Helen Hou-Sandí: Metaboxes Considered Harmful

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January 1, 2019

When it comes to plugins and themes in WordPress, we’ve heard some mantras over and over: “Your custom user interfaces should feel like a native part of WordPress! Follow the admin UI! Back-compat 4 life!” So what happens when a project like Gutenberg comes along and threatens everything you thought you knew about creating and editing content in WordPress?

One of the things about extending software is that you tend to stick to familiar paradigms and patterns, often at the cost of innovation and creating the best possible experience for a given task. One of the major tensions we’ve seen in the push forward on Gutenberg is between the tradition of backwards compatibility and the forward-looking concept of a block-based editor. The hesitation is natural and understandable, but it’s important to take a step back and ask “are metaboxes really the best UI for what my user needs to do?”

In this talk, we will take a look at some creative solutions from the past that have broken outside of the bounds of metaboxes and other form-centric interfaces while still maintaining that WordPress feel, along with practical examples of where rethinking the editing experience can and has led to significantly better outcomes for both implementers and users alike.

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WordCamp US 2018 39


Helen Hou-Sandí 24


Metaboxes 3


English 9744

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