Tools to Extend WordPress Content Capabilities
April 3, 2012 Advance Developer’s Meet-up Hosted by CoSpace
In this month’s meet-up we addressed how to add specialized content blocks to a WordPress site through custom meta boxes. We examined the technical aspects of two popular custom meta-box tools, one a plugin, and the other a block of custom code. These new tools offer a a way to easily use meta boxes to add those extra units of information like title, content, excerpt, category, tag etc.
The first custom meta-box tool was More Fields. More Fields is a WordPress plugin that adds boxes to the Write/Edit page. These boxes contains input fields, so that additional (more) fields can be added to a post. For example, if you write about books, you can add a box where you can enter title and author, etc. The boxes can be placed either to the right or to the left on the Write/Edit page. More Fields has an Easy to use interface for creating boxes with all the different input types you might need. Pros: easy to use. Cons: easy for someone to mess up or uninstall.
The second tool we reviewed was the Custom Meta Box code developed by Bill Erickson, Jared Atchison and Andrew Norcross. This open- source code allows you to build meta boxes into your theme. Pros: no plugin to install, harder for someone to mess it up after you’ve got it set ‘just right’. Cons: If you’re not comfortable editing your functions.php, this may be intimidating for you to work with. Bill however, has a great blog on his sites that walks you through the process.
Why do we care about Custom Meta Boxes? As WP Devs we sometimes need to make the Admin Dashboard “client-proof.”
By using the power of Custom Meta Boxes we can build a consistent content entry protocol into the backend. This will if not eliminate, at least minimize, the ways client entry can ‘stray’ from what is needed to build a reliable database query calls.