Tag: Mass Page Maker

The WordPress community is a great group of people dedicated to furthering a terrific open-source product. After setting up my website originally, I began messing around with plugin code to see what I could do. PHP got more and more interesting, and eventually I was able to release my first plugin, Comment Connection. That got me thinking, and after reading a WordPress forum post, I wrote Mass Page Maker, which now has 3,500 downloads as of July 27.

This post is dedicated to explaining more about the plugin, and chronicle updates I make.

v1.0


The first release was very straight forward. It was basically a form that filled out the information found in the post table of the WordPress database. While it did the job that the initial forum post had suggested, it did not offer category, template or any other details on the page. All supporting entries in the database were basically ignored.

As is the case with most software releases, I added multiple features in the next few releases. Shortly after releasing 1.0, a user requested the ability to add separate titles for each page. This was added to v1.1, along with additional page properties (comments and pings) and a better way to protect from faults, or improperly filled out pages.

Version 1.1.1 and 1.2 mostly smoothed out the code, but also included the ability to add categories. This was not as straightforward as I had hoped, because of the way WordPress associates categories. Rather than simply add a field to the database query, I had to add an additional query to the category table. It was a good challenge to make it work properly, while still making it super fast to add at least 100 pages (my goal throughout writing the plugin was to make it as efficient as possible).

Each of the next versions added an additional feature — mostly those requested by comments to the original post. Page parents were added, and it became possible to add different content to each page. That was another good challenge, because I had to add arrays to deal with the different page data.

Finally, the big deal with version 1 was that someone asked to translate the plugin into German. I really appreciated this because it meant something I made was being used in a different country, and people wanted to contribute. Speaking of that, if you’d also like to translate any of the plugins I’ve made, please email wesg [at] wesg [dot] ca.

v2.0


As should be expected with version 2.0 of any software, this version brought many changes. The primary changes were additions to the date/time handling system of the plugin. Again as a result of comments, I made it possible to add pages with specific dates, either in the past or future. In addition, an interval was added so that pages could be entered with a customizable space between them. This update was complex to write, as the time and date system requires multiple computations to make everything fit together. The biggest issue was the cron system, or the component that publishes posts in the future. There are still slight problems with my implementation, but it’s a work in progress.


Version 2.5 brought a feature that has generated the most feedback I’ve ever had for a plugin. The comma separated values component of the plugin means that multiple posts can be entered at once, all with unique properties. Since many programs can output the format, it makes adding hundreds of pages to the database very easy. Of course, this added a lot of complexity to the plugin. In the end, I was able to build it in such a way that I can now use different methods of entering pages, without changing the major elements.

Continuing with the user comments, version 2.5.3 includes custom field support. The next few updates simply fixed the CSV component of the plugin.

V2.5.6 brought updates that help me as a developer. When the CSV import or web page interface doesn’t work, I have to figure out what failed, and how to fix it for the future. This update included checks while the CSV file is being processed that find errors in the format. By explaining immediately what is wrong, users can more easily enter data.

After hearing about problems with MPM and WP 2.8, I looked them up with version 2.5.8. Additionally, tag support was included. Due to the way WordPress interacts with the database, tags are a very involved process, that require loops, processing and updates. Despite all this, MPM still inserts pages faster than other methods, and offers much more customization.

Version 2.6 finally solved the WP 2.8.x problem. It turns out that WP 2.8 changed the database structure, and the plugin was trying to insert an entry to a column that no longer exists. That is one of the problems with developing a plugin: constant maintenance is required to keep compatibility up.

Like the plugin? Want to help test the latest version and eliminate bugs? Email wesg [at] wesg [ca] to find out how you can help.
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I’ve received a lot of feedback for the CSV feature I added to my Mass Page Maker WordPress plugin. Most of the responses were positive, about how much time users will save, which I really like to hear. There were also comments about invalid CSV files, making the job significantly harder.

To try to solve those problems, I’ve made a page on the site that generates text that can be saved in a CSV file, based on the same elements the plugin uses. While still requiring manual user input, it can save time by ensuring the file works properly with the plugin on the first try. It will escape all characters that require it.

I’m still working on automatically generating the actual file itself, but the current page should help to build files that work properly with the plugin.

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This post was written using Mass Page Maker v2.5.2 and was scheduled to publish at 12:45 EST.

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This post was set up as a test of the scheduled (cron) behaviour of the Mass Page Maker 2.5.1 plugin.

It should be posted at 5:00 PM EST.

UPDATE: It only published after I changed the time in the editor, so clearly I’m missing something important.

UPDATE: The GUID field in the database appears to be the culprit. Version 2.5.2 seems to have brought the plugin up to speed.

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As of February 24, 2013, there is a new version of this plugin that I will be updating. Called Mass Page Maker Pro, it has new features like a customizable CSV format and improved web UI, but costs money.

This older, free version will continue to be available. If you’ve gotten any value from the plugin before, please consider purchasing the full version to get all future updates.

UPDATE — March 19, 2013
After a conversation with the WordPress plugin repository staff, it looks like the updated free version of this plugin will not be listed in the directory, making this the only place to download it. I will continue to provide the last free full featured version for download, but cannot support it.

Ever had the need to create multiple pages or posts and dreaded the idea of doing it manually?

Mass Page Maker is an admin panel that gives you the ability to create as many pages or posts as you like in a matter of seconds. It can create posts and pages that are customized with every aspect of a regular WordPress page.

It is a more human-readable way for users to insert new posts, compared to the native WordPress XML importer.

Customizations
If you need to import data to WordPress and it seems like this plugin can almost do the job, send me an email with what how you’d like the plugin to be different. I can work with you to develop a customized version, but I must change for the service: $25/hour with a minimum charge of $50.

Tested most recently with WordPress 3.3.1. Please send feedback via the contact page or post a comment.

Table of Contents

Translations

Mass Page Maker is compatible with WordPress’ locale system. If you are interested in translating for your locale, please comment below or email w [at] wesg [dot] ca. If you’re particularly ambitious, translate the .PO file in the plugin download and send back to that address.
Current Translations

Thanks for helping to translate!

Download v2.7 of Mass Page Maker

Usage

  • Fill out the fields in the admin panel according to what your needs are. If you include [+], the plugin automatically inserts the incremented data.
  • As of version 2.7, the web interface inserts posts with the same data. If you want unique pages, please use a CSV file.
  • Entering a post date in the future will result in the post being published at that time.
  • Use a CSV (comma separated value) file to insert a large number of customized pages.
  • The plugin can handle nearly all the regular WordPress options.

Example:
If the name of your post is New Page [+] and you want 5 pages written, the resulting pages will be


New Page 1
New Page 2
New Page 3
New Page 4
New Page 5

Custom fields example:
To add two new fields to your new posts, use semicolons.


phone; address --> 123 456 7890; 123 fake st

This results in each new post having both of those fields associated with it.

Using CSV files

The plugin supports importing CSV files to add multiple posts very quickly. While being more powerful when entering pages, it is also more complicated. You must follow a specific format when building files.

Please view the sample file before adding your own. Be advised that while the sample file will work, it contains mostly irrelevant data to a blog.

The CSV file must have exactly 15 columns. Any columns that aren’t used must be included, but kept blank (ie. “”).

When using Excel to create CSV files, be sure to check the use of quotation marks before uploading the file to the plugin. Excel has a tendency to get confused when fields of text use quotation marks inside.

Format to follow
Each line in a CSV file follows a pattern separated by commas that turns the file into a makeshift database. The MPM CSV follows this pattern:

  • Page title
    Regular post title value
  • Page publishing date (in the timezone of your WordPress installation)
    Must follow the format YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS. The seconds are optional. The plugin will verify the format before inserting the file.
  • Post content (commas and quotation marks must be escaped using the \\ character)
    Escape the quotations and apostrophes with the backslash character.
  • Post excerpt (same restrictions as content)
  • Post category
    The category title.
  • Post parent
    The page ID of the parent post (only valid on pages). Default should be 0.
  • Page template
    The PHP file in your template directory you want to use (ie. contact.php). “Default” is the default template.
  • Post status
    One of the following list: publish, draft, private.
  • Post type
    Either post or page.
  • Comment status
    Open or closed.
  • Ping status
    Open or closed.
  • Custom key
    Post meta field (doesn’t have to previously exist). Separate different fields with semicolons — be sure to surround the field in quotations (ie. “field 1; field 2”) Can be empty.
  • Custom key value
    Corresponding post meta value. Separate different values with semicolons (ie. “value 1; value 2”) Can be empty.
  • Tags
    Enter tags separated by commas Can be empty.
  • Post password
    The post password Can be empty.

Escaping characters
To clarify some of the questions coming in, here is an overview of how to escape characters when using CSV. Inside the sample file, you’ll note that fields are either surrounded by quotation marks or not. When fields are surrounded by quotation marks, any extra quotation marks inside the text must be escaped (ex.1) and when there are no quotation marks, all commas need to be escaped (ex.2). The latest version of the plugin appears to import Excel .CSV files correctly, so that is a good way to format everything correctly. Be sure that lines are deleted, and not only blank (otherwise they include useless lines).

, “Sample field with \” inside the text”, , Sample field\, with comma escaped,
, “Sample field with improper ” inside the text”, , Sample field, with comma improperly escaped,

Caution: This plugin is extremely powerful. A slip of the mouse can cause your blog to insert many more pages than you intended, which can take a lot of time to delete. Read the options carefully before inserting pages.

Installation

  1. Copy the folder mass-page-maker to your WordPress plugin folder (usually wp-content/plugins).
  2. Open the WordPress Admin Panel and activate the plugin.
  3. Navigate to your Option panel, where you will see the plugin’s interface.

FAQ

What is the purpose of this plugin?
Mass Page Maker automates the task of making pages or posts that are similar to each other. This can be a very time consuming process that can now be done in a matter of seconds.

What options are available?
In the interface panel, you have the ability to customize the page insertion.
You can change:

  • Number of pages
  • Starting number of page
  • Post/Page title
  • Post/Page content
  • Post/Page status (published or draft)
  • Post/Page type
  • Post/Page category
  • Page parents
  • Page excerpts
  • Specific page dates
  • Time interval between pages
  • Page template
  • Page visibility/password

How many pages can I enter at once?
This will depend on the hardware of your server and your patience. Using a modest development server, I have been able to insert 2500+ pages in around 1 minute.

Screenshot

Click for a larger view.

Changelog

v2.7 — March 10, 2012
* Major overhaul for WP 3.3.1
* Uses WordPress native functions
* Provides immediate progress feedback during CSV import

v2.6.7 — July 19, 2010
* Rewritten for WP 3.0
* Improved the reliability of the CSV and web interface
* Fixed tags in CSVs

v2.6.6 — December 17, 2009
* Added support for page orders
* Improved handling of escaped characters in CSV and web interface
* Various other bug fixes

v2.6.4 — August 20, 2009
* Repaired category support

v2.6.3 — August 10, 2009
* Cleaned page insertion problem
* Repaired template issues

v2.6.2 — August 9, 2009
* Fixed quotation handling

v2.6.1 — August 9, 2009
* Improved quotation handling
* Added page visibility options

v2.6 — July 23, 2009
* Fixed WP 2.8.x compatibility

v2.5.9 — July 22, 2009
* Added troubleshooting information

v2.5.8 — June 28, 2009
* Improved support for WP 2.8
* Added tag support
* Better compatibility with CSV files

v2.5.7 — May 17, 2009
* Added better compatibility and feedback with CSV files

v2.5.6 — April 30, 2009
* Added placeholder support
* Added better troubleshooting feedback for CSV files

v.2.5.5 — April 6, 2009
* fixed increment tag in page content and excerpt

v2.5.4 — March 21, 2009
* Made custom field work in each way
* Add German translation

v2.5.3 — March 18, 2009
* Added custom field support

v2.5.2 — March 15, 2009
* Finally fixed future posting cron errors

v2.5.1 — March 14, 2009
* Corrected some type wrong in v2.5

v2.5 — March 14, 2009
* Corrected cron behaviour with future posts
* Added page template option
* Add CSV file imports

v2.1 — February 8, 2009
* fixed what should have worked in 2.0

v2.0 — February 6, 2009
* Overhauled date and time system
* Added page excerpt data
* Added ability to insert posts in the future or the past

v1.5 — January 18, 2009
* Added ability to create pages with different content

v1.5 — January 18, 2009
* Added ability to create pages with different content

v1.4 — January 6, 2009
* Updated for WordPress 2.7
* Completed localization capability

v1.3 — November 1, 2008
* Enabled page parents
* Made the plugin compatible with WordPress internationalization

v1.2 — September 2, 2008
* Enabled adding categories to posts
* Optimized code

v1.1.1 — July 28, 2008
* Cleaned up code and readme file

v1.1 — June 19, 2008
* Added support for multiple page titles
* Built fault tolerance in
* Added new ways to enter pages faster
* Posts and pages can how have comments and pings that are open or closed

v1.0 –– June 18, 2008
* Initial release

View all plugins

For those looking for a solution to proper Excel usage with the CSV feature, Adam, of http://beernews.org/ offers this suggestion:

For any people using only Excel to alter CSV files and get errors when uploading, I think I have your fix.

1) Download the original CSV sample file here and right-click to open the file w/ notepad. Keep it open.

2) Right-click the sample again but open with Excel. Save in Excel. Right-click to open w/ Notepad again. See a difference (i.e. extra quotations all over the place?)

3) Excel puts double quotations around cells (aka fields) where there is a quotation by default but there is a workaround. Go to http://www.mcgimpsey.com/excel/textfiles.html

4) Scroll down to the heading ‘Text files with no modification’ and copy that code underneath.

5) Open that sample csv file back up in Excel

6) Click on Visual Basic Editor in Excel (I think you need to click on Macros in 2003 version or Developer tab in 2007 version)

7) Right-click sheet 1, click on insert module and paste the big code into the large white text box that opens up.

8) Click back to Excel view and click Run Macro. Choose the one that says ‘Text no modification’ and click run.

9) Check the directory on your local machine where you saved the sample file and look for test.txt. Open in notepad, save the file as a CSV file. But do you notice there are no more double quotes everywhere??

10) Upload new CSV file…seems like a pain, but this honestly takes about 2 minutes to do once you’ve learned it. 30 min learning curve.

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