Swift Templates – a straight forward alternative to WordPress templates hell

I’m not a programmer… I do know some basic html and css, but I was nervous about messing with any of the templates in fear of making a bigger mess than where I started.

That’s a quote from one of our customers. We hear this quite a lot, not everybody is a developer. Most WordPress users just want something simple to understand and quick to get started with.

So you can’t help but wonder if the WordPress templates system couldn’t have been designed differently?

When you’re starting out it’s just painful. You would do anything BUT custom code your WordPress templates:

  • research 10+ plugins HOPING they can solve your problem
  • start using a lot of shortcodes inside the content area
  • consider reading that 5 parts HUGE article explaining how to custom code your own WordPress templates

You might even say, “Well, now that’s something you need to learn. Here’s the X or Y awesome tutorials on the matter!”

But the truth is, WordPress templates ARE complicated for a large number of WordPress users.
You’ll bump into:

As for learning about the WordPress templates system, all those articles and tutorials are just copying mechanisms. Just search Google for “develop WordPress theme” and you’ll find OVER 8 MILLION results!

Why does there have to be so many articles teaching you this? Should WordPress Templates really be so hard to understand?

Now imagine a system that will let you:

  • create listings of all your custom post types
  • single page templates that take into account your custom fields and metaboxes previously defined with WCK
  • without writing PHP and messing with any of the templates
  • no more playing around with a ton of shortcodes and plugins to list a simple custom post type or extra field.

Swift Templates beta for WordPress Creation Kit

swift_code
Swift Templates helps you build front-end templates directly from the WordPress admin UI, without writing a single line of PHP code.

It turns a time consuming and error prone process that was previously only accessible to developers into a straight forward UI that with a little bit of HTML and CSS allows you to:

  • create archive listings for your custom post types including pages or posts
  • modify the single cpt page template to include ALL your custom fields and metaboxes
  • overwrite the default listing for your all single CPT’s with the one defined above
  • overwrite the default content with a template that gives you access to your custom fields and metaboxes

How does it work?

There are two (2) main cases where you can use Swift Templates.

1. Archive listing of CPT’s

swift-templates

Useful for:

  • normal archive pages with your own design (not theme dependent). Just create your templates, create a normal page that will contain the archive and add the swift-template shortcode
  • simple listings of posts or custom post types in any landing page on your site
  • (using the swift-template shortcode). Create your templates, setup the arguments and put the swift-template shortcode

Quickly create templates for posts, pages or custom post types that can include default WordPress information (the title, content, thumbnail, etc.) or Custom Fields previously defined with WordPress Creation Kit.

You can create read-more links to point to a Swift dynamically generated single template OR the default permalink.

swift-templates-code

Also, another really useful function is the possibility to overwrite the default content on that post with the single template, thus applying that template for ALL default single listings of your custom post type.

2. Single page listing of CPT’s

swift_single_team_page

Useful for creating one off templates for pages or single posts / custom posts.

Let’s say you have a team page, with some extra fields for name, avatar and description. You can now overwrite the default page template with one that supports your extra fields available for that page only.

Why Beta?

In order to get this out to our customers we had to launch without some features that will make building WordPress custom templates even more … swift

Coming soon:

  • new pre-processed swift tags that will list ALL fields in a metabox with a default HTML and CSS – you’ll be able to make perfectly styled templates in under a minute.
  • swift tags support for custom taxonomies
  • search tag for archive templates (have a CPT called books.. this will let you search inside them)

Got you interested? Here’s how to get it

As of today, Swift Templates is available with the latest version of WordPress Creation Kit PRO.

For all previous WCK PRO and Lifetime clients, Swift Templates will be available via automatic updates or the account page.

What about WordPress templates?

Swift templates are NOT a 1 to 1 replacement to WordPress templates. That would be stupid! WordPress templates are complicated for a reason, there are a LOT of things to display in WordPress and that flexibility comes with a lot of complexity.

However, we’re hoping for Swift Templates in combination with the rest of WordPress Creation Kit to take you 80% there in 80% of cases. If we can achieve that, I’ll be one happy developer!

WCK Custom Fields API

Custom fields have revolutionized developing sites with WordPress and creating custom fields is becoming easier every day.

There are several plugins that simplify this task and make it easy for you to define custom fields and metaboxes with just a couple of clicks.

cfc_extra_fields

However, the pain starts when you try to display all this information in your templates. For this you’ll need to write code and you’re not really comfortable doing that.

You start by searching the Codex for functions that are supposed to make this tasks simple. But they’re not that straight forward, and after spending precious time trying to fit all the pieces together, you decide this process is too slow. You project needs to be finished yesterday!

So you bounce to using copy paste tutorials without actually understanding what they do. This sound easier, but it all falls apart when you realize you suddenly have some error handling and bug tracking to do.

Why does a simple thing, like getting information regarding images or users, need so many lines of code? Can’t it be simpler and more intuitive?

What if you could use simple to understand functions that give you what you want directly in your templates without extra work to process that information?

What if you could?

  • Save time by writing fewer lines of code (than using standard WordPress functions)
  • Avoid error handling and bugs that will eventually appear once more and more code is added
  • Get access directly to preprocessed data

Introducing WCK Custom Fields API

WCK Custom Fields API is meant to help you with just that. It consists of 3 easy to use, yet powerful functions that make it really easy to work with custom fields in your templates.

Let’s say you need to simply display a custom field in your theme.
With standard WordPress functions you’ll do something like this:

<?php 
$my_meta = get_post_meta( $post->ID, 'my_meta_name', true ); 
if( !empty( $my_meta[0]['field-name'] ) ) 
    echo 'Value:'.$my_meta[0]['field-name']; 
?>

Instead using WCK Custom Fields API, you’ll simply need one line of code:

 <?php the_cfc_field('my_meta_name', 'field-name'); ?>

*The function automatically detects the type of field and outputs values accordingly.


Things remain as simple even if you’re dealing with a repeater field, and need to output a specific entry (e.g. the second entry).
Instead of:

<?php
$my_meta = get_post_meta($post ->ID, 'my_meta_name', true);
if (!empty($my_meta[1]['field_name'])) {
    echo $my_meta[1]['field_name'];
}
?>

You’ll have:

 <?php the_cfc_field('my_meta_name','field_name', false, 1); ?>

*The 1 at the end, tells which entry to display (index starts at 0).

For frequently used fields like Image Upload, User Select or Custom Post Type Select(for relationships between posts), things become even more complicated with standard functions.

Let’s say you want to display the avatar image from a metabox:

<?php
$my_meta = get_post_meta( $post -> ID, 'my_meta_name', true);
if (!empty($my_meta[0]['avatar'])){
    $src = wp_get_attachment_image_src( $my_meta[0]['avatar'], 'full' );
    echo '<img src="'.$src[0].'" width="'. $src[1].'" height="'.$src[2].'"/>';
}
?>

Using the Custom Fields API this will simply be:

 <img src="<?php the_cfc_field('my_meta_name', 'avatar'); ?>" />

*The API function will automatically process and return only the URL.

You can also forget about error handling, no extra verifications being necessary when using the API functions.

This was just a quick glimpse of what can be achieved using the new WCK Custom Fields API. For mode details and code examples have a look at our documentation page.

Eliminate User Registration Spam from your WordPress Membership Site with Profile Builder

User Registration Spam is becoming an important concern for many of the WordPress membership site owners. If your WordPress site is set to allow user registration, then it’s probably vulnerable to user registration spam from spam-bots.

Enable WordPress User Registration

But, as we all know, user registration is a must have for any community or membership website. It’s what keeps the site alive and kicking and can also be an important source of revenue.
That’s why shutting down WordPress user registration is not an option for these types of sites.
But if you ever had to go through all the stress of deleting tens or even hundreds of users every day, you probably know that keeping your user list clean can be a big pain.

We built Profile Builder because we were convinced that WordPress user registration can be done better. Profile Builder, or “WordPress Registration Done Right” as we like to call it, is a plugin meant to pimp your site’s user registration by adding front-end registration, profile and login forms.

Since spam was also a recurring problem amongst Profile Builder’s users, we built into the plugin some cool features that will help you get rid of Spam once and for all.

Here are four features from Profile Builder PRO that will help you kiss Spam goodbye:

Read more

WordPress Testimonial Page Template with WCK

Having testimonials displayed on your client’s website is a always a nice bonus, and helps to highlight the brand’s personality and keep up with its audience.

The scope of this tutorial is to build a WordPress Testimonial Page Template with the help of WCK – Custom Fields and Post Type Creator plugin.

How you choose to do this is a matter of preference. You can opt for one of these options:

  • choose from a list of plugins that make only testimonials
  • you can also use Custom Post Types, that attaches your testimonials to a particular page
  • or, our very own favorite, choose to get your hands on by using Custom Fields that are attached to a certain Page Template.

A WordPress Testimonial Page Template with WCK

For us, the most flexible and intuitive way to create a WordPress Testimonial Page is by using Custom Fields and create our own Page Template.  We’ll use the WCK – Custom Fields Creator to speed things up.

Read more

WCK 1.1.0 is now alive and kicking!

Want to build a bullet proof, content adding interface for your clients, dead simple to use?

wck_custom_fields

WordPress Creation Kit helps YOU to improve the usability of the sited you build, making them manageable by your clients. Your very own repeater custom fields and groups, custom post type and taxonomy creator with front-end posting.

On WCK powered websites, clients will be able to easily enter their content without getting confused by shortcodes, html and who knows what else, because the UI will look and feel like it’s part of WordPress.

What’s new?

  • Options Page Creator – you to create new admin menu items called “Client Site Options” which can hold advanced custom field groups (just like any other edit page).
  • More extra-field types: Date, User Select, Country Select.
  • Automatic Updates via the WordPress Plugins interface.
  • Quite a few bugfixes and small improvements.
  • Multiple versions at different pricing points. (We have a Pro and Hobbyist version available now)

plans_pricing

Give Clients the Power to Self-Manage and Update Their WordPress Sites

UPDATE: WordPress Creation Kit 1.1.0 is now available for download

To developers, the WordPress admin interface is really simple and intuitive, particularly considering the amount of trouble we go through to make things behave like they should.

I found out a lot of clients that were excited about having their own self-powered CMS, freaked out when trying to change a piece of content or simply weren’t using it at all. It still wasn’t easy or intuitive enough.

Three things that make it hard for non-technical clients to update their site

  • using HTML with different classes in the content editor. Sooner or later they are just going to forget a closing tag, break the site and that means an email or phone-call when you were in the middle of a really cool project and didn’t want to be interrupted.
  • using various plugins with settings with settings all over the place. They’re gona forget to change something and that’s coming back to you.
  • shortcodes – I know what you’re thinking, they are actually useful, but not if they forget the shortcode name or what parameters to use. Also, shortcodes get intertwined with content in the editor and that’s like using HTML, only a little bit easier.

Now imagine having a single place where your client can edit exactly what he needs: a couple of testimonials, update their logo or favicon, changing the copyright footer text, managing the slideshow on the homepage or give them some textareas where to insert their ads.

Welcome Options Page Creator – a new feature coming soon in WCK

options_page

The Options Page Creator Allows you to create a new menu item called “Client Site Options” which can hold advanced custom field groups (just like any other edit page). You can register multiple options pages with multiple meta-boxes and repeater fields.

Perfect for:

  • Theme Settings
  • Mini plugins that need an UI
  • Advertising zones
  • Small content pieces that don’t deserve a Custom Post Type just for them (mini-testimonials, widget like zones, etc.)

A new WordPress Creation Kit is coming June 13*

Building a bullet proof, content adding interface for your clients will get a lot easier.

WordPress Creation Kit helps YOU to improve the usability of the sited you build, making them manageable by your clients. Your very own repeater custom fields and groups, custom post type and taxonomy creator with front-end posting.

  • Custom Post Type Creator
  • Custom Fields Creator
  • Custom Taxonomy Creator
  • Front-End Posting
  • Options Page Creator

Hop on the list if you want first dibs and some more freebies from the launch day:



Fixed and Improved WordPress User Listing

We have some good news for our WordPress User Listing feature from Profile Builder Pro!

Yes, as the title says it, we have fixed quite a few bugs on the WordPress User Listing feature.

Thanks to you, we received lots of feedback and there were a lot of edge case scenarios that broke the functionality.  This feature was rebuilt from scratch, now being a lot more stable and working as it was supposed to.

To get access to the latest Profile Builder Pro version please visit your account page, or wait top 12 hours for the automatic update to arrive to your WordPress installation.

As you know, this feature was created for you to ease the process of listing your registered users, and customize that list by your own preferences.

Writing your own html code for the front-end WordPress user listing design, can be done in the back-end, where you have two text areas to be completed: the one for the “all-userlisting’, and the one for the ‘single-userlisting’.

screenshot9

The User Listing feature allows you to list users with only certain roles, to list users only with a certain meta-field/meta-value combination, to list only users who want their profile to be viewable by others or to list any a combination of the last three mentioned.

That’s pretty much of it, if you have any problem, or any other suggestion, please let us now, by asking in the forum section, or send an email to our colleague gabriel[at]cozmoslabs.com.

WordPress Login and Registration with Email

Do you have users that would like to Log In and Register into your WordPress site by email? Knowing what a hurdle can be reminding a username, Profile Builder comes with a new feature to fix that issue.

Reckoning that an email address is unique and more personal than just a random user name and since we all want happy users, as owner of your WordPress site, you can make it easier for your users to Log In and register , by enabling this feature on your site.

To activate the Log In with email feature of the Profile Builder, you just have to download,install and activate the plugin, if you don’t already have it.

As admin of your WordPress site, you have to enter the Dashboard menu, and select the Users field, and the Profile Builder subfield.

Now just go to the ‘General Settings’ field and all you have to do is to select from the tab the ‘Allow Users to Log In with email” choice.

login with email

And that’s it. What’s left is letting your users be aware of the availability of the new option.

If it happens for you to be  an existing client of Profile Builder Pro you’ll automatically have access to the new feature via Automatic Updates or you can download the latest version via the Account Page.

WordPress Email Confirmation for New Users

WordPress Email Confirmation for new users has been around in Profile Builder for quite some time, however something was missing from it.

What do I do if the confirmation email doesn’t send? Is there a way to force activate it?

Since new users that didn’t approve their emails are stored in the wp_signups database table, they don’t appear in All Users section. That’s how WordPress Email Confirmation works.

That turns into a problem when:

  • the user deletes the WordPress confirmation email before activating his account
  • the confirmation email end up in the spam folder
  • the email doesn’t get sent at all due to a server error

When the above happens, there are three problems that appear:

  • the user can’t approve his account
  • the user can’t try to register again with the same email or user name (since WordPress is still waiting for the previous account to approve his registration)
  • the admin can only delete the un-confirmed email from the database and can’t manually approve the account

Imagine having the possibility to manually approve users or delete fake accounts from wp_signups table

WordPress Email Confirmation

Starting with version 1.3.4 of Profile Builder (Pro and Hobbyist versions), the WordPress Email Confirmation just got better by giving you the possibility, as an admin, to manually approve or delete users that haven’t confirmed their email addresses directly from the WordPress backend.

To do so, just go to Users -> All Users and click the “Users with Unconfirmed Email Address” link. That’s it folks!

WordPress User Registration Plugin

Not sure what’s the right WordPress User Registration Plugin for you to use on your project?

Going through all the WordPress User Registration plugins can be disorienting. You probably spent hours and hours searching for plugins and tutorials to help you with your project and you’re still as confused as when you started. Imagine finding the best one to use for your project without loosing hours testing them all out. You can them spend all that saved time relaxed knowing what’s needed for your project.

In this Part 2 of the WordPress User Registration Series we’ll go through what makes a good WordPress User Registration Plugin, what you can achieve without coding and why using a registration plugin is a good idea.

Read more