Episode 23: Building Websites with Advanced Custom Fields!

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I get to be a nerd today and get excited about a WordPress plugin! I've grown to love Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) over the past few years running my web design agency. In the past, I didn't want ‘another plugin' and I created a lot of custom code that leveraged WordPress' core features (eg, meta boxes and the customizer).

Today though, I reach for ACF more often than not. In this podcast, I tell the story around the transition, the influence Hexater themes had on my approach to themes, how I broke from that, how I now use it when I'm building custom themes for clients.. and dig into the plugin itself a bit and why I find it such an important solution in my toolkit.


  • The Original Developer…
    • Acquired by Delicious Brains after 10 years
      • Other plugins they are known for.
    • The future..
  • My Pre-ACF days.. metaboxes & the customizer
    • Hexater Dev – our mission and philosophy around themes.
    • Only what you need mindset – anti-plugin beyond the essentials.
    • Light-weight, fast, easier..
    • Anti-bloat.. just what you need.
    • The WordPress way – core functions.
  • ..2018, my exit.. starting my new agency. Acquiring Hexater.
    • WordPress focus in the beginning.
    • Breaking the anti-plugin mindset ..
      • Introduction to ACF through existing client websites.
    • Starts to grow on me.. nice interface, options, and more.
    • From scratch themes.. started using.
      • Hard-coded ACF into the template instead of using meta boxes or the customizer.
      • Made development easier.. more flexible and easier to change things up on the fly.
  • Custom Hexater themes.. swapping out the customizer code with ACF.
    • Instead of having half customizer and half ACF fields.
    • More consistent for the end-user.
  • ACF features I love
    • The interface ..
      • Layouts, tabs .. well organized, great for the client.
    • Almost any kind of field you can think of.
      • Repeater fields
      • Grouping, nesting
      • Adding instructions ..
      • Adding classes and IDs ..
      • Have the boxes show up anywhere .. pages, posts, post-types etc.
      • Creating conditional logic
    • So.. highly customizable. Super flexible. Easy to manage.
    • Learn more at: AdvancedCustomFields.com
  • … AND.. enhance it even more by leveraging JS and targeting those classes/IDs!
  • A great foundation to build great themes!


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Matt Levenhagen
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