@wordpress/blocks Edit

“Block” is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage. The idea combines concepts of what in WordPress today we achieve with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience.

For more context, refer to What Are Little Blocks Made Of? from the Make WordPress Design blog.

The following documentation outlines steps you as a developer will need to follow to add your own custom blocks to WordPress’s editor interfaces.

Installation Installation

Install the module

npm install @wordpress/blocks --save

This package assumes that your code will run in an ES2015+ environment. If you’re using an environment that has limited or no support for ES2015+ such as lower versions of IE then using core-js or @babel/polyfill will add support for these methods. Learn more about it in Babel docs.

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Getting Started Getting Started

If you’re not already accustomed to working with JavaScript in your WordPress plugins, you may first want to reference the guide on Including CSS & JavaScript in the Theme Handbook.

At a minimum, you will need to enqueue scripts for your block as part of a enqueue_block_editor_assets action callback, with a dependency on the wp-blocks and wp-element script handles:

// myplugin.php

function myplugin_enqueue_block_editor_assets() {
        plugins_url( 'block.js', __FILE__ ),
        array( 'wp-blocks', 'wp-element' )
add_action( 'enqueue_block_editor_assets', 'myplugin_enqueue_block_editor_assets' );

The enqueue_block_editor_assets hook is only run in the Gutenberg editor context when the editor is ready to receive additional scripts and stylesheets. There is also an enqueue_block_assets hook which is run under both the editor and front-end contexts. This should be used to enqueue stylesheets common to the front-end and the editor. (The rules can be overridden in the editor-specific stylesheet if necessary.)

The following sections will describe what you’ll need to include in block.js to describe the behavior of your custom block.

Note that all JavaScript code samples in this document are enclosed in a function that is evaluated immediately afterwards. We recommend using either ES6 modules as used in this project (documentation on setting up a plugin with Webpack + ES6 modules coming soon) or these “immediately-invoked function expressions” as used in this document. Both of these methods ensure that your plugin’s variables will not pollute the global window object, which could cause incompatibilities with WordPress core or with other plugins.

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Example Example

Let’s imagine you wanted to define a block to show a randomly generated image in a post’s content using lorempixel.com. The service provides a choice of category and you’d like to offer this as an option when editing the post.

Take a step back and consider the ideal workflow for adding a new random image:

  • Insert the block. It should be shown in some empty state, with an option to choose a category in a select dropdown.
  • Upon confirming my selection, a preview of the image should be shown next to the dropdown.

At this point, you might realize that while you’d want some controls to be shown when editing content, the markup included in the published post might not appear the same (your visitors should not see a dropdown field when reading your content).

This leads to the first requirement of describing a block:

You will need to provide implementations both for what’s to be shown in an editor and what’s to be saved with the published content.

To eliminate redundant effort here, share common behaviors by splitting your code up into components.

Now that we’ve considered user interaction, you should think about the underlying values that determine the markup generated by your block. In our example, the output is affected only when the category changes. Put another way: the output of a block is a function of its attributes.

The category, a simple string, is the only thing we require to be able to generate the image we want to include in the published content. We call these underlying values of a block instance its attributes.

With these concepts in mind, let’s explore an implementation of our random image block:

// random-image.php

function random_image_enqueue_block_editor_assets() {
        plugins_url( 'block.js', __FILE__ ),
        array( 'wp-blocks', 'wp-element' )
add_action( 'enqueue_block_editor_assets', 'random_image_enqueue_block_editor_assets' );
// block.js
( function( blocks, element ) {
    var el = element.createElement,
        source = blocks.source;

    function RandomImage( props ) {
        var src = 'http://lorempixel.com/400/200/' + props.category;

        return el( 'img', {
            src: src,
            alt: props.category
        } );

    blocks.registerBlockType( 'myplugin/random-image', {
        title: 'Random Image',

        icon: 'format-image',

        category: 'common',

        attributes: {
            category: {
                type: 'string',
                source: 'attribute',
                attribute: 'alt',
                selector: 'img',

        edit: function( props ) {
            var category = props.attributes.category,

            function setCategory( event ) {
                var selected = event.target.querySelector( 'option:checked' );
                props.setAttributes( { category: selected.value } );

            children = [];
            if ( category ) {
                children.push( RandomImage( { category: category } ) );

                el( 'select', { value: category, onChange: setCategory },
                    el( 'option', null, '- Select -' ),
                    el( 'option', { value: 'sports' }, 'Sports' ),
                    el( 'option', { value: 'animals' }, 'Animals' ),
                    el( 'option', { value: 'nature' }, 'Nature' )

            return el( 'form', { onSubmit: setCategory }, children );

        save: function( props ) {
            return RandomImage( { category: props.attributes.category } );
    } );
} )(

(Example in ES2015+, JSX)

Let’s briefly review a few items you might observe in the implementation:

  • When registering a new block, you must prefix its name with a namespace for
    your plugin. This helps prevent conflicts when more than one plugin registers
    a block with the same name.
  • You will use createElement to describe the structure of your block’s
    markup. See the Element documentation for more
  • Extracting RandomImage to a separate function allows us to reuse it in both
    the editor-specific interface and the published content.
  • The edit function should handle any case where an attribute is unset, as in
    the case of the block being newly inserted.
  • We only change the attributes of a block by calling the setAttributes
    helper. Never assign a value on the attributes object directly.
  • React provides conveniences for working with select element with
    value and onChange props.

By concerning yourself only with describing the markup of a block given its attributes, you need not worry about maintaining the state of the page, or how your block interacts in the context of the surrounding editor.

But how does the markup become an object of attributes? We need a pattern for encoding the values into the published post’s markup, and then retrieving them the next time the post is edited. This is the motivation for the block’s attributes property. The shape of this object matches that of the attributes object we’d like to receive, where each value is a source which tries to find the desired value from the markup of the block.

In the random image block above, we’ve given the alt attribute of the image a secondary responsibility of tracking the selected category. There are a few other ways we could have achieved this, but the category value happens to work well as an alt descriptor. In the attributes property, we define an object with a key of category whose value tries to find this alt attribute of the markup. If it’s successful, the category’s value in our edit and save functions will be assigned. In the case of a new block or invalid markup, this value would be undefined, so we adjust our return value accordingly.

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wp.blocks.registerBlockType( name: string, typeDefinition: Object ) wp.blocks.registerBlockType( name: string, typeDefinition: Object )

Registers a new block provided a unique name and an object defining its behavior. Once registered, the block is made available as an option to any editor interface where blocks are implemented.

  • title: string – A human-readable
    label for the block. Shown in the block inserter.
  • icon: string | WPElement | Function | Object – Slug of the
    to be shown in the control’s button, or an element (or function returning an
    element) if you choose to render your own SVG.
    An object can also be passed, in this case, icon, as specified above, should be included in the src property.
    Besides src the object can contain background and foreground colors, this colors will appear with the icon
    when they are applicable e.g.: in the inserter.
  • attributes: Object – An object of attribute schemas, where the
    keys of the object define the shape of attributes, and each value an object
    schema describing the type, default (optional), and
    (optional) of the attribute. If source is omitted, the attribute is
    serialized into the block’s comment delimiters.
  • category: string – Slug of the block’s category. The category is used to
    organize the blocks in the block inserter.
  • edit( { attributes: Object, setAttributes: Function } ): WPElement
    Returns an element describing the markup of a block to be shown in the
    editor. A block can update its own state in response to events using the
    setAttributes function, passing an object of properties to be applied as a
    partial update.
  • save( { attributes: Object } ): WPElement – Returns an element describing
    the markup of a block to be saved in the published content. This function is
    called before save and when switching to an editor’s HTML view.
  • keywords – An optional array of keywords used to filter the block list.

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wp.blocks.getBlockType( name: string ) wp.blocks.getBlockType( name: string )

Returns type definitions associated with a registered block.

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wp.blocks.getControlSettings( name: string ) wp.blocks.getControlSettings( name: string )

Returns settings associated with a registered control.

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