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Back End Instructions

Plugin for WordPress developers to provide easy "how to use" instructions to their clients.

Installation is simple, and adds nothing more to your database than an options and the content you create.

  1. Unzip the package.
  2. The contents of the package should look like so:
    • back-end-instructions (folder)
      • bei_languages (folder)
      •     back-end-instructions.pot (file)
      • css (folder)
      •     bei_colors-classic.css (file)
      •     bei_colors-fresh.css (file)
      • instructions.php (file)
      • mytheme (folder)
      •     archive-instructions.php (file)
      •     single-instructions.php (file)
      • player.swf (file)
      • readme.txt (file)
  3. Upload the back-end-instructions folder (and all of its contents) to the "plugins" directory of your WordPress installation.
  4. Activate the plugin through the "Plugins" menu in WordPress.
  5. All done!

How to Use

All of your work will be done in the new Custom Post Type that will be set up for you, so look in the left sidebar for the "Instructions" panel (found just below "Posts"). As with writing posts, you'll have the option of editing a previously-created instruction (which you shouldn't have any, save the initial example created), or adding a new one.

So let's start with "Add New."

  1. Give it a meaningful, but short, title. You want to give the title something with meaning, but keep it short and sweet. 3 or 4 words at the most should do it. Keep in mind that this title will be the "link" for the tab that contains the actual instruction content, so don't go crazy.

  2. Add in your content. Place your actual instructions here. You can write text-based instructions, or add in images, audio, or video files via normal posting methods. If you'd like easier methods of adding video, you can simply place the full URL path to the video into the "Video" in the sidebar meta box - it will auto-format video for you, and display it above your post content. (This only works for MP4 videos, Vimeo, and YouTube.) Note, this new addition is by request: many people didn't like that the "Video" sidebar metabox replaced the content. So now it's added to, and displayed above, the content.

  3. Add in an excerpt, if desired. The excerpt would be a good spot to give a small description of what's going on in this post. I find it very useful to place timestamps (and a small description of what you find at each timestamp) in the excerpt section. Whatever you place in the excerpt area will show up below the content.

  4. **Regarding Shortcodes ** Several people have asked me, in the past, to make it possible to write shortcodes without having them parsed, so people can give examples of how to write and use the shortcodes. The good thing about moving the shortcodes into the help menu is that the help menu is meant for static text only, and shortcodes are completely stripped. I've provided a method for putting shortcode content in the instructional post without having it stripped, and without parsing the information. Simply replace the "[" and "]" with "{{" and "}}". Your shortcodes will display (not be parsed) so you can teach people how to use them.

    NOTE On the front end of the site, the shortcodes WILL be parsed. For example: {{gallery}} will actually work exactly like [gallery] when viewing on the front end, and display your gallery of images; but {{gallery}} will display [gallery] on the back end.

  5. Instruction Page Information In the right sidebar, at the bottom, will be this section.

    Page Name. Enter in what page you want this to appear on. You can find the page name at the end of the URL in your address bar. For example, let's say you want to write an instruction on how to write a new post. The URL for adding a new post is typically something like "http://yoursitename/wp-admin/post-new.php?post_type=photos". If you want this instruction to appear ONLY on the "Add New" page in the custom post type ("photos" in this case), then you just copy everything in the URL after the last "/" (which, in this example, would be "post-new.php?post_type=photos") and put it in the "Page Name" field. However, if you'd like this same instruction to appear on the "Add Post" page on any post type (even under the "Posts > Add New" section for default WordPress posts), the copy everything after the last "/" but before the "?" (in this example: "post-new.php") and paste it into this field. The only exception to this is if you want stuff to how up on the Dashboard. In that case, all you need to write is "dashboard". There is also an option to set additional pages, if you like. Just click the "+" button to add multiple fields - each one is where you'll enter the page name - same method as above.

    There is, of course, no guarantee that this will work on ALL non-default pages out there - i.e. anything added by custom functions or other plugins, but generally, it should.

    Videos Here is where the video magic happens. If you'd like to post an MP4, YouTube, or Vimeo video as your instructable, then grab the URL of the YouTube or Vimeo page (or the full path to the MP4 file) for that video and pop it in here. This video will display above the content you write. Further information below:

    Vimeo or YouTube If you're on a page at youtube.com or vimeo.com, and you want to use the video on that page within an instruction, just copy the URL of the page and paste it in the "Video URL" field. Alternatively, you can simply copy the video embed code that these sites provide for you, and paste it within the post content area. (Just be sure you're using the HTML tab when you do that - the Visual editor messes with things a bit.) This, of course, works for any system that provides embed code to paste video on your site - you're not restricted to Vimeo or YouTube.

    MP4/OGV files The only note here is, if you do use MP4 files, I HIGHLY recommend creating an .ogv version of the same file, because some browsers cannot play MP4 files ::coughFirefoxcough:: so the .ogv file is kinda necessary. So if you use MP4, I'd say you also MUST create an OGV version and upload that to your server alongside the MP4. Don't worry though, it's easy. I'll even give you a link to a free video converter so you can do that. Be sure the OGV and MP4 files have the exact same name, down to the case.

    SWF Files If you're using a self-hosted SWF file, or you have the URL to an SWF file, then you need to enter in the full path to the SWF file into the "Video URL" field.

    User Level If you'd like particular instructions to show up certain user levels, you can choose an option here. For example, Admins usually have more menu options to choose from than Authors. You can add "extra info" for admins so they understand the items related to their role, but lower levels won't see those instructions. If you leave the option blank, any logged in user at any level will see the instructable.

  6. Settings In the right sidebar, under "Settings > Back End Instructions", you'll find the settings page for the instructions defaults.

    Use a custom help tab? This was somethign that was originally put into the plugin, and then removed later (when it was really easy - and made sense - to pop this stuff in the help tab). But it's been requested that the option be put back in, because apparently some of you all like to get rid of the help tabs :) Check "Yes" for this option, and the custom Instructions tab will hold the instructions, instead of the WordPress Help Tab.

    Default Admin Level This is the lowest user level you'd like to have access to create and edit Instructions. The lowest level you can choose is "Author" ("Contributor" and "Subscriber" are just asking for trouble, so they are not options. "Author" is pushing it, but I leave it there anyway, because I can see instances where that would be helpful.) This setting does not give permissions that the user level doesn't already have. For example, if you set the level to "Author", then the authors of your site can write, edit and publish instructions, but it doesn't give them any extra capabilities like activating plugins and such.

    Show in Front? If you'd like to make your instructions visible on the front end, set this to "yes". If it's the first time you're doing this, you WILL need to redo your permalinks. (All you have to do is go to your permalinks settings and hit the "save changes" button.) If you swap this option back and forth, it may throw the system for a loop, so just try re-saving your permalinks again to see if that clears things up.

    Logged-in users only? This goes with the above option. By default, if the instructions are visible on the front end of the site, then end users are required to be logged in to see them (otherwise, they get a prompt to log in before viewing). But you can set it so the general public can see them if you want. The next option will help make things a bit more "private" for random visitors if you opt to make them visible to 100% of the population.

    Default Viewing Level This goes with the previous two options. If you have "Show in Front?" set to "Yes", and "Logged-in users only?" set to "no" (thus making them publicly viewable) you can set this option to give the general public capability status. (Don't worry, it's faked, and only for this plugin. They won't actually have any capabilities!) Basically, this setting will treat random visitors as if they do have a logged-in status - this dropdown lets you choose what level they are at. By default, it's "contributor", so anyone swinging by will be able to read posts marked for Subscribers and Contributors; but posts marked for Authors, Editors, Admins, and Super-Admins will be hidden.

  7. Other Front End Viewing Options

    Theme Files There are two theme files available for you to use - archive-instructions.php and single-instructions.php - if you enable front-end viewing. Simply copy these files and paste them into the theme folder youre using. The files are basic Twenty Eleven copies, with a bit of necessary code stuck in there to take your settings into account. You can edit them to match your theme as you please. Just be sure you move these files to your current theme, or any upgrade you make will overwrite whatever changes you've made.

Requires: 3.1 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.9.16
Last Updated: 3 years ago
Active Installs: 300+


3.8 out of 5 stars


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