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Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts
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Customizing the Dashboard


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Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts

with Joseph Lowery

Video: Customizing the Dashboard

While the WordPress administration implementation is sophisticated and powerful, it's not carved in stone. In this lesson, I will show you how to remove unwanted features, add new content, and even customize the login screen with your client's brand. Let's start by reducing the clutter on the dashboard. The Dashboard is comprised of a series of widgets, some more informative than others, and some more pertinent than others for the standard client. All of the widgets are divided in two areas, the left, which is referred to as Normal by the WordPress programmers, obviously, all south-paws, and the right, which is known as the Side.
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  1. 4m 7s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 54s
    3. A word about updates
      1m 15s
  2. 15m 28s
    1. Overview
      1m 51s
    2. Creating the database and the initial site
      3m 45s
    3. Configuring WordPress
      5m 54s
    4. Establishing a Dreamweaver site
      3m 58s
  3. 20m 18s
    1. Accessing dynamically related files
      4m 12s
    2. Filtering files
      4m 20s
    3. Following links
      4m 15s
    4. Employing Live Code
      2m 54s
    5. Enabling site-specific code hinting
      4m 37s
  4. 21m 8s
    1. Adding blog posts
      4m 55s
    2. Editing blog posts
      3m 20s
    3. Adding new pages
      2m 59s
    4. Including images
      6m 59s
    5. Adding videos to posts
      2m 55s
  5. 18m 12s
    1. Understanding WordPress structure
      3m 52s
    2. Activating a theme
      7m 21s
    3. Setting up a child theme
      6m 59s
  6. 1h 29m
    1. Updating the page structure and the background
      12m 53s
    2. Working with web fonts
      4m 3s
    3. Styling a header
      11m 48s
    4. Adding header functions
      7m 40s
    5. Setting up content columns
      10m 9s
    6. Changing the main content
      5m 17s
    7. Managing the content code
      4m 48s
    8. Customizing the sidebar
      10m 32s
    9. Styling search
      7m 8s
    10. Working with search text
      5m 49s
    11. Integrating the footer
      9m 40s
  7. 27m 18s
    1. Setting up media queries
      6m 12s
    2. Customizing for tablets
      12m 19s
    3. Building smartphone layouts
      8m 47s
  8. 23m 28s
    1. Working with categories and posts
      5m 31s
    2. Developing category-driven pages
      11m 22s
    3. Changing headers by category
      6m 35s
  9. 36m 32s
    1. Adding Spry accordion panels
      17m 44s
    2. Working with Spry form validation
      11m 56s
    3. Integrating jQuery functionality
      6m 52s
  10. 11m 7s
    1. Understanding WordPress plugins
      6m 20s
    2. Styling plugin output
      4m 47s
  11. 25m 44s
    1. Customizing the Dashboard
      6m 52s
    2. Working with WordPress functions
      8m 7s
    3. Including administration interactivity
      10m 45s
  12. 13m 10s
    1. Setting up the data in WordPress
      2m 17s
    2. Adding dynamic data from WordPress to your web pages
      10m 53s
  13. 11m 38s
    1. Modifying general settings
      4m 12s
    2. Setting up users
      3m 11s
    3. Restricting access to specific WordPress pages
      4m 15s
  14. 26m 38s
    1. Exporting and importing WordPress files
      7m 9s
    2. Backing up and restoring the database
      8m 10s
    3. Transferring files
      6m 3s
    4. Testing and fine-tuning
      5m 16s
  15. 18s
    1. Next steps
      18s

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Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts
5h 44m Intermediate May 27, 2010 Updated Oct 23, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Joseph Lowery shows how to combine the utility of WordPress and the power of Adobe Dreamweaver to transition existing websites to the WordPress platform. The course demonstrates how to create new blog posts and pages, customize WordPress themes, and extend WordPress editable pages from within Dreamweaver. It also covers how to add Spry elements, add and customize plugins, and enhance WordPress-stored content with Dreamweaver's dynamic pages. Plus, a chapter on responsive design shows how you can adapt your layouts for tablets and mobile devices.

Topics include:
  • Using the Dynamically-Related Files feature in Dreamweaver to design WordPress pages
  • Applying WordPress themes
  • Customizing themes
  • Adding Spry widgets
  • Adding WordPress dynamic data
  • Populating the WordPress database
  • Publishing a WordPress site
Subjects:
Web CMS Blogs Web Design
Software:
Dreamweaver WordPress
Author:
Joseph Lowery

Customizing the Dashboard

While the WordPress administration implementation is sophisticated and powerful, it's not carved in stone. In this lesson, I will show you how to remove unwanted features, add new content, and even customize the login screen with your client's brand. Let's start by reducing the clutter on the dashboard. The Dashboard is comprised of a series of widgets, some more informative than others, and some more pertinent than others for the standard client. All of the widgets are divided in two areas, the left, which is referred to as Normal by the WordPress programmers, obviously, all south-paws, and the right, which is known as the Side.

Now, to remove them, we will need to know which is which, as well as their id names. The ones I am targeting, WordPress Blog and Other WordPress News, are both on the side. Here is a list of the current dashboard widgets and their positions, Normal or Side. You will notice that WordPress Blog is known as dashboard_primary, and it's on the side, and Other News has an id of dashboard_secondary. In this lesson, all the action is in the theme's function file.

So let's head over to Dreamweaver and hone in on the functions.php page that's within the roux theme folder, which is this middle one here. So I am going to go ahead and go into Code view. And as you can see, we just have a couple of functions so far, and now let's go ahead and add one more. To make life a bit simpler, I've prepared a series of snippets for this lesson. Let's go to File > Open and then navigate to the Desktop, in our Exercise Files, open up Chapter 10/10_01 and open custom_dashboard_functions.php.

So this has three different snippets of code. Let's look at the first one initially, which will remove unwanted widgets from the dashboard. So dashboard widgets are all stored in a global variable called wp_meta_boxes, and that's what that first line addresses. Next, you see the unset function on line 4 and 5 here, and this will remove anything that's already there, and it's removing from the wp_meta_boxes on the dashboard side elements, not normal ones, but side, that are part of the core and then their id, dashboard_primary and dashboard_secondary.

Now, after the function ends, there is an add_action which calls that function. All right. So copy this little bit of code, move over to our functions page, and I am going to put it at the end, right after my two existing functions. I like to keep my functions separated by individual lines wherever I can. So once that's pasted in, let's go ahead and save it. Now, let's head back to the dashboard and keep an eye on WordPress Blog and Other WordPress News here, after I click Refresh. And now you see that they are no longer there.

So that's how you remove something from the dashboard, but how do you add something? Let's add a small help widget with some helpful info to illustrate the process. Let's switch back to Dreamweaver and my little snippet file here, and I will scroll down so we can concentrate on the second bit of code where it sets up a function called contact_help, and this is the text that will appear in my little widget. Notice that it has an echo statement, that's a PHP function for printing something out, and I have just some basic text in quotes here.

The next function register_widget actually adds the dashboard widget as the function wp_add_dashboard_widget says. And the first argument you see there, contact help widget is the widget id, Need help? Is the title and contact_help is the function name. Finally, there is the add_action to hook in these functions into the existing WordPress installation. It's going to hook into the dashboard_setup, and the function that will be hooked in is register_widgets.

Okay, let's copy this, and again, paste it at the bottom of our function file. I will save the page, and let's head back to Dashboard and do another Refresh, and we'll scroll down, and there is our Need help? option right there on the left at the bottom, unobtrusive, but available. Finally, let's add a little branding to our WordPress installation. The very first encounter that your clients and their workers will have with the WordPress application is the login screen.

I am going to log out, so we can take a quick look at it. So if I go up to where it says Howdy, admin and then choose Log Out, that will bring me back to the default WordPress login screen. Now, as you can see, WordPress is front in center, but Roux Academy is nowhere to be seen. Let's go back to Dreamweaver and remedy that situation. First, I am going to need to copy an image that I created for the login screen. We'll find that also in the Chapter 10/10_01 folder, and I will use Finder to go get it.

You want to pick up ralogo_admin.png, and we're going to put it in the htdocs/roux_academy/ blog folder, drill down to wp-content/themes/roux/_images. Paste that right in, and you will see it there. Okay, let's close that window, and now we'll go back to Dreamweaver and get the code from my snippet file for this final operation. Here, we have a function called custom_login_logo, and it echoes out a bit of HTML that will replace the existing h1 anchor tag which utilizes the WordPress background image, and we'll change that so that we have our own background image, as you can see, here in _images/ralogo_admin.png.

I am going to go ahead and set !important to make sure that it takes precedence. We'll add_action, we'll hook in this function to the login_head function. So, let's copy that, and in our functions.php page, paste it right in. I will save the page, go back to our browser and click Refresh. Now the logo has been replaced with a Roux Academy specific logo and the clients will be assured that they're in the right place when they first come to log in.

This lesson is really just the start of what's possible in customizing the dashboard. In other lessons in this chapter, you will see how to add new functionality, as well as interactivity.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Dreamweaver and WordPress: Core Concepts.


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Q: While trying to set up a Dreamweaver site, an error occurs that says Dreamweaver cannot resolve the dynamic files because the site definition is incorrect. What is causing this? This is using WAMP on a Windows 7 computer.
A: When setting up the site in Dreamweaver and creating a local testing server, make sure to point it to the folder in c:/wamp/www/ that is being used for the site. If using the same naming convention as shown in the videos, the server folder should be pointing to C:\wamp\www\explore_ca\ and the Web URL field should read http://localhost/explore_ca/, like the picture here:

Q: How do I set the password for WAMP Server 2?
A: The WAMP server does not include a password for MySQL when first installed. You’ll need to add a password by modifying a configuration text file and set up a password in the MySQL server.
Setting a password on the MySQL server:

  1. From the Start menu, enter CMD to open the command line interface.
  2. Switch to the bin directory of your MySQL folder, installed by WAMP. For version 5.1.36 of MySQL, for example, enter cd c:\wamp\bin\mysql\mysql5.1.36\bin
    Navigate within the WAMP folder installed on your system to find the proper path.
  3.  Enter the following: mysql -u root
  4. The command line for MySQL will open with a mysql prompt like this: mysql>
  5. Enter the following:
    SET PASSWORD for 'root'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('yourPassword');
    - replace 'yourPassword' with the password you want to use. 
  6. Close the CMD window.
Setting the password in the phpMyAdmin config file:
After you change the MySQL password you will have to edit the config.inc.php file. Here's how:
  1. In Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\wamp\apps\phpmyadmin3.2.0.1 (version number may vary). 
  2. Open the file config.inc.php in Dreamweaver or another text editor.
  3. Locate the following line:
    $cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] = '';
  4. Enter your password between the quotes; make sure the password is the same as the one you set in the MySQL server.
  5. Save the file.
  6. From the system tray icon for WAMP, choose Restart All Services.
  7. To test, choose phpMyAdmin from the WAMP system tray icon.

Q: After creating a template following the instructions in the Chapter 5 video “Creating a page template in Dreamweaver,” I am unable to select the template. In the video, the instructor’s page shows a heading of Template, with a dropdown menu, but my version shows only a dropdown labeled “Attributes,” and the newly created template does not appear. What is causing this issue?
A: This seems to be a bug in WordPress that occurs occasionally. Although a cause has yet to be determined, a possible workaround to get the Template option to appear is switch themes. Switching to the default theme and then back again to Explore_California should reveal the Template option.
Q: While following along with the instructions in the "Setting up a MySQL password for Windows," I encountered this error: MySQL said: "#1045 – Access denied for user ‘root’@’localhost’ (using password: NO)" What is causing this error?
A: This error occurs when trying to enter the MySQL monitor with a password for a user who has not set a password yet. In that case, removing the “-u root” part should resolve the problem.
Q: While following along to the chapter 2 movie "Using dynamically related files," I get an error message that reads: "Dynamically-related files could not be resolved because the site definition is not correct for this server." What is causing this error?
A: This is a known issue with Dreamweaver, and relates to the permalink settings in the WordPress installation. If the permalink setting is set to something other than the default, like “Month & Name,” for example, Dreamweaver is unable to resolve the dynamic files, and the described error will occur. Changing the permalink setting back to Default will clear the error.
Q: I am bit confused as to my need to use MAMP with a WordPress site in Dreamweaver. If I am going to use a separate commercial hosting site as my server, do I still need to use MAMP in my WordPress site?
A: MAMP is installed to provide an easy-to-use development server capable of handling MySQL and PHP on your local computer. It's also possible to set up MySQL and PHP servers separately, but it requires many more steps and is not as "user-friendly" as the described process. Your hosting server will have MySQL/PHP enabled on their servers for the remote live setup, but that doesn't have anything to do with developing and testing pages on your own computer.
Q: I can't find the file named commevents.php in the exercise files. I need it to set up an online database in the last chapter.
A: This is a file you create yourself when you first connect to a database. Refer to the "Adding WordPress dynamic data to pages" video in Chapter 7. commevents.php should appear in the Connections folder once you establish a connection.
Q:  In "Setting up a MySQL password for Windows", I'm getting the error "#1045 - Access denied for user 'root'@'localhost'" when testing the phpMyAdmin.

If I try and re-do the steps, I get the following error "ERROR 1044 (42000): Access denied for user ''@'localhost' to database mysql'" when I try to change the password.
A: This seems to be happening because of the combination of Windows 7 and a
new version of WampServer 2.1. Here's another approach that should work
for the new combination.

Follow these steps instead of the ones using the CMD prompt. (As a bonus, they're much easier!)
  1. Left-click on the WampServer icon tray.
  2. Choose phpMyAdmin.
  3. When the phpMyAdmin page opens in your browser, click the Privileges tab found after the Engines tab.
  4. Locate the line in the User table with "root - localhost - No..." (probably the last one).
  5. Click the Edit icon (the final item in the row).
  6. Scroll down to the Change Password section.
  7. Select Password and enter your password twice. (If you're following the exercises, enter root).
  8. Click Go in the lower-right corner.
Now follow the rest of the steps in "Setting up a MySQL password for Windows" video, starting at the 4:13 mark. This is where you use a text editor to make a change in the config.inc PHP file and restart all WampServer services when you're done.
Q:  I want to setup the practice files and site on my localhost, as described; however, I already have my current WordPress site (under development) running on my localhost. How do I run two WordPress sites on my localhost?
A:  You can easily do it by setting up another site in Dreamweaver. Just copy the WordPress files to that folder as described and establish a new database via phpMyAdmin. You can set up as many WordPress sites as you need to. The author has upwards of 80 on his system, all for different clients.
Q: This course was updated on 10/23/2012. What changed?
A: The course was thoroughly revised and uses the most current versions of both programs. We added chapters on responsive design and creating a custom administration panel in WordPress, new movies about concepts and taxonomies, and extended the Spry chapter to include jQuery, among other changes. New movies are indicated by the NEW tag next to the movie name.
 
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