Support » Plugins » Getting a simple list of categories and authors, WITHOUT links!

  • jayp


    I have a confession. I’m in love with WordPress. I’ve been searching all my life for my one true love. I found her a little over a year ago and got married to her this summer. But now there’s another. Her name is WordPress. She’s not as sexy and not as important, but I love her none-the-less.

    That said, I finally found something that I apparently couldn’t do easily with wordpress.

    I want to get a list of categories back, and a list of authors. Just a simple list that I could loop over. I did not want the categories and authors to have links back to their respective pages. I wanted this to display a list of the rss feeds that were available on a site I’m setting up for some friends.

    Here’s the result that I finally got to work after half a day of time.

    I’m posting because I want to show my failed attempts, and then show my solution, and particularly, get feedback if this is a good way to do it, if it’s efficient, and is there an easier way to do this?

    I tried searching like crazy. The Codex, WordPress Support, and even Google. I could find nothing. All the WordPress functions I saw for return a list of authors and categories brought them back as links to their pages. I just didn’t like that and thought it might get the user confused. Wanting an RSS feed but clicking on a link and getting taken somewhere else…

    I also didn’t like the way I couldn’t easily show that feeds were available in 3 formats. All the native WordPress functions that could spit back links to RSS feeds seemed to only show RSS 2.0.

    So here’s the code that I did.

    < p >Category feeds:< /p >
    < ul >
    < ?php //get list of categories

    $cats = @$wpdb- >get_results("
    SELECT DISTINCT wp_categories.cat_ID, wp_categories.cat_name, wp_categories.category_nicename
    FROM wp_post2cat
    LEFT JOIN wp_categories
    ON wp_post2cat.category_id = wp_categories.cat_ID
    LEFT JOIN wp_posts
    ON wp_post2cat.post_id =
    WHERE wp_posts.post_status='publish' AND wp_categories.category_parent=0
    ORDER BY wp_categories.cat_name
    if($cats) : foreach($cats as $cat) : start_wp();
    ? >

    < li >< ?php echo $cat- >cat_name? > - < a href="< ?php echo $cat- >category_nicename? >/feed/" >RSS 2.0< /a >
    &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;< a href="< ?php echo $cat- >category_nicename? >/feed/rss/" >RSS .92< /a >
    &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;< a href="< ?php echo $cat- >category_nicename? >/feed/atom/" >ATOM 0.3< /a >< /li >

    < ?php endforeach; endif; ? >
    < /ul >

    < p >Author feeds:< /p >
    < ul >
    < ?php //get list of authors
    $auths = @$wpdb- >get_results("
    SELECT DISTINCT wp_users.ID, user_firstname, user_lastname, user_nicename
    FROM wp_posts
    LEFT JOIN wp_users
    ON post_author = wp_users.ID
    WHERE post_status='publish'
    ORDER BY user_firstname
    if($auths) : foreach($auths as $auth) : start_wp();
    ? >

    < li >< ?php echo $auth- >user_firstname.' '.$auth- >user_lastname ? > - < a href="< ?php echo $auth- >user_nicename? >/feed/" >RSS 2.0< /a >
    &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;< a href="< ?php echo $auth- >user_nicename? >/feed/rss/" >/feed/rss/" >RSS .92< /a >
    &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;< a href="< ?php echo $auth- >user_nicename? >/feed/atom/" >/feed/atom/" >ATOM 0.3< /a >< /li >

    < ?php endforeach; endif; ? >
    < /ul >

    Writing these queries was excruciating. I had to be able to select only categories with published posts, and only authors with published posts. Turns out, for the categories, I have to do a three way join to get the information I need.

    Is there a better way? Is this way efficient enough? The queries seemed to get executed very quickly in mysql, though my DB is nearly empty.

    Finally, I had to change three core files (Oh, I hate changing core files) to get the feeds to have useful titles…

    In wp-atom.php, wp-rss.php, and wp-rss2.php, I had to change the title tag from

    < title > < ?php bloginfo_rss('name'); ? > < /title >


    < title >
    < ?php bloginfo_rss('name') ? >
    < ?php //custom mod (see original title above)
    if(is_category()) {
    echo " - " . wp_specialchars(get_the_category_by_id($cat));
    } elseif (is_author()) {
    $curauth = get_userdata($author);
    echo " - " . wp_specialchars($curauth- >user_firstname.' '.$curauth- >user_lastname);
    } ? >
    < /title >

    Could the powers that be change the feed pages to include useful titles for what the feed is serving? If your tracking a page, a category, and author (anything else?), it just isn’t very cool to have all the feeds with only the site name as their title…

    Feedback loved and appreciated!

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • jayp


    i’m going to bump this…

    Can anyone comment?



    You know, instead of hacking the core files (for shame!) you could have just as easily written it as a plugin…..




    The only hacks to the core files were the rss files, to change the title. The other code I wrote was in the template itself!

    I hate to say this… Though I can cobble together a little bit of code (especially if I keep trying long enough), I don’t consider myself the greatest coder in the world, don’t write PHP code regularly, and don’t know much about how to write wordpress plugins. I guess I’ll have to figure that out some day. For now, I was just happy to have most of this stuff incorporated into a theme, since that should be mostly compatible with future releases. (If I have to go back and fix the titles on the rss feeds, that won’t take me too long).

    Can anybody else point me in the right direction? I was especially interested in knowing if getting a list of categories and authors (without links) wasn’t possible with WordPress’s native functions and if I’d taken a good approach with my own solution.



    Cant you just use list_cats and use PHP to pull out the category names? That way it will not depend on the database structure also and might be forward compatible.

    Just my 2 cents.



    You’re saying use PHP to parse what’s getting returned from list cats and strip out the links? Could I still loop over it to format things how I want?

    I’ll have to look into this



    That is what I am suggesting. I would have really preferred wordpress supporting category_loop, author_loop etc. (similar to post loop) and providing list_cats, wp_list_cats on top of those as helper functions. I don’t know much about how WP development take place, I am willing to take this up if the developers so wishes.

    In the absense of that, I suggest we use published interfaces rather than accessing database directly.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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