Screenshot of Directories Pro Field Types

Directories Pro Simplifies Our Development with BuddyBoss

We found several issues from creating our own CPT and trying to integrate it into BuddyBoss using the BuddyBlog plugin. We knew that we wanted to use the Directories Pro plugin, so we diverted our attention and began to look into features of Directories Pro more extensively. The more we looked into it, the more delighted we became. Directories Pro simplified our development to the extent that we could get rid of both BuddyBlog and our custom CPT and then ended up with a more workable and elegant solution than before.

Note that Directories Pro uses the term listing for each item in their directory. So, the listing in Directories Pro replaces the CPT concept that we had been using in our development to this point. Since we are talking about Directories Pro on this page, then we use the nomenclature of a listing on this page for the soil sample that we collect data for. We acknowledge that we were relieved at simplifying our tech stack and so there may be some enthusiasm that comes through in the description below. However, the details described below are given with the goal that other projects might also simplify their development if their requirements are similar.

Also note that to make the BuddyBoss integration work well, we had to enable the Directories - Frontend plugin that comes along with the Directories Pro plugin bundle.

Directories Pro Offered a Substitute for our Desired CPT capabilities

There are a couple of features in Directories Pro that allowed us to bypass our need for a CPT and BuddyBlog. To replace the need for a CPT in our case, Directories Pro provides the ability to add custom fields to any listing. The field types that can be added include the following (see image at the top for a screenshot).

  • Choice type/Select
  • Color field
  • Date field
  • Email field
  • File upload
  • Icon
  • Images
  • Geolocation
  • Map
  • Name
  • Decimal or Integer Number
  • On/Off / Boolean
  • Opening Hours
  • Paragraph Text
  • Phone Number
  • Reference to another post
  • Price
  • Range
  • Reference to another listing
  • Single line of text
  • Social Accounts
  • Time
  • URL
  • User
  • Video from YouTube or Vimeo

For the integration with BuddyBoss that BuddyBlog had provided, Directories Pro offers an elegant solution for integrating the Directories Pro listings with the personal Profiles of BuddyBoss. Furthermore, Directories Pro offers a fine grained permission system that allowed us to implement the desired capability of allowing student researchers to edit soil samples that we had created but not to create any soil sample themselves.

Directories Pro Offered Additional Capabilities

Other capabilities of Directories Pro that helped simplify our development and minimized the need for other plugins include the following.

  • Form and Display Builder - Directories Pro provides a fairly robust drag and drop interface for creating the data input forms and another drag and drop interface for setting up how the listing will be displayed.
  • Integrated Map Display - For our project map display of the data points is important. This option is mature in Directories Pro, so that merely clicking on the listing description will cause the pin on the map to bounce. The pins are also customizable according to categories.
  • Export and Import Capabilities - One of the features that we were working towards with our Drupal approach is what we termed "round-tripping of data". This means that we could export the data from one site and then import it into another site. This has obvious benefits for testing and also for archiving data. However, we were never able to fully achieve this with Drupal. The Directories Pro plugin has this capability built in and it includes not only the data from the fields, but also any associated uploaded files, including images. And the export and import process is executed using a few user-friendly wizard type steps that provides the ability to customize which fields are to be included.

Since the export and import capabilities were important when transferring our data from Drupal, then we covered these capabilities in the documentation of our migration.

Directories Pro Documentation

There is a bit of a learning curve in becoming familiar with all of the capabilities of Directories Pro and how they work. But the documentation is fairly complete and the plugin itself is fairly logical in its screen layouts, especially given all of the features that are included.

One setting that was not obvious to me that I want to mention concerned the faceted filter that is shown in the examples. By default this faceted filter is not displayed. To display the faceted filter, I had to begin by editing the directory instance that I had created, in my case called "My Soil Samples". Then I clicked the drop down next to the gear icon to get to the Content Types. From there, I clicked the drop down for the Listing (directory_listing) content type to select the Manage Views tab. Then I clicked the gear icon for the Default List view mode. In the popup screen, I clicked the Filter Settings tab. Then I set the "Show filter form" selection to true. Also, in this popup screen, under the General tab, I set the Show map selection to true and the Map marker icon to "Show taxonomy image/icon - Category". This set the icons on the map to display the category to one of the 4 combinations possible for the soil samples.

For setting the fields that are shown in the filter, then when the Manage Views tab is selected, a Manage Filters button is also displayed. Clicking on the Manage Filters button allows me to select which fields will be displayed by clicking the green + button on the bottom of the screen. There is also a Filter button label that can be set from the Directories >> Settings >> Directory tab. I set it to "Click to toggle filter display" to make its functionality plain.

There are 2 formats for exporting JSON and CSV files. Exporting as JSON is available from the main Directories admin menu item. Exporting as CSV is available from the specific directory in the admin menu (in my case it was "My Soil Samples").

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