QuickPress Category – Extending Functionality

Following on from a discussion on the WordPress.org support forums, and posts to both the ideas section, and trac which deals with bugs, features, enhancements and the general WordPress source code, i’m turning my efforts to blogging about changes i’d like to see in the QuickPress widget shown in the WordPress dashboard.

For reference, the relevant tickets and discussion.
Trac ticket: http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/13038
Ideas ticket: http://wordpress.org/extend/ideas/topic/quickpress-category-need-hooks
Forum topic: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/317373

Seems WordPress.com users also want categories in QuickPress.

In my comments on the trac ticket i mentioned a proof of concept(PoC) for using arrays to sort and filter the form elements in the QuickPress widget. Now bear in mind this is still a concept and by no means is intended as a proper patch, but below you will find a rewrite of the QuickPress widget function that i spent some time working on and testing (it’s also in patch form for Trac if anyone wants a patch/diff to test against).

Click here to skip past the function code (it’s 205 lines).

function wp_dashboard_quick_press() {
	$drafts = false;
	if ( 'post' === strtolower( $_SERVER['REQUEST_METHOD'] ) && isset( $_POST['action'] ) && 0 === strpos( $_POST['action'], 'post-quickpress' ) && (int) $_POST['post_ID'] ) {
		$view = get_permalink( $_POST['post_ID'] );
		$edit = esc_url( get_edit_post_link( $_POST['post_ID'] ) );
		if ( 'post-quickpress-publish' == $_POST['action'] ) {
			if ( current_user_can('publish_posts') )
				printf( '<div class="message"><p>' . __( 'Post Published. <a href="%s">View post</a> | <a href="%s">Edit post</a>' ) . '</p></div>', esc_url( $view ), $edit );
				printf( '<div class="message"><p>' . __( 'Post submitted. <a href="%s">Preview post</a> | <a href="%s">Edit post</a>' ) . '</p></div>', esc_url( add_query_arg( 'preview', 1, $view ) ), $edit );
		} else {
			printf( '<div class="message"><p>' . __( 'Draft Saved. <a href="%s">Preview post</a> | <a href="%s">Edit post</a>' ) . '</p></div>', esc_url( add_query_arg( 'preview', 1, $view ) ), $edit );
			$drafts_query = new WP_Query( array(
				'post_type' => 'post',
				'post_status' => 'draft',
				'author' => $GLOBALS['current_user']->ID,
				'posts_per_page' => 1,
				'orderby' => 'modified',
				'order' => 'DESC'
			) );

			if ( $drafts_query->posts )
				$drafts =& $drafts_query->posts;
		printf('<p class="textright">' . __('You can also try %s, easy blogging from anywhere on the Web.') . '</p>', '<a href="tools.php">' . __('Press This') . '</a>' );
		$_REQUEST = array(); // hack for get_default_post_to_edit()
	$post = get_default_post_to_edit();
	$form_el = array();
	// Indexes - Visual order of fields
	$indexes = array( 'title' => 1, 'media' => 2, 'content' => 3, 'tags' => 4 );
	// Tab Indexes - Tabbing order of fields that have a tab index
	$tab_indexes = array( 'title' => 1, 'content' => 2, 'tags' => 3 );
	$form_el = array( 'indexes' => $indexes, 'tab_indexes' => $tab_indexes );
	$form_el = apply_filters( 'quickpress_fields', $form_el );
	// Check indexes if filter is attached
	if( has_filter( 'quickpress_fields' ) ) {
		if( !isset( $form_el['indexes'] ) || !is_array( $form_el['indexes'] ) || empty( $form_el['indexes'] ) )
			$form_el['indexes'] = &$indexes;
			$form_el['indexes'] = array_map( 'absint', &$form_el['indexes'] );
		if( isset( $form_el['tab_indexes'] ) ) {
			if( !is_array( $form_el['tab_indexes'] ) || empty( $form_el['tab_indexes'] ) )
				$form_el['tab_indexes'] = &$tab_indexes;
				$form_el['tab_indexes'] = array_map( 'absint', &$form_el['tab_indexes'] );
		else {
			// If the tab index array is unset, create as empty array
			$form_el['tab_indexes'] = array();
		$form_el['indexes'] = array_filter( $form_el['indexes'] );
		foreach( $form_el as $el => $data ) {
			$el = esc_attr( $el );
			switch( $el ) {
				case 'tab_indexes':
				case 'indexes':
				case 0:
					unset( $form_el[0] );
					$form_el[$el] = $data;
	$title_tab = $content_tab = $tags_tab = $draft_tab = $save_tab = '';
	if( isset( $form_el['indexes']['title'] ) ) {
		if( isset( $form_el['tab_indexes']['title'] ) ) 
			$title_tab = 'tabindex="' . $form_el['tab_indexes']['title'] . '" ';

		$title_field = array(
			'label'        => '<label for="title">' . __('Title') . '</label>',
			'label_before' => '<h4>',
			'label_after'  => '</h4>',
			'input'        => '<input type="text" name="post_title" id="title" '.$title_tab.'autocomplete="off" value="' . esc_attr( $post->post_title ) . '" />',
			'input_before' => '<div class="input-text-wrap">',
			'input_after'  => '</div>'
		$form_el['title']   = $title_field;
	if( isset( $form_el['indexes']['content'] ) ) {
		if( isset( $form_el['tab_indexes']['content'] ) )
			$content_tab = 'tabindex="' . $form_el['tab_indexes']['content'] . '" ';
		$content_field = array(
			'label'        => '<label for="content">' . __('Content') . '</label>',
			'label_before' => '<h4>',
			'label_after'  => '</h4>',
			'input'        => '<textarea name="content" id="content" class="mceEditor" ' .$content_tab . 'rows="3" cols="15">' . $post->post_content . '</textarea>',
			'input_before' => '<div class="textarea-wrap">',
			'input_after'  => '</div>'."\n\t".'<script type="text/javascript">edCanvas = document.getElementById(\'content\');edInsertContent = null;</script>'
		$form_el['content'] = $content_field;
	if( isset( $form_el['indexes']['tags'] ) ) {
		if( isset( $form_el['tab_indexes']['tags'] ) )
			$tags_tab = 'tabindex="' . $form_el['tab_indexes']['tags'] . '" ';
		$tags_field = array(
			'label'        => '<label for="tags-input">' . __('Tags') . '</label>',
			'label_before' => '<h4>',
			'label_after'  => '</h4>',
			'input'        => '<input type="text" name="tax_input[post_tag]" '.$tags_tab.'value="' . get_terms_to_edit( $post->ID , 'post_tag' ) . '" />',
			'input_before' => '<div class="input-text-wrap">',
			'input_after'  => '</div>'
		$form_el['tags']    = $tags_field;
	// Sort index by array values
	asort( $form_el['indexes'] );
	if( isset( $form_el['tab_indexes'] ) && !empty( $form_el['tab_indexes'] ) )
		$tab_current = max( $form_el['tab_indexes'] );
		$tab_current = 0;

	if( !0 == $tab_current ) {
		$draft_tab = 'tabindex="' . $tab_current . '" ';
		$reset_tab = 'tabindex="' . $tab_current . '" ';
		$save_tab  = 'tabindex="' . $tab_current . '" ';
	echo '<form name="post" action="' . esc_url( admin_url( 'post.php' ) ) . '" method="post" id="quick-press">';
	do_action( 'quickpress_before_fields' );
	// Fields to be output are required to have a place in the index
	foreach( $form_el['indexes'] as $field => $index ) {
		// If no data for this index item, carry onto next item
		if( !isset( $form_el[$field] ) )
		// If data but missing required input, carry onto next item
		if( !isset( $form_el[$field]['input'] ) ) {
			unset( $form_el[$field] );
		if( 'content' == $field ) {
			if ( current_user_can( 'upload_files' ) ) {
				echo "\n\t";
				echo '<div id="media-buttons" class="hide-if-no-js">';
				do_action( 'media_buttons' );
				echo "\n\t";
				echo '</div>';
		echo "\n\t";
		// Before label
		if( isset( $form_el[$field]['label_before'] ) )
			echo $form_el[$field]['label_before'];		
		// Label
		if( isset( $form_el[$field]['label'] ) )
			echo $form_el[$field]['label'];
		// After label
		if( isset( $form_el[$field]['label_after'] ) )
			echo $form_el[$field]['label_after'];		
		echo "\n\t";
		// Before input
		if( isset( $form_el[$field]['input_before'] ) )
			echo $form_el[$field]['input_before'];
		// Input
		echo $form_el[$field]['input']; // Required toward the top of the loop
		// After input
		if( isset( $form_el[$field]['input_after'] ) )
			echo $form_el[$field]['input_after'];
	do_action( 'quickpress_after_fields' );
	echo "\n\t" . '<p class="submit">';
	echo "\n\t\t" . '<input type="hidden" name="action" id="quickpost-action" value="post-quickpress-save" />';
	echo "\n\t\t" . '<input type="hidden" name="quickpress_post_ID" value="' . (int) $post->ID . '" />';
	echo "\n\t\t" . '<input type="hidden" name="post_type" value="post" />';
	wp_nonce_field( 'add-post' ); 
	echo "\n\t\t" . '<input type="submit" name="save" id="save-post" class="button" ' . $draft_tab .'value="' . esc_attr('Save Draft') . '" />';
	echo "\n\t\t" . '<input type="reset" value="' . esc_attr( 'Reset' ) . '" class="button" ' . $reset_tab .'/>';
	echo "\n\t\t" . '<span id="publishing-action">';
	echo "\n\t\t\t" . '<input type="submit" name="publish" id="publish" accesskey="p" ' . $save_tab . 'class="button-primary" value="' . 
	( current_user_can( 'publish_posts' ) ? esc_attr( 'Publish' ) : esc_attr( 'Submit for Review' ) ) . '" />';
	echo "\n\t\t\t" .'<img class="waiting" src="' . esc_url( admin_url( 'images/wpspin_light.gif' ) ) . '" />';
	echo "\n\t\t" . '</span>';
	echo "\n\t\t" . '<br class="clear" />';
	echo "\n\t" . '</p>';
	echo "\n" . '</form>';
	echo "\n";
	if ( $drafts )
		wp_dashboard_recent_drafts( $drafts );

If you’d like to test out the code, simply overwrite the original function in wp-admin/includes/dashboard.php with the one provided above.

Do be aware, by replacing this function, nothing will visually change in the widget yet, all this code does is provide a rewrite of the existing function, making it pluggable. The new hooks allow resorting of the form fields, resorting the tab index or removing it all together, aswell as allowing the removal of unwanted form fields, eg. tags.

The rewritten function provides one new filter and two new actions. Here they are for reference to save you having to look over all the code.

// Contains the fields indexes(positions) and tab indexes
// Also supports adding new fields
apply_filters( 'quickpress_fields', $form_el );

// Runs before the quickpress form fields have been output
do_action( 'quickpress_before_fields' );

// Runs after the quickpress form fields have been output
do_action( 'quickpress_after_fields' );

The quickpress_fields filter available contains only two keys, indexes and tab_indexes. Indexes is an array of key => value pairs representing input positions(key is the field, value the position), this in the most simple terms determines the order in which the various inputs display in the widget, but it’s also an integral part of the new filtering system, only items with a key and value in this array are displayed, if a filter were to remove that index it would in effect remove that field from the widget.

Tab indexes are simply for accessibilty and simply exist to aid users adding additional fields, and therefore can be adjusted or removed totally, the fields will render appropriately regardless of whether they are given a tab index. Tab indexes are the order in which the tab key on your keyboard moves through the various items of a webpage or form. By default the tax indexes in the widget as they exist in WordPress right now are…

Name – Tab-index
Title – 1
Content – 2
Tags – 3
Save Draft – 4
Publish – 5

The tab index array, like the main index array is comprised of key => value pairs, again key is the field name and value is the tab index. By passing these into the filter, they can be adjusted by users(you/me/anyone) alongside any extra fields we choose to add in via hook.

The new actions like any other in WordPress are just a quick shortcut to inserting some extra content into an area, in this case a dashboard widget, either before or after the existing fields (it didn’t make sense for me to place these in static positions amongst the existing fields since i’ve provided a method for sorting – so before and after fields were my preference).

Code speaks louder than my blabbering though, so here’s a basic example filter that adds a new text field below the existing ones. Please see the notes that follow the example.

add_filter( 'quickpress_fields' , 'my_quickpress_fields' , 10 , 1 );

function my_quickpress_fields( $form_array ) {
	// Add new field into index *required when adding new fields via this filter*
	$form_array['indexes']['myfield'] = 6;
	// Invalid (tab index is simply for re-sorting, if required)
	//$form_array[tab_'indexes']['myfield'] = 6;
	// Register a new element into the form array 
	// Required, array - key is the new field name, value should be an array of key -> value pairs for the supported fields
	$form_array['myfield'] = array(
		// Not required
		'label'        => '<label for="myfield">' . __('My field') . '</label>',
		// Not required
		'label_before' => '<h4>',
		// Not required
		'label_after'  => '</h4>',
		// Required
		'input'        => '<input tabindex="6" type="text" name="myfield" value="" />',
		// Not required
		'input_before' => '<div class="input-text-wrap">',
		// Not required
		'input_after'  => '</div>'
	// Return the data
	return $form_array;

Looks simple enough right? Do bear in mind, this doesn’t mean you can just go plonking in any form elements you want and expect them to save data, post.php does have limitations on what $_POST data it expects and will save.

The good news is, custom taxonomies are already supported, which whilst exciting is still held back by restrictions that leave us stuck using the “post” post_type. I’d have liked to have been able to add an additional filter to allow switching the post type(tried already), but due to restrictions in how post.php deals with the data sent from quickpress unfortunately that’s something that will have to be given much further consideration and more brainstorming as it would require patching post.php to accept something other than posts from QuickPress.

The above code example is a working example, in so much that it will appear as an element in the QuickPress widget, it won’t however save data(and only an illustration to show the available and required items), because as said above, post.php must receive one of the supported $_POST fields.

However!! below are some working examples filters and actions you can use alongside the new function.

Category Dropdown

add_filter( 'quickpress_fields' , 'my_quickpress_fields' , 10 , 1 );

function my_quickpress_fields( $form_array ) {
	$form_array['indexes']['category'] = 2;
	$form_array['category'] = array(
		'label'        => '<label for="post_category">Category</label>',
		'label_before' => '<h4>',
		'label_after'  => '</h4>',
		'input'        => '<p>'. wp_dropdown_categories( array( 'echo' => 0 , 'hide_empty' => 0 , 'name' => 'post_category[]' ) ) . '</p>'
	return $form_array;

Hidden Category Selection

add_action( 'quickpress_after_fields' , 'my_quickpress_fields' );

function my_quickpress_fields( ) {
	echo '<input type="hidden" name="post_category[]" value="23" />';

NOTE: 23 is an example category ID (change accordingly)

Remove Post Tags & Media Uploads from QuickPress

add_filter( 'quickpress_fields' , 'my_quickpress_fields' , 10 , 1 );

function my_quickpress_fields( $form_array ) {
	unset( $form_array['indexes']['tags'] , $form_array['indexes']['media'] );
	return $form_array;

If you like the function replacement, please show your support (pingback, trackback, etc), hopefully someone on the dev team will spot the idea and be able to create something more inline with WordPress coding practices as part of future functionality for the widget (or i can always refine my code, if someone wants to pick it apart, kindly).

Comments welcome…. 🙂


5 thoughts on “QuickPress Category – Extending Functionality”

  1. The more I kept reading of this article the more I kept getting excited about all the possibilities. Then I got to the last few paragraphs about the limitations of post.php and could have cried…. sad 😦

    Here’s to hoping that the dev’s pick up on your amazing idea about modding quickpress and post.php to accept further parameters.

    Thank you for such a detailed explanation as to why things can’t be easily extended at the moment.

    I’ve been playing with post-types + taxonomies a lot lately and couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities. It’s just so frustrating sometimes to have such great tools available, only to have some limitations slam the door on my ideas at the half way point.

    At least wp is progressing quickly.

    thanks again, great article!

  2. I’m sure something will be changed to accomodate add/modifying the fields in the widget, whether it will be what’s been supplied in the ticket i mentioned, or whether there is something much broader planned i don’t know.

    I get more and more visitors from search engines every week, all looking for the same thing, Categories (or single category selection) in QuickPress, i’ve also already noted that there is some demand by WordPress.com users to.

    My code was simply to illustrate an idea i had for filtering the fields in the widget, i have no doubt one of the code gurus on Trac will write something much better, i just wanted to show how it “could” be done. I do support the current patch if it’s getting a commit into 3.0, but long term, i’d like to see something more versatile in place, until then however the current patch would be a great last minute addition.

  3. I’m all for adding categories to the quickpress dashboard widget. I created a “quickie” post category that will publish an excerpt from this specific category in the top of my sidebar. Would be great to finally be able to use Quickpress. As it is not I still can’t because there is no way to select this category.

  4. Nice one, thanks.

    I have another “issue”. I’m trying to remove the quickpress media buttons. Is there a way to do that without hacking wp code?

    For posts, this code works:
    remove_action( 'media_buttons', 'media_buttons' );

  5. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she maintains the
    thought of a user in his/her mind that how a user can know
    it. So that’s why this piece of writing is great. Thanks!

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