Since we use concrete5 to build most of our sites we often create custom blocks for clients to manage their content in easier ways. When the same kind of block is needed across multiple sites, we'll build a block to be flexible (perhaps with extra features), to make life easier for us in the future.

There have been a few blocks that we've built so far that we've felt were particularly handy, so we decided to package them up and offer them for free on the concrete5 marketplace. Free blocks have often saved us time, so it's really just a bit of good karma to offer something back in return. 

I'll be honest too in saying that it also gives us some credibility - we don't just say we can do customer development in concrete5, here's some actual evidence.

So here is a summary of the three blocks/packages we've released so far:

List Files From Set


The concrete5 file manager uses sets to categorise documents and other files you upload. However, 'out of the box' there isn't an easy to way to simply list all files within a file set on a page, you have to create the links manually.

So we built this block to automatically display 1 or more documents from a file set, being able to be reordered and displayed in a few ways. Here's an example of it in action.

View it in the concrete5 marketplace 

Lightboxed Image


This block was written to make it easy to add an image to a page that enlarges in a 'lightbox' when clicked. There are already some great light boxes in the marketplace, but none of them used my preferred jQuery lightbox script - ColorBox jQuery. It's great for those times where you want to add an image or two to a sidebar, but not a full gallery.

For this block, I used concrete5's config system to have it keep track of the theme set and the last entered size values - this means that you don't have keep entering the same sizes over and over if you are adding a series of images.

View it in the concrete5 marketplace

Image Banner


This block was created to solve a particular but recurring problem. We had found that clients had wanted to be able to add decorative images to their site as a banner, but the images they wanted to use were all different sizes, meaning they had to be manually edited.

So this was written to allow someone to pick a series of different sized images and have them automatically resized and cropped neatly in a line. It's a really easy (and safe) way to add some extra decoration to a site.

This block also accidentally became a useful image cropping tool. If you use it with just one image, it's going to resize and crop it (with options of the direction of crop). Like the the lightboxed image block, this block also uses global config values too to keep track of entered values.

View it in the concrete5 marketplace


So far, all three blocks have received full 5 star reviews, which we're pretty proud of. We've got a few more blocks up our sleave for future releases.

- Ryan