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WordPress design philosophy

Posted on 2013-06-26
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Last Modified: 2013-06-27
This question is a more general follow-up from 28140828 which answered a specific question about a plugin. As a WP novice, I have a stylistic question. When a plugin can be added to Menus as a post or as a Page using shortcode, what are the pros and cons of either method, e.g., adding a gallery? Are they both ultimately the same thing? For what kind of content is one preferable to the other?
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Question by:MarkJulie
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7 Comments
 
LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 39280300
Your question is a little unclear.  Are you asking about Pages vs. Posts vs. Custom Post Types vs. [something that gets brought in via a shortcode] and when to use what?
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Expert Comment

by:Vijay Pratap Singh
ID: 39280316
No both are not same thing if you use shortcode to add gallery in a post or page it will be readed as page and gallery will be embeded in it and you cant use that in sidebar at a particular position. While as a plugin it depend which plugin you are using will provide u more flexibity.
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:James Rodgers
ID: 39281269
you cant use that in sidebar at a particular position.

you can add shortcode to any side bar using the text widget, and adding
add_filter('widget_text', 'do_shortcode');

to you functions.php
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Author Comment

by:MarkJulie
ID: 39281453
jason1178,

To clarify, I am asking a design question. When I want to add new content, how do I decide between page or post (if a plugin or extension does not specify one method)?

1) What is the primary use of a page and when would I want to create a new page for content?

2) Aside from a blog, what is the purpose of a post and when is it best to use that format?

A number of plugins (contact, map, gallery, social media) seem to require setup like a post. It is not clear to me yet when to create a new page or whether a feature or plugin is designed to be added as a custom menu item.
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Assisted Solution

by:ScorchD
ScorchD earned 400 total points
ID: 39283204
Hi Mark,

When you are talking about plugins adding sections that appear as posts they are, if you think of any additional areas of the site such as a products section for example they are custom post types, so they can act in the same way as posts, have their own categories, taxonomies and page templates.

When to create a new page? well that depends on what you want to do, you can set rules within templates to react differently depending on the page, post type of area of the site you are in or you can denote different layouts for those post types by naming them accordingly.

In short you can do almost anything, in almost anyway you want to, personally I think it is best to keep it as simple and clean as possible especially when generating themes to sell. Page templates have their place and that's probably the best place to start as they are easy to understand.
As far as running shortcodes in templates that depends on what you need to do, sometimes if you need to pass the shortcode dynamic information you may want to write it in to your template files.

Hope this helps and makes some sense, think of it more like a blog centric cms.
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Accepted Solution

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Jason C. Levine earned 800 total points
ID: 39283231
To clarify, I am asking a design question. When I want to add new content, how do I decide between page or post (if a plugin or extension does not specify one method)?

Page vs. Post is easy.  Pages in WordPress are uncategorized, untagged, and intended to be somewhat permanent.  So your "About Company" content is a page as is "Contact Us" and others like that.  If the content is not going to change very often and requires no other hierarchy beyond parent-child, use a Page.

Posts are intended to be more flexible.  As ScorchD notes, they have taxonomy (categories and tags) and WordPress will automatically organize your posts into category and date archives provided your theme has the appropriate template files.  So the natural use for posts are for news-like content (blog entries, what's new with the company, etc) and the category/tagging function allows your users to take different pathways to get to the content.

Custom Post Types are basically the same as Posts except you can add your own taxonomy beyond mere category and tag and (as ScorchD noted) you can also have completely different templating.  Technically, posts between different categories can also have different templating due to the flexible nature of the WP template hierarchy but that's a can of worms best left alone for this discussion. Another advantage to CPTs are that they show up as separate objects on the backend which makes them easier to deal with and keep organized.
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Author Comment

by:MarkJulie
ID: 39283574
Thanks for the overview. Coming from a design product that put customization into static pages and used a clunky CMS for changing content, that helps me see how to approach learning WP.
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