WordPress is great for blogs and magazine sites, but it’s not really intended for complex and interactive sites. Or is it?
Let’s suppose you run a successful business and want to add customer testimonials to your site. One way is to edit different pages, like the homepage, and manually type-in the testimonials inside the page content. That’s going to be easy to do, but difficult to maintain. Any time you get a new testimonial (hopefully, frequently enough), you’ll need to edit the homepage again and add it. If you want some testimonials to show on different pages, you’ll have to repeat the process. You’ll probably give up doing this pretty soon.
Another, better, way to show testimonials is by using custom types and displaying them systematically. You should create a new type for ‘testimonial’ and enter new testimonials there, as they come in. To display them, you’ll need to build a ‘testimonials’ content block and display it inside pages.
Types and Views define and display custom content.
Types lets you define new content types. You can create content types with different fields, to match the data you’re holding. In the ‘testimonial’ example, we’ll probably include a title, body and information about who submitted it. We might also connect testimonials to products or services. In WordPress, you use taxonomy to organize content and you can set it up using Types.
Views displays whatever you want, anywhere you want, in whatever form you choose. Views’ query engine loads content from the database. Filters will help you load the exact content, based on fields, hierarchy or keywords. Then, the View runs through the content and displays it, using simple HTML templates.
To display ‘testimonials’, we’ll tell the View to load ‘testimonial’ items. We’ll probably enable pagination, to limit the number of results and let visitors scroll through them. We can also filter by ‘service-type’ to load testimonials for a certain service. Then, we insert the newly created Testimonials view into pages and our customer testimonials magically appear. When we receive new testimonials, we add them once and they automatically appear in the right places in the site.
WordPress developers have been building this kind of functionality themselves, often as part of theme functions. In fact, there are over 2000 WordPress themes, in ThemeForest alone, boasting elements such as sliders, e-commerce, grids and column layout. The problem is, if you choose a theme for its brilliant visuals you’re limited to its intended functionality.
Types and Views let site developers separate between the graphics design and functionality. You can choose any theme for its appearance and build the functionality yourself. Granted, it’s a bit more work than getting everything built and ready, but it’s also a lot more flexible.
Creating your own functionality with Types and Views is somewhere in the middle between using pre-made templates and writing code from scratch. You need to decide which content types to create, how they connect to each other and how to display them. But, to set it all up, there’s no coding. Everyone, with basic site-design skills can create fully customized websites without writing a single line of code or learning the (complex) WordPress API.
Types and Views let you build anything, from a simple ‘testimonials’ block to complete sites. You can create sliders, grids, tables and any other content display. There are complete tutorials on their site’s Learn section.
You can download complete reference designs for a magazine, real estate and even e-commerce sites and follow the online tutorials to learn how to build such sites yourself.
For more information, visit Types and Views site.