Plugin Monday: Shortcake (Shortcodes UI)

Plugin Monday: Shortcake

As you work with WordPress plugins, you’ll come across a useful feature called shortcodes. They let you insert special items into a page or post, according to what the plugin can do. The only trouble is that they aren’t very user-friendly. For instance, a plugin might let you insert a button into a post, asking the user to sign a petition. It might look something like this:

[petition id=”2451″]Show your support by signing[/petition]

It works, but it’s rather intimidating to someone who’s just trying to type in a post. You have to remember what the shortcode is called, what parameters it takes, and what the syntax is. The Shortcake plugin makes the job easier. However, it works only with shortcodes that a plugin has registered with Shortcake. The Shortcake Bakery plugin provides a set of generally useful shortcodes.

To add a registered shortcode, you use “Add media” in the editor, and Shortcake provides shortcodes as a new media category. It displays a form showing the parameters to fill in and lets you view its effect in the post.

Shortcake has been proposed as a built-in feature in future versions of WordPress. If this happens, all site administrators will have access to it, so Shortcake registration will likely become a standard feature of shortcodes in plugins. For now the selection of supported shortcodes is limited. If you find the ones in Shortcake Bakery useful, the plugin is useful. Broader use may have to wait for the adoption of Shortcake into the WordPress core.

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