Here at interconnect/it we have a policy of developing client sites with the premise of “content manage everything!” That means the little notices on sites, minor widgets and so on should not only be content managed, but they should be easy for both an end-user and a developer to work with.
To that end, we developed Spots. This creates a custom post type that allows you to create widgets using a visual editor, whilst also giving developers an easy hook for the creation of content managable elements within a theme.
The plugin now uses caching in order to help ensure that the load on a typical site is kept to a minimum. Performance is important!
The plugin is prepared for translation, if you’d like to drop us a line about your translation you can contact us through our website.
Spots provides 2 template tags for developers to use shown below with their supported arguments.
icit_spot( $id_or_name, $template );
$id_or_name: Required. A numeric ID or the name of a spot as a string.
$template: Optional. A string used in a call to
This template tag always echos out the spot.
icit_get_spot( $id_or_name, $template, $echo );
Same as the above with an extra argument:
$echo: Optional. Defaults to false. A boolean to indicate whether to echo the spot content or just return it.
You can use spots to replace boilerplate text in your themes. If you have areas in your themes where typically you would hard code the text you could use the following code:
if ( function_exists( 'icit_spot' ) )
icit_spot( 'Copyright' );
The above code would output the contents of a spot titled ‘Copyright’. If the spot does not exist it will be created as a draft. Spots in draft mode are only visible to logged in users with editing capabilities.
The plugin will initially look for a file in your theme using the
get_template_part() function. If you have a file called
spot.php in your theme that will be the default template for all spots. The
icit_spot() function can take a second parameter for the template part to use for example:
if ( function_exists( 'icit_spot' ) )
icit_spot( 'Copyright', 'copyright' );
The above code will make the plugin look in your theme folder for a file called
spot-copyright.php to use for the output. If not available it will fall back to
spot.php and if that is not available it will simply output the spot contents.
Use templates when you want to display a featured image from a spot or if you require some additional/alternative markup for the spot. Spots are just like posts, so in the templates you retrieve the contents of the spot using
the_content() just as would in the loop.
Basic spot template example:
<?php the_content(); ?>
Spot template with featured image:
if ( has_post_thumbnail() )
the_post_thumbnail( 'medium' );
There are many filters and hooks available to get even more out of spots so drop by the plugin homepage or use the forums if there is something you need to do with spots but aren’t sure how.
- You can install the plugin using the auto-install tool from the WordPress back-end.
- To manually install, upload the folder
- Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
- You should now see the Spots widget show up under ‘widgets’ menu. Drop that widget into a sidebar and you can immediately create Spots.
- You should also now see a new post type appear called Spots in your WordPress back-end. You can create Spots here for use later or in development.
Using the plugin
- Once the plugin is activated, you will see a new widget appear titled Spots.
- Drop the widget into an appropriate widget space.
- If you haven’t already created a new Spot, you can do so directly from the widget, using the visual editor.
- If you have already created a Spot you can opt to use this from the drop down.
- You can edit Spots just like Posts or Pages – you’ll see Spots just below the Comments menu.
- Spots are also available as a shortcode. Click the icon in the rich text editor on posts or pages and search for the spot you want to insert.
When I edit a spot template I don’t see the change
Spots has a built in caching system, a popular request when we first launched the plugin. This creates a problem when you edit the template files that spots use as we can’t detect changes without creating a database query.
Place the following code in your functions.php to turn off the cache:
define( 'SPOTS_CACHE_TIME', 0 );
NOTE: We only recommend doing this for your development environment however if your spots are dynamic or you use a site-wide caching plugin then leave the above definition in.
Can I use Spots to replace the clunky old Text Widget?
Yes indeed – in fact that was the first inspiration behind creating Spots – we felt the text widget was only suitable for use by people who knew HTML well. Spots gives you a visual editor, making this much easier to use.
Can I use Spots anywhere in my theme?
You can, if your theme either has built-in support for Spots, or you’ve added the appropriate template tags.
What happens if I put an image in a Spot?
The image will be used as you’ve input it – bear in mind that in certain locations this may not work well, or your theme may not have appropriate styling in place. In most cases it will work just fine, but do be careful not to insert images larger than the space you have available.
How does the featured image work?
If you have a featured image, your theme can use this for display options. If your theme does not fully support Spots then featured images will have no effect and only the main content of the Spot will be displayed. See the developer notes for more information on adding templates to a theme to get the most out of spots.
- Updated “tested up to” value
- Fixed: Fix widget media button
- Fixed: “Insert spot” menu not working.
- Fixed: Double icon effect
- Fixed: Fatal error on versions < 4.3 with new function format_for_editor()
- Fixed: Widgets not working in 4.3
- Fixed: Notices about deprecated functions
- Fixed: More fixes for WordPress 4.0.1 and the quote problem.
- Fixed: WordPress 4.0+ sending media to a tinyMCE in a widget would fail silently.
- Fixed: Few other fixes and tweaks.
- Fixed: WordPress as of 4.0.1 makes the assumption that quotes after a number are always to denote feet/inches, this messes up the very late running of our shortcode. I’ve implemented a fix that’ll repair the quotes around the post_id in the shortcode.
- Fixed: Issue with admin https and the front end http.
- Added: Filter to disable the edit spot button. Adding add_filter( ‘spots_show_edit_link’, ‘__return_false’ ); to your functions.php should result in the removal of the inline edit link.
- Fixed: Media button no more in line with WordPress best practice.
- Added: Toggles to the widget admin that’ll let you edit raw text. The HTML button was removed from WP 3.9 and rather than add it back in I thought it bettet to use something similar to the tabs on the normal post edit page.
- Fixed: Titles can be blank again. Oops!
- Fixed: Widget drag handles can be clicked to open the widget and show TinyMCE.
- Fix the missing media buttons on the widget interface.
- Added: Support for the new tinyMCE in WordPress 3.9
- Fixed: TinyMCE button on the post edit page.
- Fixed: TinyMCE is working in the widget again.
- Fixed: Bug with the showing of tinyMCE if you toggle the widget show/hide quickly.
- Fixed: Removed some strict warnings with PHP 5.5.
- Fixed: Edit capability not checking the specific spot in 1 circumstance
- Fixed: Spot auto creation when used in templates now also searches for the post name, preventing duplication on title changes
- Fixed: edit links being cached in certain suituations
- Fixed: late run shortcodes in content not being run through shortcode_unautop()
- Modified: ‘Edit spot’ link styling like an admin button and appears within spot area incase of
- Added: ‘Edit spot’ link also appears on spots referenced directly in template
- Fixed: Compatibility issue with various plugins that modify the content after do_shortcode has run – thanks to @NickToye for spotting it
- Removed: Ability to view featured image in widget screen in WP 3.5 or above. You can still set it in the full editor and in the add media popup
- Fixed: Empty paragraph was being inserted when moving a widget around
- Added: Spots no longer cached if current logged in user can edit them
- Fixed: Spot edit buttons on the frontend would appear underneath other items making them unclickable
- Fixed: The spots menu icon under iOS and other high density displays now display correctly
- Modified: Edit buttons are now labeled “Edit Spots” rather than just Edit
- Added: Shortcodes in content now have the same edit buttons on hover that widgets have
- Fixed: CSS rules weren’t a high enough priority in some themes, increase the specificity of the colours so they’re not overridden
- Added: New setting, lets you choose if search engines will index individual spots, set to no by default, prevents individual spots showing up in search listings ahead of the pages they’re intended to appear on
- Added: Logged in users able to edit spots can now see an edit link when hovering over a spot on the frontend
- Fixed: The edit link on the spots widget edit form now has a target of _parent
- Fixed: The new theme template API implementation actually works now! Sorry folks
- Added a basic options page to control the caching
- Fixed: Now uses new theme API to find templates in WordPress 3.4+
- Fixed: A small bug meant that permalinks were being flushed and recreated on every page load
- Added: Allow WordPress to do the serialisation for the transients. Was causing problems after BackupBuddy plugin was used.
- Fixed: Caching was happening even when cache time was set to 0, removed an unnecessary db query.
- Fixed: Caching was happeninig in admin which would cause GravityForms to render as the editable form
- Added: Improved styling of widget for latest WP versions
- Fixed: URL escaped ampersand in post type edit link
- Added: Smart default for widget title when selecting a spot
- Added: Advice on disabling the spots cache to readme.txt
- Added: Added support for revisions to the spots post type, idea from Doug Smith (http://smithsrus.com/).
spot_post_exists() to only check the spots post type to avoid displaying other content of the same name.
- Added: Made the currently selected spot more obvious when in the spot selector MCE popup.
- Fixed: TinyMCE with WordPress 3.3 would leave an editor at the bottom of the widget page.
- Fixed: TinyMCE would not tolerate other tinyMCE widget instances.
- Fixed: TinyMCE would break on drag and drop of a widget.
- Fixed: Set spot thumbnail always available even when there was no theme support for post-thumbnails.
- Fixed: Now respects your Visual editor profile settings.
- Fixed: Bug with caching system meant cache didn’t flush on widget edit pages.
- Fixed: Featured image was not being correctly displayed as it relies on the $post global being overridden.
- Fixed: Bug with media upload buttons not associating the spot with its attachments on the widgets screen.
- Improved UI and UX on widget.
- Fixed bug that created multiple draft versions of a Spot when a template tag initiated a non-existent Spot.
- Fixed WP 3.3 missing toolbar issue in widget visual editor.
- Development version and Alpha release.
Spots widget when you first use it
The Spots custom post type in action
Selecting a pre-existing Spot
The visual editor in Spots
A Spot output in a sidebar as a widget
A Template Tag replacement of content in the footer of the 2010 theme.