WordPress has established itself as the go-to solution when it comes to creating a website or a blog. Thanks to the ease of use and user-friendly interface, anyone can create a beautiful website in a matter of a couple of hours.
WordPress nowadays powers a vast plethora of websites. They range from news or magazine websites to art portfolios, photoblogs, and even eCommerce sites. Because of its popularity and the ability to adapt to any niche, WordPress is often the preferred tool of the trade for developers and designers alike.
But, not all of us are developers or designers. And sometimes, you may need to take your website to a whole new level but lack the required coding skills and your budget is limited. Maybe you need custom post types and neatly defined user roles, but you have no idea where to start and terms like PHP and database might as well be a part of another language.
If you can recognize yourself in the above description, don’t worry. WordPress can still meet your needs and it doesn’t require you to learn any code whatsoever. As it’s often the case with WordPress, there is a plugin that can solve those problems for you.
Toolset: An Overview
Toolset is a set of plugins that simplifies the process of creating custom post types and custom views for those post types as well as creating custom layouts, adding submission forms on the front-end of your website, and so much more.
There are multiple plugins in the collection, and the most notable ones are as follows:
- Types: Types lets you define custom post types, taxonomies, and various other special fields.
- Views: Views let you modify the appearance of pages, lists, and widgets.
- Types Access: Types Access helps you to define different user roles with their own set of permissions.
- CRED: CRED allows you to create and edit content on your front page.
- Layouts: Layouts is a drag and drop tool that lets you design pages and templates for your website.
- Module Manager: Module Manager allows you to create a library of building blocks and reuse your designs on different websites.
- Google Maps: Toolset Maps lets you display anything on Google Maps.
You can also download a Toolset starter theme which gives you a basic foundation for your custom WordPress website. Once you install and activate the theme, you can use the Toolset plugins to add the rest of the content and functionality to your website. The theme is fully responsive and built on the Bootstrap framework.
In addition to that, if you are using WooCommerce on your website, Toolset also has a WooCommerce extension which lets you create custom views for your products on your website.
In short, Toolset is a set of powerful WordPress plugins developed especially to simplify things for regular users who need advanced features on their website but lack the necessary coding skills. A common example of when and where you would use Toolset is any situation where you have a need for a custom post type or a custom layout.
For example, have you ever wanted to add testimonials, portfolio projects, reviews, or any other custom post types and display them in a specific way? A potential solution is to use a category but that doesn’t really allow for much customization.
The other solution, of course, is to learn enough code to create the custom post type you need, display it the way you want, and style it. However, since we all want to make our lives simpler, that is not a viable solution either. In such cases, Toolset is exactly the plugin you need.
Let’s take a look at all the modules individually and see how they can help you.
Out of the box, WordPress comes with a set amount of post types which include a regular post, a page, an attachment, a revision post, and navigation menu. Since version 3.5 WordPress allows you to create custom post types outside of the default ones which can be used in different ways.
Toolset Types simplifies that process and lets you create your own custom post type without even touching the code and use that post each time you publish this type of content.
You can also apply a custom template to that particular post type only, allowing you to visually separate it from the rest of your content as well as create parent-child relationships between different content types.
In addition to that, Types lets you create custom taxonomies which work just like regular WordPress categories and tags, except they have their own custom name, according to the type of data they are storing.
With Views, you can display content on the site’s front-end, any way you like. You can display lists of content, design templates for content and design archive pages.
On top of that, you can create powerful custom searches for any content type which allow your visitors to find content according to fields, taxonomy, and relationship.
If you run a website which has multiple users and you need to have full control of user permissions, then Access can help you set those permissions. You can control what actions different roles and users can do when it comes to your blog posts and pages, the dashboard, and you can even disable certain admin screens completely from certain user roles.
CRED allows you to build front-end forms which can be used for creating and editing content and users. The forms include all the fields that belong to the content, displayed with your HTML styling. They also validate inputs and send email notifications when forms are submitted.
CRED forms allow you to create any type of site that requires front-end submission, such as sites for classifieds, directories, membership and more.
There are times when you need a custom layout which isn’t provided with your theme. Layouts’ drag and drop editor lets you design responsive layouts for entire pages, from the header, down to the footer.
Unfortunately, Layouts doesn’t work with all WordPress themes but the good news is that it is integrated with some of the most popular WordPress themes which include Avada, Cornerstone, Customizr, Divi, Genesis, Twenty Fifteen, and Twenty Sixteen.
If your theme isn’t on the list, you can still use Layouts by making a small change to your theme files or using their Starter theme.
Using Module Manager, you can create a library of building blocks, and then reuse them on a different website which is especially useful if you are running more than one website and want to duplicate the look and functionality.
Toolset Maps lets you display anything on Google Maps. It can display your location on your contact page or you can tweak it further to display a search result on a map. Any type of content can have address fields as well as your users, and any type of content can be displayed as markers on Google Maps.
The above overview should give you a good idea of what you can do with Toolset, but it’s worth mentioning that you can also access their sandbox service to get a hands on experience of using these tools.
Toolset also comes with very extensive documentation with user guides for each of the individual plugins.
Toolset plugin has two pricing options:
- One year of access to support and product updates: $149
- Lifetime access to support and product updates: $299
You can also purchase individual plugins from the Toolset package based on your needs.
Stay tuned for part two of our Toolset plugin review where we will take a closer look at creating custom post types, using Views, and creating a front-end submission form.