Client Dash 1.5 – Shackelford
Client Dash 1.5 officially released!
After weeks of planning, programming and testing, we have finally been able to release the 1.5 version of Client Dash (read the github release notes here). I’m so excited to have this release public now as it is a huge step forward for the plugin which we’ve been iterating on all summer. I believe I can confidently say that this is my favorite release to date and it definitely takes Client Dash to a new level.
Version 1.4 of Client Dash was extremely exciting for us as we were able to really push out features that made the plugin more useful and customizable for webmasters, especially the role feature which allowed for the restricting of access to certain content based on user roles. With 1.5 though, we really stepped up our game to include some additions and modifications which really increase the usefulness of the plugin.
Dashboard widgets control
For as long as I’ve been using WordPress, I’ve always felt that one part of the experience that was truly lacking was the default, wp-admin dashboard. Truly this was the impetus for Client Dash itself but until now, I don’t think we really had a handle on what I’ve always wished for.
Consider the ease with widgets can be controlled for the front end of a website. Now imagine what it would be like if that same, exact UI could be implemented for the management of your dashboard widgets as well. Well, that’s pretty much what we did. Take a look:
For years I’ve wished for the ability to easily drag, drop and customize the WordPress dashboard to make it more useful and intuitive for myself, my colleagues and most importantly, my clients. Now this is an absolute breeze with Client Dash 1.5.
Without question, one of the most important parts of Client Dash that we have emphasized from day one was that it be flexible for developers to extend. To that end, we have developed an architecture which is incredibly easy to manipulate and extend with very little code and in very little time. The content sections methodology which we’ve put together allows for new blocks of content to very easily be added to a Client Dash page and tab and for it to appear in the roles/display settings for defining which user roles have access. We’ve also introduced the capability for sections to be separated within a tab to allow an even deeper layer of control and segmentation of information. All of this of course should look very familiar to most WordPress users since we are always committed to doing things the “WordPress way” and working with the existing UI rather than creating brand new experiences for users to learn.
Now that Client Dash has become so flexible with such a wide array of settings, we thought it appropriate to include the beginnings of some very handy utilities. The first such tool is the inclusion of a “reset” option which allows a webmaster to completely start over from scratch with all of their settings. Super handy for those of us who want to experiment with the plugin for a while or for those who are migrating their site and database to a new site where different settings will apply. Look for more tools in future releases.
Has your client ever asked for access to backups of their site? Have you ever wished you could give your clients access to the archive of backups which awesome plugins like BackupBuddy create? This is now possible with the latest extension for Client Dash! A brilliant WordPress developer from Dayton, Ohio named Brian Retterer has recently published the Client Dash BackupBuddy Addon to the public and we think it is awesome. Check it out and let him know what you think. You’ll find it listed under Settings- >Client Dash- >Addons. And look for many more handy extensions in the future.
The Shackelford Release
In case you missed it, we recently decided that it would be fun to begin naming our major releases. We discussed quite a variety of naming themes to follow and so many of them were really cool. In the end, we decided that the most fun and exciting thing that we could do in terms of release naming would be to dub each release in honor of someone who has helped us get where we are today, in particular those in the WordPress community. Both Joel and myself have been incredibly blessed by the people in our lives who have taken time to teach, advise, counsel, encourage, inspire, collaborate, criticize, motivate and ultimately move us forward as developers and professionals. And so, paying tribute to all of those people by attaching their name to what we consider some of our proudest and most exciting accomplishments is one small way in which we can give back to those who got us here.
Peter Shackelford is a WordPress developer based in Spring Arbor, Michigan. He co-organizes the Jackson, Michigan WordPress meetup and has been a friend for several years now. To try and relate just how much I’ve learned from Peter since we became acquainted would be a daunting task. He is an incredibly generous and compassionate person with an immense set of knowledge that he is more than willing to share.
I can recall so many conversations with Peter as I began my early forays into WordPress. Conversations such as…
Me: “So I’d like to build this site that needs to have bla bla bla…and it needs to bla bla bla…”
Peter: “Cool. You can do that using Custom Post Types.”
Me: MIND BLOWN!
Or just a few months later…
Me: “I’m really struggling with my CSS changes…”
Peter: “No problem. Try using Chrome’s developer tools to preview and test your rules.”
Me: MIND BLOWN!
And a few months after that…
Me: “I just wish there was a better way to manage all of these WP sites.”
Peter: “Let me show you how to use WordPress Multisite.”
Me: MIND BLOWN!
And this was basically the pattern that has carried on consistently to this day. Peter and I have been talking about WordPress constantly and learning new things side by side for years and I’ve been incredibly grateful for his knowledge, willingness to teach and friendship since day one. To me, Peter embodies the spirit of WordPress like no one I’ve yet encountered with his willingness to give and put others first, his commitment to learning and pushing his own limits, and his empathy for those with less knowledge and experience.
Peter also recently spoke for the first time at a WordCamp and will certainly be doing more of that in the future. You can meet and learn more about Peter by attending our Jackson WP Meetups, going to one of his excellent WordCamp talks and following him on Twitter. I highly recommend getting to know him.
I must add that this particular release is kind of cheating in a way because I couldn’t use the Shackelford name without mentioning Peter’s older brother Daniel who has also been an amazing contributor to my own knowledge and growth as well as to the Jackson WP meetup which he co-founded. If I one day know half of what Daniel knows about WordPress, servers and the web, I’ll consider myself quite accomplished.
And so, there you have it. A new version of Client Dash and the first to be officially named after someone who has helped or inspire us. Here’s to many more in the future!