Custom Taxonomy Control for the Theme Customizer

Otto had a series of articles highlighting how to use the theme customizer in your WordPress themes instead of creating an options panel.

One of his articles covered making your own custom control and it inspired me to make a custom control for showing a certain taxonomy dropdown on the theme customizer. At first, I had just wanted this for the purpose of choosing from a dropdown of categories to use as featured posts in my theme. Then I thought it could really just as well be used for any taxonomy object. Behind the scenes, this control is using the wp_dropdown_categories function, which allows you to build a dropdown of categories (or any other registered taxonomy).

The code for the control really wasn’t bad. After actually implementing this and trying to use it, I found that my changes were not being saved. There is a data-customize-setting-link attribute that must be appended to your element. Below is the code from my functions.php file and the class being called by functions.php:

Extending Hide Inactive Sites Plugin

In my Hide Inactive Sites plugin I’ve added several filters to manipulate the data. You can modify the emails sent to the end users and edit the times available in the plugin settings. I thought it might be helpful to show how to change some of these that may want to do so.

Note: please never edit the plugin code directly! You are best off creating your own plugin or putting code in your theme’s functions.php file.

Let’s say that I want to warn my users that their site will be hidden if they haven’t updated it in 2 days. Well, by default, the plugin doesn’t offer you the option to warn in 2 days. It allows you to warn after 1 day of inactivity. One week is the next closest time to warn a user of inactivity. So, let’s add an option for “2 days”:

function add_inactivity_warning_threshold($inactivity_warning_thresholds){
    $inactivity_warning_thresholds[60*60*24*2] = __('2 Days');
    return $inactivity_warning_thresholds;
add_filter('hide-inactive-sites-manage-inactivity-warning-thresholds', 'add_inactivity_warning_threshold', 1, 1);

Ok, how about another example? Let’s edit the text sent in the email when a site is hidden:

function edit_hidden_email_message($message, $site_details){
    $message = '';
    $message .= '

Hey admin, your site is no longer available! You should probably have updated it more often!

'; $message .= ''; } add_filter('hide_inactive_sites_edit_site_hidden_message', 'edit_hidden_email_message', 1, 2);

Other Filters Available

Site Hidden Email

  • Edit list of email recipients: hide_inactive_sites_edit_site_hidden_to_emails
  • Edit email headers: hide_inactive_sites_edit_site_hidden_headers
  • Edit subject line: hide_inactive_sites_edit_site_hidden_subject
  • Edit message (used above): hide_inactive_sites_edit_site_hidden_message

Site Warning Email

  • Edit list of email recipients: hide_inactive_sites_edit_site_almost_hidden_to_emails
  • Edit email headers: hide_inactive_sites_edit_site_almost_hidden_headers
  • Edit subject line: hide_inactive_sites_edit_site_almost_hidden_subject
  • Edit message: hide_inactive_sites_edit_site_almost_hidden_message

Plugin Options

  • Edit update frequencies: hide-inactive-sites-manage-update-frequency
  • Edit inactivity thresholds: hide-inactive-sites-manage-inactivity-thresholds
  • Edit inactivity warning thresholds: hide-inactive-sites-manage-inactivity-warning-thresholds
  • Edit number of minimum posts: hide-inactive-sites-manage-min-posts

Allowing Editors to Clear the Cache using Quick Cache

I started using Quick Cache on a site recently and some of the publishers (setup as editors) wanted to be able to clear the cache manually to ensure their posts went live right away. So I wrote a quick script to handle that. I’ll probably release a plugin for this eventually, but for now…here’s the code:

function check_publish(){
    global $current_user, $post;
    $capability = 'publish_';
    // Check current post type...if we have one available
    if($post->post_type != ''){
        // Set the capability we are looking for to publish_s
        $capability .= $post->post_type . 's';
    } else {
        // Set the default capability to publish_posts
        $capability .= 'posts';
    // Check if the user has rights to publish a post
    return current_user_can($capability);
add_filter('ws_plugin__qcache_ms_user_can_see_admin_header_controls', 'check_publish');

This will include the Clear Cache button in the admin section of WordPress.

Update: I’ve released this plugin on

WordPress Workflow Plugin in the Works

As part of our migration to WordPress at work we needed some sort of workflow to check the pages before they go live. Sort of a last check to make sure the styling looks good.

When I first started this “holy grail” search, I evaluated a few plugins:

Edit Flow

Edit Flow seemed really robust, but it was meant more for new content. I needed something that would work with editing existing content, like pages. Edit Flow would allow you to change the status, but that would actually remove the page from your site, because it is no longer considered published…not what I wanted to do.

Post Revision Workflow

Post Revision Workflow seemed closer to what I was looking for. I felt it gave too many options to the end user. I wanted to decide who would receive notification, not let the end user decide. But I liked how it worked on the backend. Basically, after updating a post/page/or other custom post type it creates a revision in the posts table. If you saved it as a draft, this plugin would look at the revisions and re-publish the previous revision (the actual one you wanted to be live and not your draft).

My Solution

My solution, Approval Workflow, was highly influenced by Curtiss Grymala’s Post Revision Worfklow plugin. Approval Workflow allows you to set a group as the approvers. Note: this group must have publish permissions. The approvers get notified by email when someone has submitted something to the workflow. This works on WordPress Multisite too, but I’m using a custom plugin to manage the roles between sites. More on that topic here.

End Users

As an end user (someone without publish permissions), they have an option to Submit to Workflow that must be checked when saving the page. This triggers an email to all of the approvers notifying them a new page is ready to be reviewed. If the box is not checked when they save, it will make a new revision in the database and keep the published page the same as it was. When the user loads the page after updating, it will automatically show all of the draft copy they were just working on. Technical note: this was probably the most difficult part to figure out. I ended up hooking into the add_meta_boxes hook to update the post content before the page finished loading.


As for the approvers, they receive an email, but they also have a snazzy dashboard to view within WordPress. I couldn’t have put this dashboard page together without the help of WP Engineer for creating my own WP_List_Table. I’ll eventually expand this too, giving the ability to search, filter and maybe even some batch actions.

Comparing Revisions

I ended up using the built-in comparison feature that WordPress offers for the actual approval part of the process. When the approver restores a revision, it marks the page as no longer in the workflow.

What’s Left

I need to add a notification at the top of the page saying it hasn’t been submitted to the workflow yet, if it has some pending changes out there. I can see the users getting lost and forgetting to submit it to the workflow. I have to hide the site column from the dashboard if it’s been run on regular WordPress. Also, it needs a little more testing too, before I release it to the masses.

WordPress Options Class

I came up with an object-oriented way of working with my plugin’s options for my work projects.


So then all I have to do in my class is create an instance of this:
$options = new My_Plugin_Options('my_plugin_options_name');


It will store all of your plugin options in 1 record in the database as an array. You can easily access one of the options by doing this:


After updating all the options, we need to save them at once.

My Setup

I’ve created a folder inside wp-content/plugins for some code that I use on multiple plugins/themes at work. I don’t have the plugin declaration at the top of the main file, so it doesn’t get recognized as something needing activation. All I do is require the main file in my plugins and themes and that file includes the rest of my classes; the Options class being one of them. I’ve also created a couple classes for dealing with custom post types and taxonomies.

New WordPress Plugin: Hide Inactive Sites

At work, we setup a blog server back in 2009. One of our goals was to make sure if people weren’t keeping their blogs up-to-date their site would be hidden from the listing of blogs. Well, I finally took the time to work out an automated solution.

Introducing, Hide Inactive Sites; this baby is a blog server administrator’s dream come true!

It’s setup to be extendable. If you need to edit the query of blogs being returned, fine, change it using a filter. Need more time options or privacy options, done…add your own using hooks.

It slices, it dices, and it even hides your old, out-dated blogs.