I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head since the last update to Hierarchy, and I’ve just now realized that was almost four years ago to the day. The origin of the idea however roots itself nearly three years before that. It turns out I am old and this idea is
old well baked in my head.
I’ve been using WordPress for a long time, I’ve built more sites than I can count, and I’ve built many plugins as well. Of course there are things that I feel can be improved but that’s part of the reason I use it. WordPress as a platform itself and plugin ecosystem so tightly integrated with it makes the opportunities for changing those annoyances a reality.
WordPress has always been a leader in the content management space. It starts many trends, it has established a number of conventions we take for granted now, it has pushed online publishing forward. In recent years (and especially in recent months) it has continued to do that, which is both exciting and a bit nerve racking if I’m honest.
Needless to say, the WordPress landscape is changing quite a bit right now,
<sarcasm> so what better time to launch a brand new product?
After having built many sites for clients I was always irked at the way Custom Post Types just kind of hung out in the Admin Menu all alone. This is perhaps best illustrated by examining the relationship between Pages and Posts.
Pages establish the overall structure of your site. There’s a setting to define a Page for your Posts, allowing you to easily control what URL displays those Posts. The weird part is you end up with a Blog Page for your Posts that shows up in your Pages listing, and despite your Blog page being listed right there, calling out that it’s for your Posts, you need to use a totally separate area of the WordPress Admin to manage that content.
This issue is further complicated when considering a more advanced site that takes advantage of what Custom Post Types have to offer. It’s a disjointed experience for clients to work this way.
Walking clients through the experience of managing some content here and other content there proved time and again to be confusing and disorienting. That confusion gave way to Hierarchy, which does its job well. Working with Hierarchy was a bit challenging, however, as it required some developer knowledge.
OrganizeWP saves time and frustration
Because of this underlying confusion for clients (and for myself) Hierarchy always did a great job for me, but I wanted to make sure other developers, their clients, and other site owners were able to benefit from a rethinking of what the editing process can be before you reach the edit screen.
OrganizeWP picks up where Hierarchy left off and adds a number of features that make content editing less frustrating and time consuming.
- The entire outline is drag-and-drop enabled
- Instantly search all of your content, regardless of post type
- Filter by Post Status
- Custom Post Types can be positioned to match their position on the front end
- Related actions for each entry are available when hovering
- Standalone pages can be relocated into their own groups for easier management
- Custom Post Type and Custom Taxonomy management built in
OrganizeWP took what Hierarchy started and added a number of things to make it the one plugin you’d need to better facilitate content management in WordPress. Check out a two minute overview here:
I’m really pleased with how it came out, and hope others find it equally useful!
Some of the details
I’ve been thinking about OrganizeWP for the past few years (not kidding) since releasing Hierarchy 1.0 and had a lot of ideas about what I’d like it to be. Perhaps the biggest thing I wanted to do was make the entire thing powered drag-and-drop.
One of the core tenants of OrganizeWP carries the torch of Hierarchy in that you can be a bit clever when registering CPT slugs so as to ‘nest’ them as children of parent Pages. I took full advantage of this when building sites for clients and I wanted to bring that front and center by enabling the ability to drag and drop a Custom Post Type within the outline.
From there came the need to build in post type and taxonomy registration, and I had ideas about how to make that more streamlined/automated so OrganizeWP does that as well.
The last ‘big thing’ I wanted to implement was landing page management. Nearly every client site I’ve built has needed multiple landing pages to help with marketing. These landing pages quickly littered up both the core Pages screen and Hierarchy. OrganizeWP solves that problem by giving you a sidebar where you can group standalone pages according to what works best for you. That way they’re still utilizing top level URLs (which is the drawback to putting landing pages in a CPT) but they’re not cluttering up your main site structure at all.
The building process
OrganizeWP took about three months to build from first commit to launch. I wasn’t working on it full time has I’m still actively working on SearchWP as well, but it took significant time and effort. This came after having ideas rolling around in my head for a number of years, and having built an earlier version of the product as well.
I continued my exploration into all things Vue and it was a pleasure to work with the whole time. WordPress core has latched on to React in the form of Gutenberg, and it might seem silly to have chosen to use Vue instead, but I very much enjoy working with Vue. Learning new things about Vue and how to best utilize it made the development experience awesome, albeit frustrating (due to my ignorance of what I was trying to do) at times.
The process of building it followed how it usually goes for me. I started with a really light sketch using paper and pencil, then moved straight into development. Because it was a lot of unfamiliar territory I wanted to best utilize existing Vue components where possible which can help to push the design process along. I wouldn’t call it designing in the browser but maybe it is. I’d make progress, come up with more ideas, and as those are built out come up with more ideas.
I can’t wait to start narrowing down the list of features for the next version, there’s so much that can be done. I’m also excited to see what other people think of OrganizeWP!