Wordpress Workbench

WordPress Workbench: Advanced Custom Fields

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Following up on Dave Davies article in the SEM Post last month; I thought I would spotlight some of my own favourite WordPress plugins. This time let’s look at the Advanced Custom Fields plugin by Elliot Condon.

So what are custom fields?

Basically what this plugin allows you to do is add addition inputs (fields) into your WordPress Theme, these can be added to both WordPress Posts and Pages which can allow a developer or webmaster to set up templates for contributors that gives them more options for their content, that’s also very simple to use and doesn’t involve mucking about with extra templates or scary PHP. A great example of this are “Hero” blocks, the big block of content at the top of some webpages. Using a custom field to create a Hero block allows you to customized the block for individual pages (say product categories), and even hide it altogether on others (like individual products) without affecting the same section on home page.

How it works.

Setting up a custom field is pretty easy, simply create a new field set in settings, set some condition logic (example: show this field on pages without sidebars that are not the Home page). From there it’s just a matter of adding a small bit of PHP to your page templates. For those a little wary of messing with PHP, don’t worry the documentation on the plugin site is excellent and there’s plenty of guides and short tutorials out there to get you started.
Like most plugins on WordPress, ACF comes in two flavours; a free version direct from WordPress.org and a Pro version from their website, as usual the Pro has more features and better on-line support. The Pro version cost about 20 bucks for a single website license (or 80 for a developer license), but includes a flexible content field for more layout options.
One last thing I should probably mention is WordPress.com users running a free site won’t be able to add ACF to their sites, as they can’t edit the PHP without going for a paid site.

 

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