A lot of people would immediately think “meta” would mean blocks that let you do meta information within a webpage or site, but I am using the word more in the philosophical sense that there are a large number of sites that are “self-referential”…blocks that basically say, “Hey, I’m part of a website and here are some ways of looking at other parts of the website”. While most blocks let you add new content in a specific way, these “meta” site blocks are ones that basically pull data from elsewhere in the site and let you show that data within another page or post. For the various collections, I have 19 blocks identified across 9 general functions.
Posts or pages
The most obvious function is a block that lets you show other posts or pages within this post or page. The default collection has options for the latest posts, categories, archives, or even a tag cloud. Atomic Blocks has one called the post and page grid, Qodeblock has the same, Ultimate has a grid + a masonry layout + a carousel, and Stackable has one just called Posts.
I get why people want them, and I do have similar widgets in my sidebar. And many people create a three-column layout to put these at the top of the page as a sticky, and basically have the latest three posts sitting there ready to be clicked. But that’s not a web design I like. I am a vertical layout kind of guy, and to be honest, I have no use for any of these blocks. If I want to create a link to other posts, I’ll do it relatively manually, not as a preview of another post or page.
I used to use shortcodes in my Classic Editor days. So, in theory, I might want a shortcode block. Default includes one to embed a widget, but outside of something like a Twitter feed or a Countdown widget, I’m not sure I have any use for it.
I tried it out with a shortcode style that I do use, like the NGG Image chooser, and sure, it works. But I can dump that into a regular paragraph block just as easily.
Equally, as with above, I have no use for a simple generic Widget ShortCode insertion either.
Miscellaneous default meta blocks
The default collection also includes blocks for repeat visitors, showing the latest comments on the site, adding an RSS feed, or styling a separate Search box. Pass on all of them.
Advanced Gutenberg has an Search Bar block, and if I needed one, I’d choose it. But I don’t, so I won’t. 🙂
Advanced Gutenberg, Atomic Blocks, and Qodeblock all have newletter blocks. AG is a simple contact block, even simpler than the standard Contact form block.Atomic Blocks and Qodeblock requires integration with a service like MailChimp. In theory, I like the idea, but I am not running a newsletter option. Pass.
Update: To see my current collection of blocks, check out the blocks I use.