one of the WordPress community’s existing metabox frameworks. He created ButterBean because none of them did exactly what he wanted.

“I needed a simple framework for quickly building out a user interface in some of my plugins,” Tadlock said. “I’d already been reusing some code for a while to handle this. So, I decided to rip it out and turn it into a full-fledged framework that both I and others could use. Other frameworks are cool and do a lot of things that I don’t need most of the time. In development, you should always use the best tool for the job.”

Tadlock borrowed some code ideas for the plugin’s media frame from John James Jacoby’s WP Term Images plugin. The tabbed interface design was inspired by WooCommerce. An interactive demo is available on the project page if you want to see how ButterBean’s UI compares to existing solutions.

According to the project’s GitHub page, Tadlock intends to keep it lean and flexible for those who want to bundle ButterBean with their plugins. Now that 1.0 has been released, he plans to roll out more tutorials and documentation in the coming days to help developers get started.


13 responses to “ButterBean Post Meta Box Framework 1.0 Released”

  1. Thanks for covering this, Sarah.

    I would’ve released sooner, but I put the project on the backburner for most of the 3 months of beta testing to work work on my most recent theme release. It’s actually one of the methods I use to allow my brain to recharge and come back to a project with a fresh perspective. Get 90% or so done. Work on something else for a while. Then, come back and finish.

    There are public JavaScript functions for interacting with ButterBean. This is the part built on top of Backbone.js. This is also a huge milestone for me in development. I’ve never built something in JavaScript meant to be extended. It’s also really nice because with 50 lines or so of code, I can do something like a media modal without having to use jQuery to manipulate the DOM.

    Anyway, I hope folks like it. I’m working on getting started tutorial right now and will get it published shortly.

    • This looks really promising, Justin. The only problem I see with it is that if it gets popular, we’ll get a lot of clashes between plugins, especially once you iterate through a couple more versions of it. Plugin A would have version 1.0.0, plugin B would have version 1.2.15 etc. Do you have any advice (or a plan) how to deal with that?


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