Pods WordPress Plugin

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The Pods WordPress plugin is driving me crazy.

Mad with admiration one minute, mad with frustration the next.

It’s like breaking your leg when you jump around to celebrate a lottery win. Fantastic find – frustrating failings.

Let me say first, that so far, I believe the potential of this plugin is tremendous. I’m just letting off a bit of steam here because the excitement of finding a truly great WordPress plugin is making me emotional about the rough edges. I am certain those rough edges can be easily smoothed. The proof of the pudding will come in a day or so, when I complete my replacement toolbar.

The developers describe it as:

WordPress evolved.
Pods is a CMS framework for WordPress.
It’s a plugin that sits on top of WordPress, allowing you to add and display your own content types.

I see it as a Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool that could change the way we look at plugins.

Why am I so pleased with this gem?

For months, I have been looking for an easy way to work with extra data tagged onto WordPress. With a background in relational database planning and management, it is frustrating to have to workround things like usermeta & WordPress options. Also, I like simple but comprehensive forms to manage linked data, and it is daunting to have to code a relational database application to integrate with WordPress.

I can see that it can be done. The forum [now moved to separate site] is a prime example of integrating a rich database application into WordPress, but it has a scary amount of code and complex field relationships, with little in the way of generic routines that can be adapted for other applications.

Other tools I have seen, only allow simple flat file manipulation, and would need a lot of adapting to tackle relationships. Enter Pods – an easy way to add relational tables as separate applications, or linked into WordPress users or posts. Amazing potential, and amazingly easy to use.

So what are the problems?

Not much if you are familiar with coding, and do not mind getting your hands dirty.

  • The user guide is very poor in examples, and I suspect some of it is out of date, as the plugin is still on a steep development curve.
  • The forum, and the guide, have been radically pruned recently, so just as you think you have found an answer to something – click – 404 not found!
  • Pods has a great way of attaching code to fields called helpers, but the names of these have been changed in the latest release, so many of the example packages do not work. However, it is very easy to find and replace on these, so very easy to fix – I’m just surprised it should be necessary.

So that’s a very brief introduction to Pods. I’ll go and finish the toolbar, then go through some code over the next few posts to show you just how easy it is to build an application. Early days yet, but I think this might be the answer to my nightmare about the lack of good, well-structured example plugins.

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