Tag Archives: Theme Development

How to Add Block Templates to Your WordPress Theme or Plugin Gutenberg

How to Add Block Templates to Your WordPress Theme or Plugin

While working on my Gutenberg Development Course, one of the hardest things I found to research was how to add block templates to your WordPress theme or plugin.

Example of a block template with and image and paragraph block

Example of a simple template with image and paragraph block

Block templates are a way to have certain blocks show up by default for a new post, page or custom post type.  You can also “lock” the template to prevent users from adding or removing blocks.

Thank You Matías and Riad For Showing Us How

I could only find two code example of how to write block templates.

One was by freezing Matías Ventura’s Gutenberg Demo from the State of the Word 2017 at WordCamp US.

Block Templates Matías Ventura.png

Blurry example but best I could find

The other was from a Gutenberg Custom Fields Plugin from Gutenberg core developer Riad Benguella.  If you reverse engineer that plugin you can see how templates are added.

How Block Templates Work

Templates are added as a parameter when registering a post type in WordPress.  Sometimes this is done for your own custom post type.  But it can also be done for existing and native post types like Posts and Pages.

The block template setting itself is an array of blocks that you want included.  There is also an additional setting called “template_lock” that can be set to true or false to lock down the template to users.

You can also add additional configurations like custom placeholder text for blocks or set the alignment.

An Example of Block Templates

You can add the code below to any plugin or theme to modify template setting for post types of your choice.

Some notes on this code:

  • Notice the conditional statement determining what post type to apply this to.  Can change for your own needs.
  • The template_lock argument determines whether users can add or remove blocks with this post type.
  • The name used for blocks is the name used when creating them.  See a list here of all default blocks, which you can use to lookup (or guess) the programatic name for a block.
  • You can add additional configurations like placeholder text, alignment, or other block attributes you want set by default.

Learn More About Gutenberg Development

To learn more about developing with blocks in WordPress, please check out my course Gutenberg Development Course.

How to set a custom block color scheme in your theme for Gutenberg

How to Add a Custom “Color Palette” to Your WordPress Theme

One of the cool things I picked up while working on my Gutenberg Development Course was how to set a default color palette for all blocks inside your theme.

Interestingly, as far as I can tell, defining custom color schemes is something only a theme should do and this cannot be set from within a custom block.

Block Color Palettes in Gutenberg

One of the features that blocks can have in WordPress is the ability change a color. For example, the core paragraph block has the ability to change the background and text color in the block inspector panel.

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 12.59.31 PM.png

Example of Default Block Color Scheme in WordPress

One of the cool things you can do as a theme developer, is set your own custom color palette for your theme.  This can help users choose colors that match the design of the theme.

Setting Custom Color Palettes in Gutenberg

To set a custom color palette (or color scheme) you would simply add add_theme_support( ‘editor-color-palette’ ) to your functions.php file and then continue to pass in the hexadecimal values for colors you want.

You can add as many colors as you like (I think), but I would suggest limiting the selection to colors that work well with your theme.

You will then want to hook that add_theme_support() into ‘after_setup_theme’.

What This Looks Like in Action

Using the color combinations set above, the default color options for blocks would now look like this.

Example of custom color scheme applied to WordPress blocks

Example of custom color scheme applied to WordPress blocks

I think that if you have a theme with a specific color palette that you should definitely take the extra few minutes to set a default color scheme for the blocks.

Learn More About Developing with Gutenberg

To learn more about building custom blocks or customizing Gutenberg with your theme, please check out my course on Gutenberg Development Course.

How to Redirect to Custom Page After Completing a LearnDash Course

One of the features I recently finished for the my redesign of my JavaScript for WordPress site was to have users taken to a special page once they complete a course.

You can do this a number of ways, but here is how I did it:


1. Setup Congratulations Pages for Each Course

The first thing I did was create a parent page called Congratulations with the url of “/congrats.”

Then I created Child Pages, one for each course.  Those pages looked something like this.

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 2.29.43 PM.png

You can see the badge displayed and the number of points earned (I use BadgeOS and BadgeOS LearnDash Add-on).

The most important thing I did was give each page the same slug as the course it is tied to.  If I didn’t do this, then the next step wouldn’t work as coded.


2. Add This Code to Your Functions.php

The next step was to find the LearnDash hook that fires when a LearnDash course completes.

Luckily there is a learndash_course_completion_url hook that let’s return a URL and the redirect happens automatically.

This code gets the slug for the completed course and then creates a new URL string of “/congrats/course-slug.”

NOTE: This will only work if you you did these two things from Step 1.

  • Create a parent page with the URL slug of “congrats”
  • Create child pages for each course using the same URL slug as the course


Hope this Helps!

If you have a LearnDash account you can access the list of Action and Filter Hooks here.  Since that page is password protected, thought I would share this snippet with you.

Hope it helps!

How to Add Meta Descriptions to WordPress Themes Using functions.php

While working on an SEO for WordPress course recently, I was looking for a way to manually add meta descriptions to a theme from the functions.php file.

After playing around a bit, I came up with this solution:

This of course raises the bigger question of why would you want to do this instead of using a plugins like SEO by Yoast or All in One SEO.  I don’t think that you actually would :p I just wanted to demonstrate how to do it.

If you have a more elegant solution, please suggest away!

Hardcode a Ninja Form in Your WordPress Theme


I have been a big Gravity Forms supporter for a long time, however, I’m beginning to get more interested in Ninja Forms, which is a free WordPress form builder and also quite powerful.

If you decide to build your WP forms with Ninja Forms, you may find the ninja_forms_display_form() function helpful since it let’s you hardcode a form directly into a template.

Most of the time I add my forms as shortcodes, but on occassion it’s necessary to hardcode in the form to the theme files itself. Here’s the full documentation for the ninja_forms_display_form hook.