This is the sixth in a series of live lessons on using WordPress and Thesis as a Content Management System (CMS). In this case study we are creating a community library website. In this lesson we discuss some of the issues around importing existing data. Some is saved as posts, some as taxonomies and some as custom post meta. Most of the custom post meta will be used for organization but at least one piece (Book subtitle) will be used as content.
Rick: We’re going to continue on to Part 5 of the Community Library Case Study project and we did some work on it this morning and then Pam felt like she needed to make some changes to that. And so, I’m going to go ahead and unmute her microphone and we’ll talk about those changes. If somebody does have a question that is completely unrelated to this, feel free to ask it and I’ll go ahead and stop and then answer that question and then start back up again. But anyway, good evening Pam.
Pam: Good evening Rick.
Rick: So tell me about how your thoughts developed over the day.
Pam: Let’s see, I followed along and made the custom price and the advanced labeling like you did this morning. I changed the name of… this is kind of trivial but I changed the name of the custom post from media to catalogue so that it would appear distinctively different… in the dashboard, you have books/media, that’s good too. Just want it to… media. I realized that when we are going to create the post then the title field is going to become the title too of the post and the books have a title and author along with the subtitle. And I realized that we wouldn’t want the whole thing to look like one long title so I split up the subtitle so that they could be pulled in in a smaller font and it won’t clutter up the page.
Rick: Okay and you know, that raises an interesting question about the type of data that we’re using for that then. You know, it’s easy to understand the title of the post and then the content of the post but you know, traditionally, in WordPress, we don’t have such thing as a subtitle of a post, right?
Rick: And so what this does then is this gives us an opportunity to look at another… essentially, another data type. This doesn’t have anything to do with organization, right? You’re not doing any kind of organizing around a subtitle and some posts are going to have them and some posts aren’t. And the whole you know, I mean there’s really no… they don’t serve an organizational purpose but their data that is captured… that you want reflected and so, even though it doesn’t really speak to the question of how to organize a site using the custom post and custom taxonomy, and even how to organize using post meta, it does actually speak to the question of how do you use existing data sources and convert them into useful elements in a WordPress site. And so, I don’t thin, either of us were planning on you know, at the very beginning of this process, either of us were really planning on that being a significant component. But I think that as…I think that that really is becoming a very important component of the project and it’s probably way more important than I have really thought about which is how to take an existing database whether it’s a csv file like this or it’s a you know, Excel spreadsheet or it’s an access database… how to take an existing set of data and use all of that data in a WordPress environment. And I think the answer to that question for the subtitle is we’re going to capture the subtitle and we’re going to use it as custom post meta. And we aren’t going to… and it’s not going to be any part of the organization, right?
Each one of these things that we created or that we you know, discussed earlier today… each one of these has to do with how the site is organized. But we’re going to create a piece of post meta that has nothing to do with how the site is organized and I think we’re going to call that subtitle. And then what we’ll do is we’ll not only capture the data when we convert the data into the WordPress environment but we’ll also take this custom post meta and we will display it in the post below the title so that the subtitle actually becomes an element that we have added to WordPress that WordPress doesn’t have. And so I think it’s an interesting innovation on the subjects or you know, on our project here because you know, at first, it seemed like you know, perhaps organizing the site was really the complex question. But I think, now that we’ve sort of got our minds wrapped around how the site’s organized, I actually think how we display the data and how we retrieve it so how we search for it and then how it is returned is really going to be interesting part of the project.
And probably will take you know, a fair bit of time for us to play around with it and in particular, you know, what does it look like when you’re searching for topics? Or let’s say that you know the ISBN number but you don’t know anything else. Or you think you know the title and the name but somebody gave you the ISBN number or somebody gave you the you know, the author’s name and the publication year but you don’t remember really what the title is. You know, how you take these different pieces of data and turn them into a you know, a cogent search for a… and then how you display that search back, whether it’s an individual, a book, or it is a collection of returned results. So and Brian is pointing out that of course, we haven’t talked about book reviews and we’re not going to forget about book reviews but I think what we’re going to do is get all the way through this conversation first because there’s no book review data here. Do you already have book reviews written?
Pam: No I don’t.
Rick: Okay. So we don’t have any data to import so that… once we get past data import, we’ll go on to the book reviews. We’ve obviously already created the post type for that. So we will end up linking and in fact, tonight, we’re going to still link some of these things to the book reviews. But we’ll probably end up creating more organizational data for book reviews as well in future lessons. So…