Home Forums Pre-purchase Questions Why no auto-insert? Can fields display in sidebar?


Why no auto-insert? Can fields display in sidebar?

  • Hi, I’m brand new to ACF. It seems very cool, but as a non-coder I’m surprised it doesn’t have an option to just inject the fields in the spots specified (under title, after post, side). Why is that? I mean why make us add it to a child theme and all that when they could be easily injected by default? Then give us an option to turn that off, for the devs who want to customize it all. Wouldn’t that make more sense and make the plugin much more accessible to everyone?

    Also, is it possible display the current post’s custom fields in a sidebar. I just tried with 2015 theme. I added a plugin to turn on shortcodes in text widgets, then added a text widget with the ACF shortcodes inside. Nothing displayed there.

    I’m using the free version of course. But I want to be sure it works in the ways I need, without tons of custom coding and such, before I buy.

  • ACF is a plugin that is designed for developers that build custom themes. There are other plugins available for those that are not coders, for example Pods or the Types Toolkit. There are really very few “hooks” outside of the “the_content” where ACF fields could be inserted and without building custom HTML to contain the values saved in the fields ACF, anything that could be built would be extremely basic and limiting. It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re not a coder and don’t have any interest in doing any coding then you’re probably not looking for something like ACF.

  • Thanks John. That’s very helpful. The interface is just so well built, I guess it didn’t occur to me that it would be primarily for coders. That makes sense.

    Just out of curiosity, have you thought of adding (selling) an extension to display it on the front-end for non-coders? The Custom Field manager is so nicely done, I’d expect people would love whatever tool you all came up with for inserting in posts (or pages or CPTs, etc).

    Just from my searches on the it seems like quite the ecosystem of plugins were growing up around ACF, that allowed us to insert without coding. But I get the feeling most of that momentum died with ACF 5. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, just what I saw. Anyway, just a few thoughts. Thanks.

  • I’m not one of the developers of ACF, just another user that also helps answer questions here. I have not seen anything for automatically adding field values on the front end, maybe you could point me to them or what you’ve found.

    This type of question has come up here from time to time, but I’ve never seen anything that is really useful come out of it.

    I’m sure that simple tools could be created for adding shortcodes to the content for some of the more complicated fields, but example showing lists of post in a relationship field, but it would need to be extremely basic, showing a list of post titles with links. As soon as you create that someone would want to be able to show the post excerpt for the related post, and then the featured image, or maybe only one of them. Then once you work out those details someone would want to show custom fields that are added to these related posts, or show something more than a list. The possibilities for just this single type of field are nearly endless and without providing some type of template system…. and this is just one type of field. I personally would not think about building or maintaining something like this unless I could quit my full time job and planned on spending 80 hours a week just keeping up with it.

  • Ah, good to know. Thanks for explaining. But functionality like that might open it up to a lot more people purchasing, and therefore make it the kind of thing that could pay some people’s salaries. Right now ACF is limited to devs, which is really only a small portion of the WP users out there.

    I saw a number of plugins, including one that adds a widget, where you select the field group and it displays it. However, it didn’t work for me, and threads about it said that it had been implemented in ACF 5. I assume only as a dev feature, not a simple widget the way that free plugin originally worked. There were several others I don’t recall.

    I am using this one currently, in my testing, and it works nicely as a basic way to just display the data from the custom fields:

  • I’m going to keep the link to that plugin handy. Not a solution I’d use but something for those not wanting to code anyway.

  • Yeah, it’s nice. And the developer has been responsive. We’ll probably look more into Types and their Views plugin. Seems like that’s more the right speed for us non-devs.

  • I tried views on one site before switching to acf, it’s okay if you don’t want to do a lot of customization where it does not already provide something. Doing anything with types and views where you need to do any custom coding is far more complicated than with ACF. It is most definitely geared more toward non devs. It’s more of a framework and like most frameworks, not really conducive to custom work. Almost everything I build is completely custom for clients that are…, well, let’s say that they are unwilling to setting for what’s available “out of the box.”

  • Yeah. I totally get it now. I just like the backend for ACF so much, it’s kinda too bad there’s not something like Views for it, even if it’s kinda basic.

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