Today we are taking a look at the WordPress Creation Kit (WCK), a plugin by CozmosLabs, a team of developers based in Timișoara, Romania. WCK allows you to easily create custom post types, and custom taxonomies, as well as post templates and frontend submission forms for your WordPress site.
Although you can create these items with WordPress out of the box, this plugin gives you a visual editor to work with, saving you from having to edit code and theme files. This allows you to get the job done much faster, as well as reducing the risk of errors occurring whilst editing code.
If you need to create custom post types, custom fields and meta boxes, as well as frontend submission forms, and archive and single post templates, then the WordPress Creation Kit plugin could be just what you need.
Alternatively, if you want to know more about custom post types, taxonomies, and fields, then this article and will give you some examples and tips to help you get a better understanding of them, while we walk through the features of the plugin.
To find out if this plugin is for you, and if it has the potential to solve your problems and speed up your workflow, here is our WordPress Creation Kit review.
What is the WordPress Creation Kit plugin?
As mentioned this plugin allows you to work with custom post types, custom fields and other ways of organising your content. It’s has a few distinct modules which can be individually enabled or disabled as required.
We will cover the main modules in detail during this review, but to give you an idea of the scope of this product here are the main components of this plugin:
- Post Type Creator
- Taxonomy Creator
- Custom Fields Creator
- Frontend Posting
- Option Pages Creator
- Option Fields Creator
- Swift Templates
The above should give you some idea of what this plugin has been created to do, but to find out in more detail, here is our review of WCK, broken down into the individual components of the plugin.
Custom Post Type Creator
Many plugins and themes come with or make use of custom post types, which are usually modified versions of the regular WordPress post type. eCommerce plugins, such as WooCommerce, are a good example of this as they use a custom post type (usually) called ‘product’ to create and publish each of the products listed on a site or store.
One example where you might want to create a custom post type for your site would be if you were writing reviews. You could create a custom post type called ‘Reviews’ and then each time you write a new review, instead of doing it as a post or page in WordPress, you could use your newly created custom post type.
The advantage of doing this is that a custom post style can have its own layout and its own design; as well as its own categories and tags, or taxonomies as they are more properly known; they can also have their own custom fields for storing additional information. They also make displaying all your reviews in place easier, as you can choose to display all custom posts of a certain type on one page.
Creating custom post types by hand can be quite time consuming, as well as having the potential to be an error-prone activity. Having a quick and easy way to make them can come in very handy. This is where WCK comes in. One of the tools it includes is a Custom Post Type Creator.
With this tool you can create custom post types very easily. In fact it’s only a matter of filling in a few fields and check boxes and you are done.
Once you are done, you will see a new menu item added to the sidebar in the admin dashboard. This allows you to create and manage content using this new custom post type.
Custom Fields and Meta Box Creator
WCK also allows you to create custom fields and the meta boxes they are contained in. These can made available to any post types of your choosing.
Custom fields allow you to store structured data relating to your posts. For products, this could include data such as the price, or for reviews, it could contain information about the item being reviewed.
The process for creating a custom field includes first creating a meta box, which will hold the fields, and then creating the fields themselves.
Each meta box can have multiple custom fields. For example you could create a meta box called ‘product information’, with custom fields including price, weight, size, etc. The fields for entering the data can take many forms including:
- Check boxes
- WSYWIG editor
- Date picker
Tip: when creating checkboxes or types with multiple options that are separated by commas, remember not to include a trailing comma or there will be a blank item on the list.
Once you’ve created your meta box and the custom fields that will be displayed within it, the next time you create a post type associated with that meta box, you should see some more content on the ‘Add New Post’ page.
With WCK you can easily create repeater fields, which means the user can reuse a custom field multiple times on a single post, each time with different data stored in it. An example of this might be the materials used to build a product, with each material being listed in a separate instance of the materials custom field. The user could then keep entering and submitting the materials until they had input all of the relevant data for the product.
Again, WCK makes creating repeater custom fields, as well as repeater groups of fields very easy, with this being a feature that isn’t included in a lot of other plugins that allow you to create custom fields.
After you’ve created your custom fields, and then created a new post and entered data in those fields, you might get a surprise when viewing the published post. This is because data held in them won’t actually be displayed. This is due to the fact that the new fields have not been coded into the theme files that are used to display WordPress posts. This means that your theme doesn’t know that they exist or how to display them.
In order to display the data held in a custom post field, a new template will need to be created. Thankfully WCK includes a template builder which we will cover a bit further on in this article, before we first create some more important items for our new post types.
Creating Custom Taxonomies
WordPress Categories and tags are taxonomies. With WCK you can easily create custom categories and tags which can be applied to regular posts or your newly created custom post types. These taxonomies give you another option for categorising and organising your content.
Using the online store example again, you could create a custom category called ‘Product Type’ which is only available to posts created using the custom post type ‘Products’. Then when you create a new product, you can give it a product category, such as clothing, footwear, or whatever best describes your product.
Then when a user is browsing your store, they can click on a product category to view all the products of that type. As these custom taxonomies work independently of the regular WordPress tags and categories, you can still use those ones to organise your regular non-product related content, such as blog posts.
When it comes to creating these custom taxonomies, WCK once again makes it very easy. You can give your taxonomy a name and then assign which post types can use it. You can also choose whether to make them function like categories with a hierarchical structure with descendants, or in a flat structure like tags.
At this point you are only creating the taxonomy type, and not the individual tags or categories that are applied to the posts. Once the taxonomy type is created, they can be managed from the custom post type menu they have been attached to, which is in this case if the ‘Reviews’ custom post type.
From there you can create the categories/tags for that taxonomy type.
Then, when creating a new post, additional categories/tags can be created, or existing ones can be assigned to the post.
This allows you to better organise your custom post types, or the default post type, thanks to the ability to add additional ways to categorise the posts. It also gives you more options for displaying and filtering them on the frontend of your site.
Another feature of WCK is Swift Templates. This feature was alluded to earlier and it allows you to build WordPress templates without writing any PHP code. Even for PHP-proficient developers this can be a timesaver, but for the basic user it can be a lifesaver.
With Swift Templates you can create a template that can list all your custom post types, as well as the data from any custom fields or meta boxes you’ve created.
In addition to creating these archive templates that list multiple posts, you can also create single post templates that are used to display all the content from a single post, including any data from the custom fields we created earlier.
For example, if you’ve created a custom field that lists the size of a product, at the moment when you view that product post, that data won’t be displayed. By building a new post template that includes that field, that data will be displayed.
Also, if you’ve created a custom taxonomy, such as a category that is applied to all your reviews, let’s call it ‘Restaurant Reviews’, you can then use WCK to create a template that lists an archive for that category. This shows all the posts from that category, allowing your readers to browse them, and click through to any that appeal to them.
By using this template builder, you can avoid digging into the WordPress code and working with the WordPress loop, template hierarchy, and WP_Query. The templates can be built through your site’s admin dashboard, making the whole process a lot more intuitive and straightforward.
When it comes to creating a template, the process isn’t too complicated to get to grips with. Firstly give your template a name and then select which post type it will work with.
Next setup the query arguments. This is telling the template which posts of the previously defined type to display and how to present them. This can include things like posts by a certain author, from a particular category, or certain year. You can also set the order and what to order them by, such as date. You can view the supported WP_Query arguments here.
After the query arguments, it’s a case of creating the template which will determine which parts of the post (such as the title, content, custom fields, etc.) will be displayed on the page. There are two types of template that can be created: the single post template, or the archive page template which displays a number of posts of a certain type.
When creating the templates, you can simply copy the tags from the list of available variables into the editor area. Tags for any of the custom fields, or taxonomies will be listed allowing you to insert them into the template in the location of your choice.
Although you don’t need to write any PHP to create the template, you will need to be familiar with the variables and understand which part of the post content they refer to. Also, if you want the output from the templates to be formatted at all, you will have to add some HTML and CSS.
While the editor makes it easier to create a template for your new custom post types and their archive page, it’s still going to take some work to get them looking how you want them.
Another interesting task you can carry out with this plugin is to enable frontend posting on your WordPress site. This allows your or other users to create a post from the frontend of your site, without the need to login into the WordPress admin dashboard.
This has many practical applications including allowing visitors to your site to submit content, such as guest posts, or add any information or user generated content relevant to the topic of your site.
With WCK you can create the forms which allow users to submit content through the WordPress frontend. When creating the form, the tool allows you to choose which post type the content will be stored in, and which fields to add to the form, including any custom fields you might have created.
Some of the options include whether or not to allow anonymous posting, and whether to require admin approval before publishing a post or not.
After creating the form, it can then be embedded into a WordPress post or page using the shortcode.
Once a post has been submitted, it will be added to the backend of WordPress where it can be published, edited or deleted by a user with the admin or editor user role.
That about covers our guide to using the WordPress Creation Kit plugin. Read on to find out about the pricing options and our final thoughts on the plugin
There are three versions of the WordPress Creation Kit plugin available:
- Free version
- Hobbyist: $49
- Pro: $139
The version we have been looking at for this guide has been the pro version. You can see a comparison of the features of the different versions on this page.
Hopefully you’ve made it this far and have picked up some useful tips on creating custom post types, custom taxonomies, working with custom fields, creating page templates, and even adding frontend submission forms to your site.
By using the WordPress Creation Kit plugin you can simplify all of the above tasks, and create them through the WordPress admin dashboard area. The interface for this plugin has been built using the native WordPress UI, which creates a seamless user experience between the core functionality of WordPress and the tools added to your site with this plugin.
With three versions to choose from, including a free option, there is no reason not to use WCK to start experimenting with custom post types and taxonomies in order to better organise, manage, and present your content like we recently started doing with our deals section.
For the more experienced or adventurous users out there, then the pro features, such as the Swift Templates and frontend posting modules will be of interest to you.
If you want to start working with custom post types, custom fields and taxonomies, or you just want an easier way for working with them, then the WordPress Creation Kit plugin comes highly recommended.