Maintaining Online Collections p.4

Welcome back! If you’re here, you’ve been with us through Setting Up a Custom Post Type Plugin, Talking About User Experience and Laying Out Your Object Page. You should have a pretty good idea about what’s going on with your collection website.

Let’s take a step back and talk about how your object’s information is being stored. WordPress, and other CMS’, store website data in a database. Databases contains multiple tables that hold site data and your site pulls information from those tables depending on what page you’re viewing. 

Using our recent page as an example, I’ve highlighted all of the information that gets pulled from the database. This is the information that was added to the website database using the ACF plugin and will change with each Object. 

Is this something you need to know in order to set up your website? No, but it’s always a good idea to have an idea about what’s happening under the hood. Hopefully this will give you a good overview of what a database does.

So, let’s say you have hundreds of objects. The last thing you want to do is to go through each page and edit one by one. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to manage your inventory and upload it to your site via spreadsheet. The best solution I’ve found is the plugin WP All Import. It’s a great plugin, but to get full functionality, you’ll need to pay for the premium version. I’ve always used Google Sheets to manage the data, but you can use Excel or whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Obviously you’ll have more information in your spreadsheet but you can see the general setup.

Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin and the ACF extension, we’re going to create our first import. Go to All Import > New Import and set up a New Import.

Go back to your Google Sheet (if that’s what you’re using) and change permissions to anyone with the link, and copy the link to share.

Go back to your WP AllImport interface and choose Download a file and From URL. Now choose Existing Items and import to the Custom Post Type you already created. In our case it’s called Objects. You have the option to import to New Items, but if you plan on updating the database regularly, I’ve found making the import initially to Existing Items is a better option.

Click Continue to Step 2.

You’ll see an overview of the data you’re importing. Check that it looks ok and click Continue to Step 3.

This is where you’ll start adding content to the import. WP AllImport makes it easy with a simple drag and drop interface. Simply match the item in the right column to the one in the left and drag the title into the area it belongs.

You will need to add Title and Content, some of the other options are Images, and further down, Advanced Custom Fields Add On.

Once you’re happy with the data placement, Continue to Step 4.

Here you’ll need to set up a way for the objects to be identified, that is- how will the objects be matched in future imports. I’ve set up a column in the spreadsheet and a field in ACF with an Object ID and will use this to keep the objects synced in future imports.

Once you’re happy, click through to the final import page and run your import.

There was a lot going on here and you might be a little hesitant, especially if you have thousands of objects to upload. That’s fair, so I would suggest running an import with a few objects to make sure you’re happy with the import.

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t change the name of your column in the spreadsheet once you’ve created your upload. If you do, you’ll need to go in and match again.
  2. Make sure you’ve updated plugins prior to running an import.
  3. If you delete objects, make sure, you go into Trash and Delete Permanently. There can be issues if a record with the same Object ID still exists.

That’s it- this is a fantastic tool and can save your organization money and time when taking your objects onlin.

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