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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.
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