Using Advanced Custom Fields within a WordPress theme

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Using Advanced Custom Fields within a WordPress theme

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Using the Advanced Custom Fields plugin with the repeater and flexible content addons

I have used several content management systems in the past to build websites and WordPress for my latest project seemed like as good choice as any since it is free to use and download. One of its creators is a computer programmer by the name of Mike Little. We both live in Stockport near Manchester in the North West of England which is coincidence!

Depending on who you believe, it is claimed that WordPress now powers up to 12 percent of the world’s web sites so it is more likely that we will disappear before it does!

However, when you initially do the five minute install and get it up and running, it is still reminiscent of its blogger tool origins when it was originally conceived way back in 2003 as a fork from the B2 blogging platform. The WordPress administrator is presented with a large WYSIWYG content editor, great for a lengthy post about a book or film or restaurant review, perhaps not so great for tightly structured content.

What if you want to structure a page in such a way that the layout of the page may be quite complex and would need to be consistent even if hundreds of them are created? An example of this might be an online catalogue or film review website where you might have repeating items across different pages:

Advanced Custom Fields Potential Uses
A Film Review Website An Online Catalogue
The title of the film Product name
A brief synopsis Product Description
A list of actors Product Shipping Cost
What year it was released Product code
Rating out of five Product type

Having previously used Expression Engine by Ellis Labs to design a website managed by a content management system, I became quite used to adding custom fields into the administration area, creating those as I saw fit and incorporating the dynamic code into my html and css templates.

It was initially unclear to see how I could use WordPress to create a structured administration area as I was able to do in Expression Engine. I could see how it would be intimidating for a user with little IT experience to create a consistent layout with the web page broken up into sections. It could be tricky and error prone for even the most experienced user to get to grips with! WordPress installations do come shipped with features to create custom fields but Advanced Custom Fields are more powerful and take this feature to the next level.

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