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Creating ACF blocks with a plugin does not find the render_template

  • Hi there everyone.

    I have been using ACF for a very long time now, and now I wanted to create a plugin for myself that uses all the blocks I normaly create from scratch all the time.

    I have been creating blocks in the theme, and that is working excelent.
    But now that I’m creating a plugin, I’m having some issues on the “render_template” part.

    In my plugin root folder, I have the root php file for my core stuff.
    In this Php file I “require” my acf-blocks php file where I create all my blocks.

    @require "blocks/gw-blocks.php";

    In my acf-blocks.php file I use this code:

    function register_acf_block_types() {
    	// Register content block
    		'name'				=> 'testimonial',
    		'title'				=> __('Clean Testimonial'),
    		'description'		=> __('A testimonial displaying an image and person information'),
    		'render_template'	=> 'block/testimonial.php',
    		'category'			=> 'formatting',
    		'icon'				=> 'media-text',
    		'keywords'			=> array( 'text', 'content', 'image', 'testimonial' ),
    if( function_exists( 'acf_register_block_type' ) ) {
    	add_action( 'acf/init', 'register_acf_block_types' );

    render_template here is looking for the folder blocks and the file testimonial.php inside that. My testimonial.php is in the same folder as acf-blocks.php that creates the blocks.

    But when I require from the root php file, then I have to assume that the blocks are created on root, and therefor has to target the folder first and then the blocks.

    This is my folder setup:

    **** testimonial.php
    **** acf-blocks.php

    ** = Folder
    **** = files inside folder
    * root files

    I have tried to use these as render template:

    "plugin_dir_path( __FILE__ ) . "block/testimonial.php"
    "plugin_dir_path( __FILE__ ) . "/block/testimonial.php"

    None of these are working.
    I can select the block on the page without any problem, but there is just not anything showing. Not even my placeholder test on the fields.

    This is my testimonial.php file:

     * Testimonial block
    $id = 'gweb-testimonial-' . $block['id'];
    if( !empty($block['anchor']) ) {
    	$id = $block['anchor'];
    // Create class attribute allowing for custom "ClassName" and "align" values.
    $className = 'gweb-testimonial';
    if( !empty($block['className']) ) {
    	$className .= ' ' . $block['className'];
    if( !empty($block['align']) ) {
    	$className .= ' align' . $block['align'];
    // Load values and assign defaults
    $name			= get_field('name') ?: "Name of the person...";
    $title			= get_field('title') ?: "Title of the person...";
    $email			= get_field('email') ?: "Person's Email";
    $areaCode		= get_field('area_code') ?: "00";
    $phoneNumber	= get_field('phone_number') ?: "999 9999 999";
    $person			= get_field('person');
    $background		= get_field('background_color');
    $leftRight		= get_field('left_or_right');
    <div class="<?php echo esc_attr($className); ?>" id="<?php echo esc_attr($id); ?>" style="background-color: #<?php echo $background; ?>">
    	<?php if($leftRight === 'left') : ?>
    		<img src="<?php echo $person; ?>" alt="">
    	<?php endif; ?>
    		<div class="person">
    			<h2><?php echo $name; ?></h2>
    			<h4><?php echo $title; ?></h4>
    			<div class="contact_info">
    				<a href="mailto: <?php echo $email; ?>"><?php echo $email; ?></a>
    				<a href="tel: +<?php echo $areaCode; ?> <?php echo $phoneNumber; ?>">+<?php echo $areaCode . " " . $phoneNumber; ?></a>
    	<?php if($leftRight === 'right') : ?>
    		<img src="<?php echo $person; ?>" alt="">
    	<?php endif; ?>

    So I would realy appreciate any help I can get on this matter so that I can start using my plugin to get the work load a little lighter in the future.

    And yes, I have ACF Pro

    Best Regars
    – JP

  • Nobody? I still have not found the answer anywhere to what may cause this.
    I have checked the path, and the path is correct.

  • I have a possibly related issue: if I use acf_register_block_type on the acf/init hook, the block doesn’t render in the frontend. If I use the init hook, it works. This appears to be a new problem, as my code was working fine in December.

    • philby

    • March 21, 2020 at 7:21 am

    Not sure if this is helpful, but here’s a setup I’ve been using:

    In *acf-blocks-plugin.php I’m calling

    // Get plugin Path directory
    if ( !defined( 'FP_PLUGIN_PATH' ) ) {
        define( 'FP_PLUGIN_PATH', plugin_dir_path( __FILE__ ) );
    if ( !defined( 'FP_PLUGIN_URI' ) ) {
        define( 'FP_PLUGIN_URI', plugin_dir_url( __FILE__ ) );

    and then

    add_action('acf/init', 'fp_acf_init');
    function fp_acf_init() {
    	// check function exists
    	if( function_exists('acf_register_block_type') ) {
    		// register the Product Select block
            include( FP_PLUGIN_PATH . 'blocks/prodselect/prodselect-block.php');
    		// register the Product Image Select block --> Images with lightbox
            include( FP_PLUGIN_PATH . 'blocks/prodimage/prodimage-block.php');

    Inside a **blocs/blockname/blockname.php there’s the usual ACF block code

    // register the products filter block
    	'name'				=> 'fp_blocklink',
    	'post_types' 		=> array( 'post', 'page', 'fp_produkt'  ),
    	'render_template'   => FP_PLUGIN_PATH . '/blocks/blocklink/blocklink-template.php',
        'enqueue_style'     => FP_PLUGIN_URI . 'blocks/blocklink/blocklink-style.css',

    I’m not really sure the enqueue_style makes much sense, TBH, but the rest seems to be working OK so far.

  • Thanks @philby for the solution :). I can confirmed that code is working.

    Register code below:

    // register pricing table
                   'render_template' => plugin_dir_path(__FILE__) . '/template-parts/blocks/pricing-table/pricing-table.php',
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