The team behind the Meta Box plugin updated their MB Settings Page add-on to include support for the customizer and multisite. The customizer feature allows theme authors to integrate their custom settings into the customizer using framework-specific code. The multisite integration allows plugin authors to create a network settings page.
The new features come on the heels of an update to the core Meta Box plugin that improves performance for users who have thousands of objects such as posts, terms, or users.
The primary Meta Box plugin originated as a custom fields framework for plugin and theme authors to create meta boxes. It has since grown to handle settings across taxonomies, user profiles, options pages, comment forms, and other areas that have form fields. The plugin offers a unifying API for developers to code over 40 field types without the need to learn each of the internal, field-related APIs in WordPress. At the moment, the plugin has over 400,000 active installations.
The MB Settings Page add-on is a premium extension that allows theme and plugin authors to create custom settings pages.
The purpose of its customizer integration is for theme authors to map settings pages to customizer panels. However, the feature also allows for sections instead. All of the Meta Box’s field types carry over to the customizer except for its file and image field types due to limitations with how the customizer works. However, other file and image-related fields will handle most needs.
Customizer integration isn’t an all-or-nothing thing. Developers can choose to keep both a custom settings page and panels in the customizer. They may also opt for one screen over the other based on their needs.
The Meta Box team released a video showcasing the new customizer support with some mood music. To be honest, I’m just chilling out and listening as I write this article. I’ve got a little head bob going too.
There is currently no word on whether the customizer fields support live preview. Based on the video, when a user updates an option, the preview panel performs a full page refresh. If live preview is not currently a feature, it would be a welcome one in a future update.
Along with customizer integration, the MB Settings Page update provides the ability for developers to create network-wide settings for multisite.
For some developers, network-wide settings are a bit of an afterthought or something they don’t consider at all for their plugins. Not all plugins need options on the network level. For those that do, authors can start using their custom Meta Box fields directly in the WordPress network admin with a single line of code.