Roles, First Role, bbpress forum roles, s2member levels…

[2019 Note: Please watch out for major update.  First_role will be replaced by Capabilities/Roles.  There will no longer be a separate first_role field ]

Do users on your websites have more than one wordpress role ?

users with multiple roles

users with multiple roles – requires the amr-users-plus addon

On a basic wordpress install, a user usually has only one role.  At the simplest, many sites only deal with administrators and subscribers.

The free amr users user listing plugin will extract the first role found in the wordpress usermeta capabilities value and present that as the ‘first role’.  This is great for most installs, some may need more reporting possibilities.

WordPress does actually allow for users to have multiple roles.  Add in the bbpress plugin and possibly a membership plugin which may create it’s own set of roles in parallel to the wordpress ones (ie not instead of), then you may find a single user may have many roles even if you actually need them to only have one.

single role fields

single role fields

Depending how/when a user was created in the system, (converted? created before or after the forum etc)  they may/may not have a wordpress default role, they may just have a bpress role for example.     Even more confusingly the ‘first role’ may no longer be useful.  For example, someone may have been created as a forum participant with  while someone else may be wordpress ‘editor’ and then a forum participant.  The ‘first roles’ may then differ, when one might think that they should both have participant.

In such a case, other role fields may be  useful too.    The free amr users plugin will automatically extract all the roles it finds and present each as a field where the user either has a that value (1 or true) or does not.    One can use these to exclude or include users from the user lists, or to interrogate the db looking for users with multiple roles etc.

If you need more than that, then you need the amr-users-plus plugin.  It adds

  • a ‘roles’ field which will list in the one field all the roles a user has.   It also adds filtering functionality where one can do realtime selection.  This will work for any roles stored in the usermeta capabilities record.
  • a first bbpress forum role, in case you just interested in forum access only

Exclude meta keys, and delete them too

The latest update (3.9) adds a admin screen that allows you to

  • see and change which meta keys are excluded by default from the plugin and
  • exclude more meta keys
  • delete user meta records for selected metakeys (cleanup)
  • see totals of meta records for meta keys

This became essential for anyone using S2member, and handy for anyone using Advanced custom fields which seems to create additional hidden metakeys for every custom field.  Thisplugin will attempt to help you out by default excluding as many unnecessary fields as possible.  You can then update.

The S2member access cap times field is keyed by time, which means that as time goes by there will be more and more sub fields detected by amr-users and the fields and nicenames page will become impossible.

s2member access cap times

s2member access cap times field

This is clearly unworkable.  So a admin page to exclude meta keys was added. This page will also allow you to delete meta records. Be Careful!  This is a confirmation step, but no undo.

excluded meta keys

excluded meta keys

The “find fields and nice names” page has been updated to help highlight what’s going on.

new nice names

updated nice \names

Format a field as a link

This is an example of a site specific add-on created specifically for a certain website.

Teachers Website is now a clickable link

Teachers Website is now a clickable link

This site specific plugin adds a formatting function for a custom field created by a third party plugin.  In this case the field is called ‘teachers-website’.  

The formatting function therefore must be called:

ausers_format_teachers_website($v, $u)

This example includes target=”_blank” as that was requested.  However please read what various institutions advise about opening new windows on links: http://webdesign.anmari.com/2820/dont-force-open-new-windows/

Instructions on how to create your own formatting function are here: https://wpusersplugin.com/2645/format-any-field-any-way-you-wish/

amr_format_extra_fields (zip file)

Adding custom css to a wordpress website for plugin html

Do you want to add css for html generated by a plugin perhaps?

Got a Custom Theme?

Do you have a custom theme that you are NEVER going to automatically update?

Then edit the themes css, add your custom css to the bottom of the main style.css.  This should be in your themes folder under wp-content.

Got an Updateable Theme ?

Does your theme have upates occasionally ? If you want to be able to auto update your theme, then it is better to add your css separately.

Some plugin have ways to add a custom css file for that plugin and/or to disable any plugin css so that you may reduce the number of stylesheets.  Do NOT edit any plugin css files unless it is a site specific plugin that will not be updated automatically – you will lose your css when the update is applied.

The easiest way to add custom css if you cannot use your themes style.css is probably by using the official wordpress jetpack plugin: http://wordpress.org/support/plugin/jetpack
It has a custom css module
http://jetpack.me/support/custom-css/   There are other plugins that allow you to do this.

How to work out what css selectors to use?

First you need to work out what css selectors have been provided in the html that is generated.  My plugins generally offer many css selectors in the html.  The various ‘inspect element’ tools are invaluable here.

Examples:

They help highlight what css is being applied to the html and what is being overwritten.   And of course they help you to see easily what css ‘hooks’ there are to add special styling.

Your custom css needs to work with your theme, so you either need to specify the css tightly enough that no theme css will ever override it, or know that you are not going to be changing themes.

To work out what css to add, ideally you should have a reasonable understanding of css.  In particular the concepts of specificity and inheritance
http://coding.smashingmagazine.com/2007/07/27/css-specificity-things-you-should-know/ .

You could ask for help from css experts.

When asking for help you should

  • provide a link to the problem page of your site or demo site
  • identify the theme you are using perhaps
  • be clear and specific about the effect you are trying to achieve and your level of skill in editing css

Browser consistency

You should also know that browsers vary in their implementation and while your hack that you worked out or have been given might look beautiful on your apple mac running safari, results can vary greatly.

If you have any pride in your work at all, you should test the result using something like http://browsershots.org/, or risk the site looking really stupid.

Identifying CSS selectors example:

In this example from the amr-users plugin, one can see that:

  • there are id’s specific to a user list, thus enabling one to isolate your css to just the list  (div id=userlist1)
  • there is a general userlist class which enables one to style all such userlists with the same css
  • there are classes per field allowing one to style individual fields
Using Inspect Element to inspect the html and css

Using Inspect Element to inspect the html and css

Disappearing images or avatars in tables in chrome?

A ‘funny’ recently presented itself.   In the chrome browser, avatars were not showing up, despite they being there in the html code.

My first thought when I hear of browsers responding differently is to check html validation – browsers often cope with errors but sometimes not.

In this case, it was the css that turned out to be the problem.

An invaluable tool to debug these things is the ‘inspect element’ firebugs or chromes and the ability to deselect or add css to see what is overriding what.  See http://bigemployee.com/4-simple-techniques-to-quickly-debug-and-fix-your-css-code-in-almost-any-browser/

Fairly quickly one could see that somehow the inline attributes were being overwritten.

Image attributes overwritten

Image attributes overwritten

Scrolling back up through the css to see what might be overwriting that css, I paused thoughtfully at a image max-width and unticked and  reticked some css.

As soon as I unticked the max-width the images reappeared in chrome.

Undo Max Width

Undo Max Width

 

A quick web search showed that others had encountered this before and had some suggestions on overcoming this.  It seems Chrome interprets the rule differently from Firefox. It assumes the image can freely be shrunk, and with a long string of text in the cell next door, it squeezes the images.

So some possible solutions appear to be:

  • remove the max-width attempt to be responsive, or
  • set a fixed table width
  • maybe set a fixed column width

 

How to find fields produced by other plugins

This is a frequent question as more people seem to turn to my plugins to solve their need to report data created by other plugins.  A list of some of these plugins with comments on how they store the data is here: https://wpusersplugin.com/3195/possible-user-extra-field-or-user-meta-plugins/

Create sample data

In all cases first create some sample data in your test site.  The free amr-users plugin will do it’s best to extract the fields but it needs the sample data – it is not psychic.

How were these custom fields created and stored?

Ideally your custom user fields have been stored in the wordpress user tables in a simple form.  Even if it is not stored ‘simply’, the plugin may still be able to work through an array or object and extract the individual fields.

Run ‘Find Fields’

Go to the settings and run ‘find fields’ (See https://wpusersplugin.com/3221/getting-started-with-amr-users/#find) – data in the wordpress user tables will be found.

If your fields show up – YAY! you are well on your way… see https://wpusersplugin.com/3221/getting-started-with-amr-users/ for the rest.

Fields not found?

If not… – There are some very popular plugins that do NOT store their user data in wordpress tables.  Over time, people have requested that the users plugin read these tables too.  Thus a number of add-ons have been developed to work with the main plugin and extract this data.  See the add-on menu dropdown on this site – it should have all the latest and see https://wpusersplugin.com/related-plugins/amr-user-plugin-add-ons/ (may not list all)

If you suspect your site is NOT using the wordpress user and user meta tables (EG: sample data does not show up when running ‘find fields’), you could use your phpmyadmin tool to look at your database and see what extra tables have been created.

Or if you know which plugin is creating the data, check the add-on list (see the menus) – an add-on may exist to solve your problems.

If an add-on does not exist, one could be written by you perhaps? or by me (charges apply).  Some details here: https://wpusersplugin.com/3596/pull-user-data-from-custom-table-into-list/.

Assistance

If you’d like assistance with extracting data from custom tables, the more detail you provide up front, the quicker and cheaper a resolution.

  • What plugin creates the fields?
  • Where are the field values stored ? (screen or sql dumps of the tables would help)
  • What kinds of fields ?  – what are the stored values ? what are the displayed values required ?  (yes these are sometimes different – additional lookups may be required )
  • Any translation ability for field values or lables required ? eg: for multi language sites.
  • Any special formatting ? eg: links etc

Note: Fees: http://webdesign.anmari.com/about/fees/