I am always looking to minimise my reliance on plugins. I currently use Advanced Custom Fields plugin for pretty much every site I build.

I can't help but feel that the functionality this plugin brings should be (and probably is) something the WP supports, i.e. multiple WYSIWYG blocks per template/specific pages.

Could anyone suggest a way of having multiple editable content sections (specifically WYSIWYG) on a page without using plugins?

I am aware of the capability of adding meta boxes for single text fields, etc, but that's not what I am actually after.

  • Look at the plugin source and see how it does things.
    – s_ha_dum
    Nov 16, 2012 at 15:10
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    What are you after? If you don't want a plugin to add custom fields, you have to do it on your own. You need a couple of functions - one to create the meta box, one to save it's input and I think that's pretty much it. In your meta box you can have whatever you want, including a WYSIWYG field. Nov 16, 2012 at 15:16
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    Elliot (the ACF dev) is actually releasing a "lite" version of the plugin next week so theme/plugin devs can include it without depending on the ACF plugin. All the goodness, none of the unneeded fluff
    – Zach
    Nov 16, 2012 at 15:23
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    What is inherently wrong with using Plugins? If the Plugin is coded properly, it will be as - if not more - efficient than incorporating the same code directly into your Theme (where custom post meta data generally doesn't belong, anyway). Nov 16, 2012 at 17:48
  • Thanks for your responses guys - very helpful. There is nothing inherently wrong with plugins apart from that as a developer I want to be able to make my own plugins customised to each job I take on. This is a fundamental of that objective. Now it has been made clear that using custom fields and meta boxes I can achieve this makes my life a whole lot easier. From the codex I presumed it was just for check boxes or single line text fields. Thanks a bunch.
    – JohnC
    Nov 20, 2012 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


I am aware of the capability of adding meta boxes for single text fields, etc, but that's not what I am actually after.

Meta fields aren't just for "single text fields", the database type is longtext:

mysql> DESCRIBE wp_postmeta;
| Field      | Type                | Null | Key | Default | Extra          |
| meta_id    | bigint(20) unsigned | NO   | PRI | NULL    | auto_increment |
| post_id    | bigint(20) unsigned | NO   | MUL | 0       |                |
| meta_key   | varchar(255)        | YES  | MUL | NULL    |                |
| meta_value | longtext            | YES  |     | NULL    |                |
4 rows in set (0.08 sec)

This is intentional so you can store just about anything you want in a meta field. When you create your meta box you can use any form input you like as long as you handle it correctly when saving the post.

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