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Session: From Classic to Blocks in 90 Days?

Date: Thursday, July 13, 2023
Time: 1:30 - 2:15 pm (CDT) (UTC-05:00)
Location: Room 2
Format: General Lecture Session

Who is this session for?

Campus Web managers, marketing teams, multisite users, content managers, plugin developers

Session description

We support campus multisite webs across the state of Maine. As we explored core Gutenberg blocks, stock patterns, block suite(s), and design libraries -- we found it overwhelming to present so many options for creating content to our (hundreds of) editors across the various campuses we support. Some blocks had usability or accessibility concerns; some were redundant; some offered a smoother conversion to blocks than others; some designs utilized blocks we did not want to support. And, each block or pattern often defaults to the canvas with settings galore that often don’t match a campus brand’s styles.

To ease these concerns, we developed 2 plugins. A "Block Manager" allows us to expose only the blocks we choose to support. The campus team can add a list of sites which may have additional blocks available. A "Block Patterns Manager" enables us to hide stock patterns and add custom patterns into categories for a given campus Multisite installation.

We'll walk you through our situation, websites, and the process we used to select the blocks we chose. We will demo the 2 plugins and show how they work and serve campus-specific needs across the state. We will walk through how we engage each campus marketing team to work through this massive shift and how they might best utilize these tools to their advantage. Lastly, we can cover next steps and challenges we have with these young, custom plugins we created.


Daniel Tyger

Headshot of Daniel Tyger
Web Services Manager, University of Maine System

Daniel currently works on a team of 6 that supports the state of Maine's public university system websites and intranet portal. He has been steeped in higher education webs, instructional design, and intranets throughout his career. He enjoys complex projects and challenges at work and in his free time gardens, makes music, walks, and plays disc golf.


  • General Lecture Session: From Classic to Blocks in 90 Days?

Tom O'Donnell

Headshot of Tom O'Donnell
Team Lead, Web Technologies, University of Maine System

Tom is the Team Lead of the University of Maine System’s Web Technologies team, which manages the technical end of enterprise WordPress sites for the System's many campuses. He has been using WordPress since around version 2.9 and has worked in the University of Maine System for way longer than that. In addition to many years in web work, he also has experience in server administration, networking, and performing live music in questionable establishments.


  • General Lecture Session: From Classic to Blocks in 90 Days?

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