Raivo Laanemets. Software consultant.

Two Powerful Wordpress Plugins

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Whenever I work on a site built on top of Wordpress I try to make sure I use the best plugins available for a given task (without breaking other plugins, Wordpress itself, and the web server). Today I worked on a site that is not so blog-like and for such types of sites a generic CMS might be more optimal.

I found two plugins that bring Wordpress much closer to a generic CMS engine. One of them, Options Framework, enables different types of options for the Wordpress options panel. The built-in support for options in Wordpress only allows for very simple controls (simple text inputs, unless you write lots of code for option editors). With the Options Framework, one can add checkboxes, select boxes, radio buttons, rich text snippets, images (supports the Media Gallery!) and other specialized types of options.

The other plugin, Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), does the same as the first plugin but for custom fields on posts. For my use case, I needed to associate two images and a link with a custom post type. Wordpress has built-in solution, but as for the options, it only supports very limited set of controls.

Both plugins can be embedded into a theme and configured programmatically without using verbose amounts of code. Options Framework comes with the premium Options Kit which contains many examples about its usage. ACF comes with a number of premium add-ons. One of them, the Options Page, could replace the Options Framework but I did not try it.

However, I wish such functionality was built directly into Wordpress. It would make life much easier for people who setup and use Wordpress as a CMS.


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