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When to Use Drafts in WordPress

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In this session we discuss using drafts in WordPress when there is a big time difference between creating the drafts and publishing them. WordPress treats drafts entirely differently than published pages. We discuss using drafts in the context of when you are just starting to build your site and when you already have an established site. And we discuss how we set up our pages.

Video Transcript

Member:  And what I’d like to do is be able to create those tutorials in a sandbox type server environment and then be able to migrate them live when they’re ready. Is Backup Buddy what I should be using to do that then?

Rick:  No, Backup Buddy can’t do that for you. What I would do is… I mean, is there going to be a big time difference between when you’re creating the draft lesson page and when you’re going to actually publish it?

Member:  No, probably not and I think I might… by what you just said, I might have just answered my question. So I’d be working on new tutorial pages or whatever and just publish them as drafts and then put them up live when they’re ready to go.

Rick:  Yes now, you can’t build the site that way because WordPress treats drafts entirely differently than it treats other things. And I see beginners say, “Well, I don’t want this stuff to show up yet.” So they make all their pages drafts and then wonder why their site doesn’t work. And so you can’t do it to build the site. To build the site, you’re just going to have to create the pages and put content on it as you get it.

But once your site is up and you’ve got a new course and you’re going to add a new course and they’ve got lessons and those lessons have subpages and that kind of stuff, you can create all those as drafts. But then none of them will ever show up in a menu or you know, you really won’t be able to troubleshoot them or things like that if that has that kind of complexity to it. But yes, you can do it as a draft.

I mean, what we do here, we don’t really bother with that. What we do is we create the document first and then paste the document into the lesson page after we’re already certain it’s got everything in it that we want. So we create the lesson page and then we publish it immediately. And then we just start working our way through the process of posting videos. And so sometimes, people come on to a lesson and you know, parts 1, 2, and 3 have been published but parts 4, 5, and 6 aren’t there yet. And you know, that process, it can take an hour or more to actually publish a lesson once all the material’s gathered. So you know, sometimes, people just come across a not entirely finished lesson.

But I mean, that’s how we do it rather than bothering with the draft.

Member:  I see. So each lesson would just be like almost like a new blog post.

Rick:  Well, for us, each lesson is a new post. So I mean, we don’t use the blog for that. We use… we have custom post types for those things. And so if it’s a new course, for example, then each course has a main course page and then the lesson pages under that. And then each lesson has the video pages under that. So you know, there’s a whole hierarchy of custom post types that work together to create one of our courses. And when we’re publishing the next lesson, there is some period of time during that process where the lesson is partially published while we’re getting everything else together.

Now for us, one of the reasons why we don’t do the draft thing is because post ids aren’t finally assigned until after the thing is published. And we have stuff like… well let’s see, just come to the new class. The code that populates the recent videos… so for example, if we take a look at Lesson 8 of this most recent class, the code that populates the stuff here on the side, that code requires post ids in order for it to work. So we don’t know those post ids until after we publish them.

And also, the same thing is true for URLs. We edit our URLs while it’s being published and you don’t’ really have access to the full URL until it’s out of draft and it’s published or a ready to publish document. So it just doesn’t work for us to use that draft system for stuff like this.

Now for a post, if it’s just a standalone post, it’s easy enough, I suppose. But for this kind of publishing, there’s no staging. We just start to publish and then we keep on publishing until it’s finished.

Member:  Okay and it’s this kind of publishing I’ll need to figure out then. I understand exactly what you’re saying. Thanks.

Rick:  Okay.



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