Jacob M (Jake) Goldman is the owner of 10up LLC, a web development and strategy agency with a focus on making content management easy and fun. 10up's clients range from small local businesses to major WordPress.com VIP clients like TechCrunch. You can find his insights and development tips by following him on Twitter @jakemgold
It has been a big year for WordPress. If there were still some lingering doubts about its potency as a full-fledged content management system, then the full support for custom taxonomies and custom post types in WordPress 3.0 core should have put them to rest. WordPress 3.1 took those leaps one step further, polishing custom taxonomies with multi-taxonomy query support, polishing custom post types with native template support for archives and feeds, and introducing features (like the “admin bar”) that make it easier to quickly edit and add content from the front end.
In the broader community, we’ve seen incredible plug-in suites such as BuddyPress mature, and even the emergence of independent WordPress-dedicated hosting services, such as page.ly. To celebrate WordPress’s progress, let’s review some new tips that can help template developers and consultants up their game even further.
Two weeks ago we published the first part of this article, covering multiple column content techniques and associating pages with post content; we discussed how to use the "More"-tag, hide standalone categories from the category list and retain the page layout for post views within a category page. This article presents the second part of the article; it covers customizing basic content administration and adding features to the post and page editor in WordPress. You would like to see more similar articles in the future? Let us know in the comments to this post!
Many template developers have learned the art of making beautiful, highly customized front end templates for WordPress. But the real wizards know how to tailor the WordPress administrative console to create a tailored, customized experience for content managers. The dashboard is the first screen presented to registered visitors when they visit WordPress administration (/wp-admin). Tailoring the dashboard to a client can be the difference between a great first impression and a confused one, particularly if the theme customizes the administrative experience.
Back in July, "Power Tips for WordPress Template Developers" presented 8 basic techniques for adding popular features to the front end of a WordPress-powered website. The premise was that WordPress has become an elegant, lightweight content management solution that offers the fundamentals out of the box, atop a modular core that offers incredible potential in the hands of a capable developer.
WordPress does not try to be an "everything to everyone" CMS right out of the box. Many systems do an average job incorporating 99% of what the potential CMS market might need, even if the last 15-20% is used only by a fraction of the market and adds considerably to the system’s overall "heft" (or bloat). At the other end of the spectrum are completely custom solutions that are finely tailored to exact needs, at the cost of reinventing wheels like polished content editing with media management and version control.
That previous "Power Tips" entry scratched the surface, covering a handful of API calls mixed in with some simple PHP code and configuration tips intended to help beginner WordPress template developers kick their game up a notch. This article takes power tips to the next level, expanding on some of the topics in the first article, and introducing more advanced techniques and methods for customizing not only the front end, but the content management (or back end) experience.
With its latest releases, WordPress has extended its potential well beyond blogging, moving toward an advanced, robust and very powerful content management solution. By default, WordPress delivers a very lightweight, minimal system that offers only basic functionalities. But where the WordPress core falls short, there are a wealth of plug-ins that extend its limitations.
Plug-ins often offer simple solutions, but they are not always elegant solutions: in particular, they can add a noticable overhead, e.g. if they offer more functionality than needed. In fact, some general and frequently needed WordPress-functionalities can be added to the engine without bloated plugins, using the software itself.
This article presents 8 tips for WordPress template developers that address common CMS implementation challenges, with little to no plug-in dependence. These examples are written for WordPress 2.7+ and should also work in the latest WordPress-version.