In this post, I want to address the question, how you can use and extend the help menu, you find in the admin dashboard of WordPress. Usually, this help menu can be found in the top right corner and it gives the user some hints and tips, how to use the current page.
So, lets start with the basics: We have to register a new menu page:
As you know, add_menu_page() returns the ID of the newly created page, which we will need, since we want to hook into the specific load event for this page. We do so by using
In this action, we will be able to register our help tab and give it some contents.
Adding the help tab
In the first step, we need to acquire the current screen. This is be done by get_current_screen(). This function returns the current WP_Screen object, which contains – beside others – the help tabs.
In a second step, we will now add our own help tabs, by using WP_Screen::add_help_tab(). A help tab contains an ID, a title and the actual content.
With these two simple steps, we can create our own help tabs, which blend perfectly into WordPress. We can also name a callback function, which does the rendering:
With such a callback function, we have more possibilities to render the output. The callback function can receive two parameters: The current WP_Screen object and the current help tab array:
Once you have registered a help tab, you can also register a sidebar for the help. This is done quite simple by set_help_sidebar(). Once, you open the help section, you can see the sidebar on the right side of it:
It is very simple to add a little bit more help for the users of your plugins. So, just do it 🙂
In the last weeks I talked a bit with the guys over at thematosoup. Thematosoup is a very fine WordPress company which is run by Slobodan and Dragan. Some of you might know their work from the fantastic author plugin, they have developed.
Thematosoups Gumbo comes along in a very clean and minimalist style, but everything is on its place. Thematosoups philosophy is strictly to separate between the job, which needs to be done by a theme and a job, which needs to be done by a plugin. So, you won’t find 1.000 shortcodes, no functionality, which can be done by a plugin. The theme remains a theme (maybe with the exception of the social menu bar, but in my eyes this makes perfectly sense)..
For the ones, who work (like me too) with clients and head every now and then to Envatos Themeforest, you know one of the big trends of commercial themes. Bundle all plugins you can find and call it a theme. You will get rich themes and work hours on hours in configuring them. I wouldn’t wonder, if there are some job descriptions out there, which say “we are searching an Avada expert” (Edit: haha, actually, there is!)
Personally, I really don’t like this kind of themes. Thematosoups philosophy is quite compelling and the recent problems with the Revolution Slider (for those, who haven’t noticed, have a look on this post by Sarah Gooding) should be a real eye opener to the business.
The Gumbo Theme
Basically, as Dragan pointed out, they try to realize all options with the Customizer, which was introduced in WP 3.4. So let’s have a look into the Customizer:
We will find 10 sections, where we can alter the look of our WordPress blog and it’s really focussed on the looks. The layout section allows you to change the position of the standard sidebar, the position of the standard menu (wow! I still don’t use a menu 😀 )
If you are using featured content, something, you want to highlight, you should have a look into the featured content section. You should have a tag, where you gather only your featured content. You can select this tag and display these as a slider on your homepage! Maybe it would be a possibility, not to limit this to tags, but to enable the user, also to use sticky posts, a category or something else, but they did a very nice job in realizing such an option.
You can alter typography, colors, background images and much more. And somehow, because of the very nice work, they did with keeping ratios, padding, margin and so on, there is almost nothing, you can do wrong about it. In the end, you will still run your blog in a nice modern and simple layout.
But, with the Customizer, you just alter the general settings. You can also alter your layout for each post.
And this, of course, is a nice way. I personally like especially the possibility to change the option of the font size.
Quite a nice feature are the templates for pages. There are several templates, you can use, like for example a sitemap, or an author page, which I have used for my about page. The Masonry template gives you the latest posts, but in a Pinterest style. And with the widgetized template, it is very easy to set up a nice landingpage. On the themes description it says:
This is one page template you can use to add widgets in your “below content” widget area. Widgetized Template works together with Widgetized Page widget area and has some specific options, which you can enable in Screen Options of your page editor.
So thematosoup has delivered a nice theme. But it’s not just the theme, which I like, it’s the whole attitude, by which they present it. Although Gumbo is a free theme, they put a lot of effort into explaining the theme with videos, where they teach people how to use it. They’ve created a perfect theme demo page, by which you easily get all possibilities of the theme.
All together, they made a very nice theme and put a lot of effort into the surroundings. They keep care, to use best practices and hook into initiatives in order to make a better WordPress. So, if you are searching for a new theme, have a look at Gumbo.