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If WordPress were just for creating blogs, we could stop the course right now, but there's so much more that WordPress can do. And much of it revolves around its use of categories. As in life, a category in WordPress is used for grouping, you can create and apply an unlimited number of categories to any or all of your posts. As you will see later in this chapter you can use WordPress categories to control the look and feel of your site pages. In this lesson we'll lay the foundation necessary to gain that control. Let's start by going into our WordPress Dashboard.
If I hover over Posts, you'll see in the fly-out a sub-option called Categories. Click that and you can see on the right that we have one category cleverly named Uncategorized that serves as the initial default category. On the left is the area for adding new categories. Let's do that now. So I'll click into the Name field and name my new category Courses. Press tab, and in the slug I'll use the same name but lowercase. The slug identifier will come in very handy when we get to building custom pages using categories later in this chapter.
Let's leave both Parent and Description at their default settings for now. Scroll down a tad and click Add New Category. So there is our new category, now let's go put it to use. I'm going to switch to All Posts and click on the Video Production Project Online. Over on the right, you can see my list of categories. Now that's been updated to include courses. So I'm going to clear Uncategorized and choose Courses. Let's click Update.
And now I'm going to go head and create a new category so I can show you one of this feature's distinguishing characteristics, the ability to create hierarchies. So I'll click Categories and here I'll name my new category Video Production, and the Slug will have the same name but lowercase and separated by a Hyphen instead of a Space. A Hyphen is used because slugs are often used in filenames, and you can't have spaces in the filenames. So now I'm going to change Parent from None to Courses.
Again, we'll leave Description blank and just click on Add New Category. Though WordPress will represent any sort of hierarchy visually, there is really no limit to the number of levels that you can use for your hierarchy, so I could have something below Video Production here, and something below that, and so on. Now you may have been wondering, what's the difference between categories and tags? You'll notice that there is a Tag option over here under Posts as well. Well, this hierarchical capability is really the key one.
So now that we have our new category set up, let's assign it. And this time we'll switch to All Posts and use the Quick Edit feature, and here you can see the categories in the center. I'll keep courses listed because this is still course related and then just add Video Production. Now I'll click Update, and you can see Courses has been changed to two levels, and you can see the category entry for my post has been updated to include both Courses and Video Production. So how is this affecting our page? Let's switch back to Dreamweaver and check it out.
I'm going to go ahead and just hit Refresh, so I'm in Live view. Let me scroll down to where Categories is listed, and I'll hit Refresh. Watch the categories while I do it. Now we have our new categories there, but we still have Uncategorized, which is kind of unsightly. Let's head back to the Dashboard to see how to clear that up. Now if I go to Categories, and I look over my categories there is Courses, and you can see that there is a Delete option, Video Production same thing. If I try the same thing with Uncategorized, which I want to delete, I can't, there is no Delete option.
And the reason there is no Delete option is because it's the default, so we'll have to change the default to something else before we can delete Uncategorized. To do that we'll need to go to Settings > Writing, and here we see the default post category, Uncategorized, and I'm going to choose Courses instead. Let's scroll down and Save Changes. My settings are saved, so now let's head back to Categories. I should see a Delete option, and I do under Uncategorized, so I'll delete that, say OK.
And before we go back to Dreamweaver, let's add one more category to handle our existing posts and also to set up our work with pages and categories. The category I am going to add is called Conference, and we'll use the same word in lowercase for the slug. No parents yet, no description, Add New Category. So let's go to our post, and we'll Quick Edit Roux Academy Art Conference and set that as the new category. Now you'll notice that Courses is selected as a category right now, and that's because we had switched the default category from uncategorized courses.
All right, so let's update it and head back to Dreamweaver and see how everything is working. I'll click Refresh again, and I now have under Categories, Conference, Courses, and Video Production. Now that you understand how to manage your categories on the WordPress side, you're ready to dive into working with category-driven page templates.
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