Not All Content Blocks Are Ready for Sidebars

When WordPress 5.8 shipped, it replaced widgets with blocks and provided a new interface to manage them. This means that blocks that are used in the content editor can now be used as widgets in the sidebars of themes. However, as I’ve discovered, not all of the content blocks are suitable for display in the sidebar.

For example, I wanted to display the Membership Levels block from Paid Memberships Pro in the sidebar as I thought it would be a neat way to display it on the front page. However, the block’s content is too wide so it sticks out.

Membership Level Block is Too Wide for The Sidebar
Membership Level Block is Too Wide for The Sidebar

I imagine this is the case for a lot of blocks that were originally created for the content area which has a lot more real estate. I wonder how developers are going to solve this issue so that blocks look the same no matter where they’re used on a site.

One thing I noticed with the new block/widget interface is that there is no option to preview how a block looks in a sidebar on the front-end.

the new block widget interface lacks a preview option
No Options to Preview How Blocks Look on the Front-end

I looked everywhere but couldn’t find a preview button. I suppose one way around this would be to use the Customizer and add blocks/widgets to the sidebar but I find it odd that the ability to preview something that would change the front-end of a site does not exist.

Perhaps the developers felt one is unnecessary because you can typically see a rendered version of the block widget in the backend. In my case, however, the block I used didn’t generate a live preview which is why I wanted to preview it on the front-end like you would a post.

a block in the new widget management interface that does not show a live preview
Some Blocks Don’t Generate a Live Preview In The New Widget Interface

I’m guessing that over time, plugin developers will make the necessary changes to their blocks so that live previews show up in the interface whether it’s the content editor or the widgets screen, thus negating the need to preview on the front-end. Have you run into any issues like this with any blocks thus far? How has your experience been like with the new Widget management screen?

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