Plugin idea: Community Contributions
We use WordPress as a CMS for a small city news website. We LOVE WordPress. Period.
Simple, smart, easy to understand.
But some of the missing pieces are holding us back a bit. One in particular is the issue of community contributions to the website.
We write a lot of news and the community sends us a ton more news through e-mail. It would be so much simpler if they could simply use a form and self-publish the piece to Drafts, where we can clean it up and push it live.
I know there are plugins like Postie and others that kinda/sorta do this, but they're difficult to work with and don't always deliver adequate results. Besides, it's adding a step to the process -- fill out a form, send the form by e-mail, then we have to clean it up in edit.
Ideal: A subset of the WP publishing screen, plain text only (TinyMCE available only for site editors, perhaps via Role Manager plugin, or configurable in plugin's admin), headline and body copy boxes, plus file upload for pictures or videos (place them in the associated files folder for the post and we can place them in the post ourselves) and captions. An option to require registration with the site in order to use the form.
Advanced capability: The ability to call a given community submitter a "trusted" poster whose stuff goes live to the site, bypassing Draft. Again, a hook to Role Manager could help with that.
This would go a long way to reducing the work we have to do on a daily basis to turn around e-mails and such.
WordPress has a ways to go before it catches up with community-focused software such as Scoop, but this would be the beginning of a much-needed boost.
Having just spent this week converting a complex 'flat' HTML/XML web site for a charity organisation so as to support their future plans - but with the potentially complex and difficult constraint that the new WP site should look and feel absolutely identical to the existing flat site - I'm rather full of ideas right now.
Let's start here: for naive [non technical] users the WP admin screen is very confusing [and the names of menu items meaningless] whilst the overall workflow they're presented with is awful bordering on catastrophic, even when one uses plugins such as the excellent Menu Editor to control what various roles can see on their menu inside the admin area [or renames such entries on the menus] the entire admin area doesn't make clear in any obvious way how that user should actually achieve their objectives.
Users don't start thinking about web sites of any kind from a techie perspective; they rather [broadly] think in wireframes and "flat" information heirarchies based on bits of paper - they usually can't visualise the whole site as anything other than a series of bits of paper laid out on a desktop in a logical tree-like order; they don't see posts as a rolling journalled set of DB entries, they see it [if they see it at all] like a single gigantic scrolling noticeboard in which the latest item always gets added to the top. They don't see or understand the difference between a post and a page. And so on.
There are several lessons to be learned from such exercises, and I could have done with any one of several different plugins during this exercise that as far as I can tell don't [yet] exist. Once I've finished this particular exercise I may get time to write some of them but .....
We need a plugin to address these issue of user understanding - to convert the whole admin and functional heirarchy into a visual representation of the site - start with what a site wireframe DOES [or would] look like and make it intereactive. In other words the reverse of a sitemap: it would takes a sitemap [such as the google sitemap] and make it interactive for authorised users. A plugin that
a] replaces the user's dashboard as the login landing zone and
b] takes an existing sitemap, displays all or authorised portions of it as a visual heirarchical map to the authorised role [for example a contributor need not see all of the site map - just the relevant leaf, whilst an author might be designated permissions over specific branches nodes or leaves] and makes each node and/or leaf of that sitmap into a clickable add/edit content function in a split window such that the 'map' is still visible alongside the edit control, with optional tag elements on the map nodes or leaves such as date of item, author, word count etc. Constrain the nodes and leaves such that the user one cannot add a post to a page node or vice versa.
Drag and drop of nodes or leaves on the map should also be possible, subject to suitable role authorities [assuming that the loop is being used to generate the menus].
Display attached media as a node/leaf property on the nodes context menus and allow drag and drop of media both to the main nodes or leaves, or onto a sidebar menu strucure from a scrollable window below the map.
Optionally display each post category as different 'branches' in the tree so that as a user adds leaves [posts] to the branch they are added to the correct primary category.
c] adds pending or scheduled items to the map in different colours to the main published items so that those with publication authority can quickly see what's waiting and where.
d] for 'real' administrators, the map should be available as a new menu item under tools, with capabilities to lay out the site map as a wireframe and generate slugs permalinks and custom fields as/where required, and allow the admin to set role-based permissions for branches etc by clicking on the relevant portion of the map.
e] allow easy delegation of roles downwards; thus for example an editor could delegate [or revoke] the role of branch node or leaf editor to an existing user.
With such a visual tool one could probably turn off almost all menu items for users, except perhaps the media menu for those who have authority to add new media.
If you're not familiar with it then the NAVT plugin does some fairly good things with visual editing of menus. I wouldn't suggest that it's a good example, especially since one cannot actually preview the menu structures it generates, but it does show some of what can be done with visual tools.
So, that should only take you about a week to finish: come back to me when you're done - I've got a few more ideas
Hasn't WordPress core had this functionality for a long time via the post from email functionality?
Originally Posted by fdnews
Wow, there are some great, in-depth ideas here. @fdnews, your idea actually is simpler then you think. WordPress has the capability of handling front end forms that can be submited as drafts or published immediatly. It wouldn't even be too difficult to get a TinyMCE WSYIWYG editor in there either. Having it all happen from the front-end theme makes sense as most admins don't want users (visitors, registered readers, or even guest-authors) seeing the guts of their website.