Ins and Outs of the WordPress Database

For many, the WP database is thing that gets created when we set up WP and then forgotten until it fails. This program will try to empower you to leverage the database to create and maintain a more powerful, efficient WP site. 

We will briefly cover a few things you should be doing to keep it working properly – backup, import, export, cleanup and optimization. 

We will take a quick look at the WP database structure. Then we will look at some ideas for enhancements and show a few demos, including one with 50k users and another that draws pretty pictures directly from the database. 

Finally, we will look at a few tools to help you connect with the data.

Presented by Sonja London, meetup member and big data expert extraordinaire.

Customizing the WordPress Admin for Your Clients

When do you decide to customize the WordPress admin to make it easier for people to use? For most basic tasks, it’s easier and cheaper to teach a person to do the right thing – but in some cases, it’s worth the expense to create tools and customize the interface to make it harder for people to do the wrong thing.

Anca Mosoiu, WordPress developer and owner of Tech Liminal, will share techniques and demo the custom administrative interface created for Social Media Week (, a WordPress application used to market, organize, schedule, and run four 1-week, international conferences each year. supports thousands of events and hundreds of thousands of attendees each year, including submitting an event for consideration into a conference, world-wide scheduling, a registration system, and much, much more. 

Adam LaBarge, lead WP developer at HyperArts, tries his best to make the WP back-end as bullet proof and simple to use as possible. 

Adam works mainly in Genesis and uses ACF for customizing the WP Admin, but will also address custom meta boxes, custom save_post hook development, dashboard widgets, widgets, plugins, and option screens, along with heavy modification of the WP Admin sidebar menu.

If you’ve customized the admin for your clients–through roles, plugins, admin themes, or any other method–we want to hear about it.

The meetup is now part of the O’Reilly Partners Program, which means that members get discounts on their e-books, and some other perks. I’ll send a separate message about that. 

I’m also looking into lining up a sponsor to provide pizza, swag, and the opportunity to win a product license. Details will be posted on the site when I have them.

April 2015 Slides: Advanced Custom Fields

What can you do with Advanced Custom Fields Pro? An awful lot, but not quite everything.

It’s definitely worth the $100 for the developer license for the Flexible Content Field, Repeater Field, and Gallery Field, but remember that custom fields don’t replace custom post types and that you can’t search on custom fields.

ACF is definitely a tool for developers: the fields won’t display if you don’t add code to your template, and the layouts don’t style themselves. (Plus those gallery tutorials require jQuery.)

There’s an ACF Demo Site to go with Sallie’s presentation.

Included in the ACF Presentation/Demo Site

  • Creating ACF Field Groups and Displaying Fields
  • Using Repeater Fields in a Portfolio
  • Creating Sliders and Galleries with the ACF Pro Gallery Field
  • Building Page Layouts with Flexible Content Fields
  • Building Page Layouts without Flexible Content Fields
  • Replacing the Header Right Widget Text
  • Displaying ACF Field Keys
  • Using ACF for Front-end Posting

Don’t forget to look at the handout for links to the tutorials used to create this presentation.

More ACF

In addition, Anca Mosoiu demonstrated exporting ACF Field Groups to PHP (in order to keep clients from editing the field groups) and to XML (for import into new WordPress installs). You can also export field groups as .json files so that you can re-use them on other sites.

Anca also showed us the amazing proliferation of post_meta database rows when one uses ACF. On the wine database site she’s building, there are 2211 posts…and 187,000 post_meta rows.

April 2015 Meetup Handout: ACF and ACF Pro Links

Here are the links I found while preparing for the April 2015 Meetup on Advanced Custom Fields and ACF Pro.

I used some of these tutorials to create the demo site, but have not had a chance to follow up on all of them.

Note that tutorials on Sridhar Katakam’s site require a paid subscription. It’s only $10/month and totally worth it if you develop for the Genesis Framework.

General ACF and ACF Pro Tutorials

ACF Pro Gallery, Slideshow and Content Slider Tutorials

ACF Pro Page Template/Layout Tutorials

ACF Videos

Advanced Custom Fields: Amazing Possibilities and Irritating Limitations

There are many ways to use Advanced Custom Fields. I have a colleague who uses it for practically everything, in order to make content entry easier for his clients. You can also use it to create front-end forms. In fact, you can use it to do cool things like making drag-and-drop hero image, text-image, and image-text sections on your home page.

(Is that cool or what?)

So what’s not to like? The problem with custom fields (rather than ACF specifically) is that they are stored as post meta. That makes the content of custom fields hard to separate from the posts (pages, CPTs) that they are attached to. 

If you have worked with ACF or ACF Pro and would like to share some of your most interesting applications or biggest frustrations, post a comment here or email me. I’m still just discovering the possibilities and limitations.