Missing Admin Screens for Public Templates

January 22nd, 2014

WordPress is a great content management system, but it lacks some basic core features. Even though it is built to be extended by plugins and themes, it should at least provide admin support for all public templates, not just post and pages. If you don’t know it yet, there are also templates like 404 page, search results page and archive pages. If you want to edit any of them, you’d need to be a developer to change the template code inside a theme or a plugin. There is nice solution for linking Front page and Posts page to static page template inside reading settings, but it only applies to those two templates and nothing else.

Current static page settings

Current static page settings

The Problem

  • Setting up static front page and posts page is too confusing and must be set inside Settings / Reading, away from actual page editing.
  • You cannot assign 404 or Search results static page as you do with Front and Posts page.
  • You cannot control permalinks of your custom post type archives without editing the code.
  • You cannot assign settings screen to custom post type archives page by default.
  • Non-English websites are usually stuck with their custom post type permalink structure.
  • Page and custom post type permalinks can overlap. If you have a custom post type archive set to the same slug name as your page, you page will not work.
  • Editing mentioned templates is not easy.

The Solution

Proposed static page settings

Proposed static page settings

It would be better if we added select box to each page editing screen, where user would set that page as a missing template. Pages would have select options: ‘Set as search results page’, ‘Set as front page’, ‘Set as Posts page’, ‘Set as post type archive’. Now, it is really confusing and I have to explain each user that there are Reading Settings, where they can set up static front page and posts page.

It’s a really simple usability improvement. If this option was also filterable, developers could add their own plugin templates to select box. WooCommerce example: ‘Set as a shop page’ would be available on pages. bbPress example: ‘Set as a forums page’ would be available on pages.

Idea has been submitted to WordPress, but Mika Epstein wasn’t a big fan of it.

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