WP Engine’s Pattern Manager is now available in the WordPress Plugins Directory. The plugin gives WordPress professionals a dedicated interface for browsing, designing, and organizing patterns with categories, keywords, descriptions, and more. It is still in beta and not recommended for use in production. Although it can be used on a lived website, the plugin’s intended use is for managing patterns on a locally hosted development site.
The Pattern Manager makes it possible to use core features for which there isn’t yet an interface:
- When a user makes a new page or post, auto-show a modal with your patterns, available to be used.
- Make your pattern available in the block inserter, or choose to hide it from the inserter.
- Allow users to transform any block into your pattern.
WP Engine made several improvements to the plugin based on beta feedback since the time we reviewed the plugin earlier this month. The matter of where the patterns are stored was one issue the testers were concerned about. Pattern Manager pushes the patterns to PHP files every time the user saves them, which also makes them available for collaboration via git.
“One of the most requested features was child theme support, so we added that,” WP Engine Principal Engineer Mike McAlister said. “Now, if you have a child theme active, Pattern Manager will save your new patterns to the child theme, while all of the patterns in your parent theme are still available.”
Another common request McAlister’s team received was the ability to register custom pattern categories. This feature is currently in development and will be available in the plugin in the near future.
“Other than that, we made a lot of nice little improvements like adding a setting for defining the pattern preview width, deprioritizing the Pattern Manager admin menu item (which was previously at the top of the admin menu), and some light UI touch-ups,” McAlister said.
“We had over 300 people in the beta and the feedback was highly positive, which is surprising for a niche developer tool like this. To me, it speaks to the interest in all of this new WordPress technology and how developers are looking for tools like Pattern Manager to help them start working with it.”
I was one of the beta testers, and I also fully tested the version that was released via the wp.org plugin repository. The only complain that I have and it’s a big one, is not giving us accurate information about the media files.
VERY IMPORTANT: The media files will be automatically copied and referenced to them accurately ONLY if the media files in the patterns are used by CORE blocks. Any media files used by other third party block libraries, won’t be used – you will get no warnings about this. So if you then export your theme with the expectation that all is fine, you will end up with broken patterns (missing media files).
The second issue is that if you manually place the images yourself in the “images” folder, to manually refer to them, the Pattern Manager will delete them !!! If you want to do things this way, use a separate folder other than the images folder found inside the patterns folder which this plugin generates.
Finally, I’m absolutely shocked that media used in ACF Blocks are not supported, since WP Engine actually owns ACF…
I fully understand that this plugin is still in beta, but yesterday I lost a few hours by editing and making changes to some of my 100+ patterns that contained hardcoded images mostly made with ACF Blocks, only to revert them back, because they withheld the extremely important info. about the media issues. Once one understands all the pitfalls, this is a 5 star plugin for sure. It’s a great start, and a potential time saver !