Today I’m proud to announce the release of WP Advanced Search, a project I’ve been working on at Growth Spark for the past six months. WP Advanced Search makes it easy to incorporate content filtering and advanced search functionality into any WordPress-powered website.
By utilizing simple PHP conventions, you can create forms that search a site’s content by any number of parameters, including: categories, custom taxonomies, publication date, meta keys, author, etc.
You can grab the code on GitHub, or head over to wpadvancedsearch.com for installation instructions & full documentation.
If you’re a WordPress developer who uses Advanced Custom Fields regularly, you may have taken advantage of the plugin’s built-in exporting utilities which allow you to easily export your fields as either XML or PHP. The latter method (PHP) can be highly useful for a number of purposes, such as packaging fields into commercial themes or creating a streamlined deployment process.
While ACF’s export utility is highly useful, however, I found myself becoming frustrated with needing to constantly copy + paste my exported PHP into a file every time I needed to update my code. I began to wonder: How might I be able to automate this process to make it virtually effortless?
Well, I’m happy to say that after poking around in ACF’s native exporting utility I was able to devise the exact solution I was looking for: a way to make Advanced Custom Fields automatically export all fields to a PHP file every time I save. Check out the details below!
Those who know me or have seen me speak at WordCamps know that Advanced Custom Fields is my all-time favorite WordPress plugin. The speed with which you can build robust custom options panels via this plugin is absolutely unrivaled, and as a result it’s become one of my primary tools for building highly customized & user-friendly interfaces within WordPress. I’ve used the plugin on countless projects and have had amazing success with it. Despite the plugin’s many advantages, however, there is a substantial risk associated with using it if you do not have exclusive control over the management of a website’s plugins.
A lot of sites I’ve developed have front-end components that rely heavily on data stored by Advanced Custom Fields. I do this to make customizing the website as easy as possible for end-users, but this comes with a rather large risk: If Advanced Custom Fields ever becomes deactivated or removed by accident, the website could start functioning improperly or (at worst) cease to work altogether. This is because WordPress can only understand how to use ACF’s functions if the plugin is enabled. Without ACF enabled, functions such as the_field() and get_field() have no meaning and will either cause the site to throw a Fatal Error, or display incomplete pages.
I realized that this was an unacceptable risk to be taking with my clients’ websites, but I still very much wanted the convenience of using this amazing plugin. Fortunately, the solution turns out to be rather simple: All we need to do is use “wrapper functions” to provide fallbacks for our data in the event that ACF is not active.
If you develop WordPress websites as frequently as I do, you probably find yourself using a core set of go-to plugins for almost every project you take on. And If any of these plugins are of “premium” or “commerical” variety, you’ll usually be faced with the repetitive task of entering in their license keys each and every time you want to set up a new website.
For a while I would circumvent this task by cloning a pre-existing database in order to carry over all settings (including my license keys), but I ultimately found that it required more effort than it’s worth. What I really wanted was a way to register all of my premium plugins and extensions automatically whenever I set up a new WordPress installation, without needing to use a pre-existing database.
I was pleased to find that this is in fact really easy to accomplish, simply by hard-coding license keys into the wp-config file of the WordPress installation. In this post I will outline exactly how you can take advantage of this technique on your own websites.
Below is the full set of slides from my talk at WordCamp Boston 2012. The presentation outlines key techniques for creating a more user-friendly admin experience for clients by 1) removing unnecessary features 2) and tailoring the platform to their specific needs.
After the presentation I could tell these issues really struck a cord with many people by the sheer amount of positive feedback I received. I strongly believe this topic is something that will be drawing an increasing amount of attention in the coming years, especially as more businesses turn to WordPress for purposes other than blogging. Thank you to all who came out to listen & learn!
Attendees: Did You Enjoy this Presentation? Please take a moment to rate me at SpeakerRate: http://speakerrate.com/talks/13521-don-t-make-them-think-improving-usability-in-the-wordpress-admin
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