How can I easily blog the same things, over and over?
November 21, 2007 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Need help with specific Wordpress data entry conundrum.

We're using Wordpress for a very specific data management purpose - managing our radio station playlist. Each post in the "playlist" category is a single song, with the artist/title ("Coldplay: In My Place," for instance) in the title of the post. The body of the post is blank.

This works great, integrates with other blog aspects/categories, gives us a nice clickable calendar, etc. Snazzy.

But ... we have a regularly rotating field of about 2,000 songs that come up on a recurring basis, and we don't want the jocks to have to type them in every time. (To be specific, it's four lists: 2 lists of about 20 songs each, and 2 lists of about 1,000 songs each).

I'm trying to figure out the best, most elegant, most goof-proof way to make it easy for jocks to enter a song into the playlist each time they start the CD player. Some ideas I've had:

1. Hack the edit-form-advanced.php file, which contains the HTML for the "write post" form, and create drop-down menus for each list. This scares me a little because there's stuff in there I don't quite understand; I also believe it would need two separate functional forms, one for the drop-down menus that contain the songs and a separate one for songs that aren't on any of the lists.

2. Use a downloaded, client-side blogging utility that has some kind of memory function. Not even sure if there is such a thing, but I know there are downloadables (or browser plug-ins?) that provide a friendly blogging front-end.

3. Use WP's "blog by email" function, and build a separate HTML page with a variety of drop-down menus (plus a text field for songs not on any of the lists). A little bit scared of this idea because it seems like someone could easily find the email address being used and take over; also, there's a lag involved and some page-refresh stuff that impacts the amount of time between the post and it showing up on the playlist.

I have a feeling there's some simpler solution that I'm not seeing, in a forest-for-the-trees way. To recap: I need an easy way for a variety of people (all of whom will be using the same computer) to easily pick a string of text from one or more lists, and write a Wordpress post with that string as the title. There must also be an option to type in a string, if the desired string isn't on any of the lists. Bonus points if those lists can be updated easily.
posted by jbickers to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: One bit of clarification: This is the public-facing playlist, the one that listeners can check to see "what was that song they played at 3:16?" The time-stamping thing is one of the reasons a blog solution is so desirable.
posted by jbickers at 12:19 PM on November 21, 2007

Split the fields into a dropdown list and a freeform text box with a radio button to select between them. Populate the dropdown with the names already in the database, and if the required name isn't there, then the user can click the radio button to use the freeform text box and input the new name. Or song, or whatever. I'm obviously not a WP expert though, so there may be more native solutions that don't involve editing the php.
posted by rhizome at 12:36 PM on November 21, 2007

I'd hack the edit form, or pay someone to do so. What you want is a couple of menus (artist/track name) that can be used to populate the Title field, but don't need to be used to populate it, so that one-offs can be typed in by hand. This part is simple--a little javascript will copy the current menu selection into the title field.

Dealing with 2000 track names is, uh, intractable in a menu, so you'd want to do this hierarchically: select an artist, and then have the relevant tracks appear in a second menu. With type-ahead in the menu, this should be tolerable, although perhaps less than ideal.

You'll need to come up with the data used to fill in those menus. This could probably be done by extracting data from your WP database, or entered by hand. If you get really fancy, you'll have new one-off entries added to the menu listing. The form that data takes is another question (xml file, flat file, SQL table) best left to a developer.

You'd probably want to hire a developer to do this, and you'd probably want it as a plug-in for greater functionality. It shouldn't be too hard.
posted by adamrice at 12:38 PM on November 21, 2007

not functionality, forward compatibility.
posted by adamrice at 12:38 PM on November 21, 2007

I'd probably create an alternate page in the admin thinger for entering "this is just a song" entries[1]; and have a handy-dandy super-duper convenient interface for picking songs from the lists.

Maybe that interface would have two text fields for typing in; one for artist and one for the song title. Both of those text fields might use one of those fandangled javascript libraries that's kicking around that does clever auto-completion using the source lists as the collection of things to auto-complete to.

That interface might also include a dropdown which contains the two shorter lists of songs, so if it's in that set of songs, it can be added that little bit faster.

[1] It avoids messing up core WordPress code (this is handy when you want to upgrade <: ), and, well, for what you're doing you don't need most of the guff on that page anyway.
posted by ambilevous at 12:00 AM on November 22, 2007

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