One thing that WordPress doesn't have the ability to do "out-of-the-box" is do includes, in the sense of including the content of one post into the content of another post directly in the post editor. For the umpteenth time around here, shortcodes to the rescue!
Recently, WPRecipes posted an incredibly useful technique that uses a shortcode to add private content to blog posts. This functionality makes it easy to manage leftover data, miscellaneous notes and other communication by keeping everything together with its corresponding post. Consolidating information like this helps to streamline flow and organization into the future.
I had occasion the other day to run a shortcode inside of a text widget. You know shortcodes... we talk about them all the time. They are keywords in [square brackets] that do something special. Sometimes something really simple like returning a string (so you can have a global location to change that string) or something complicated like call a plugin that does something fancy like build a photo gallery.
I had the occasion yesterday to have a page with a section on it where it would output a very specific set of other pages, which would need to change dynamically. What I could have done is built a special page template for this page, and inside that template run a
query_posts() to get these posts. But I wanted this page to remain editable from the admin. Besides, creating a special page template every time you need to do something like this is too cumbersome. WordPress is extensible enough to do better.
Hence, the Custom Query Shortcode!
David Hollander of SparkWeb Interactive sent us in a little code clip for inserting Google Maps into Posts/Pages by the use of shortcodes. Google actually has copy-and-pastable iframe code already in Google Maps that is really easy to snag, but David was having problems with the Visual text editor screwing up the code when saving the Post. With a short code, no problem.
When you are building a theme, and the circumstance comes up where you need to create a link to a specific page hard-baked right into the theme, there is a function you should be using.
UPDATE: Make sure to take out "Take Two" on this concept, with a cleaner method for doing this.
Custom fields allow us to attach data to Posts or Pages that we can yank out and use at will in our templates. They are awesomely flexible and single-handedly allow WordPress to be used for about any CMS need. The fact that they can only be used on single Posts can be limiting in some circumstances. Sometimes you wish you could grab a custom value that you can control and is consistent globally, regardless of the current post. In this post we'll look at a technique to do so.