I have a new project to add structured content to WordPress for a client. I also need to update many of my own websites, especially this WordPress support website. I’m marking the relaunch of Shrewdies.net with a re-invigorated Pods CMS project.
Now re-branded as Pods Framework, this WordPress plugin is completely different from the Pods of my earlier articles.
Pods CMS (Content Management System) for WordPress is now called “Pods – Custom Content Types and Fields” and described as:
a framework for creating, managing, and deploying customized content types and fields.
I’ve continued to use Pods as a way to add custom fields to posts and taxonomies. Today, I’m configuring Pods to administer new content types.
Custom WordPress Data Structures
I often compare standard WordPress to a word processor. As such, it is a basic Content Management System out of the box. In the office, we often use two dimensional tables to store data, spreadsheet style. There’s nothing in WordPress to match Excel, though it is easy to embed Google Sheets. For the ultimate in data management in Microsoft Office, we would turn to MS-Access. In WordPress, we turn to Pods.
For simple data storage, Pods is great for administering WordPress Custom Fields. It allows custom fields across most WordPress tables, including taxonomies and users. This allows us to enhance standard WordPress posts and pages in very sophisticated ways. However, Pods has two more levels that give us even more sophistication.
Deciding the best way to implement Pods is beyond the scope of this article. If you are familiar with database normalization, entities, and relationships, you will be happily surprised. Do not worry if you have little or no relational database experience. I have enough to spare.
I’m happy to advise on the best way to implement Pods, so you can focus on managing your data. In fact, the project I am working on uses Pods as a basis for complex problem solving. For some larger Pods installations, this new project might be useful for making the best choices. However, I’d soon be running round in circles if I tried to do that now. Instead, I’ll limit this article to an overview of the important early data storage issues. I’ll do more in-depth articles on different aspects of implementing Pods as they arise in future.
For my latest project, I need users to be able to add projects to a website, but I also want to retain standard WordPress posts and pages. If I merely extended Pages or Posts, I could still achieve my aim, but original editing pages could become cluttered with my extra fields. So as not to confuse users who will not be involved in projects, I choose ‘Create New’ instead of ‘Extend Existing’ in the Pods Admin – Add New screen.
Having made the right choice for the Pods Content Type, adding new fields is the same whether you create or extend. The fields you create will depend on the specific data you want to store in WordPress, and how you want to manage and display it. Pods uses a straightforward process to set this up.
I’ve enjoyed revisiting Pods in it’s latest version today. If you’ve been overwhelmed by its complexity in the past, I urge you to try it again. I will be bringing you more articles about the Pods WordPress plugin, as I implement new website applications, and improve WordPress usability.
If you need help on any aspect of Custom WordPress with Pods, please ask in my web hosting forum.