Radio Station Plugin and Page Builders

When we were handed the keys to Radio Station this past June, the plugin hadn’t been updated since 2015. We set to work identifying pressing issues, fixing bugs, introducing a few new features, and updating the plugin to WordPress coding standards. Over the past three months, we’ve stabilized the plugin, which has helped many of our users who reported bugs or requested feature enhancements. We know there is much more to do and one of those tasks is to ensure that Radio Station works with page builders like Divi, Elementor, Avada Theme Fusion, or other popular platforms. We also know the plugin should be Gutenberg compliant, which is on our roadmap.

For anyone using Radio Station today, you’re aware the plugin creates three custom post types: one for Shows, another for Playlists, and lastly for Show Overrides. But let’s talk about Shows and Playlists for a moment using a standard WordPress theme without a page builder or even with a page builder, but keeping the WordPress layout intact and not switching the to page builder’s version of a page layout, which many page builders allow you to do.

When Nikki Blight created the plugin, page builders were not yet all the rage they are today. She created a method when using a theme of your choice to copy the radio-station/templates/single-show.php file into your theme directory, and modify the template as needed. All of the original templates for the plugin are based on the WordPress TwentyEleven theme, which was 8-years ago. But it still works as we’ve observed many sites using Radio Station in WordPress themes and the plugin is outputting the information correctly.

For those using page builders, if you drop the file into your child theme of your page builder framework, we found that it only outputs the Show Description and not any other element. We noticed this when working on a radio station website that we applied Divi to. When we dropped the single-show.php file into the theme, we found that it only outputs the Show description into a text module and left Show Times, DJ/Host, and Playlists out. So, what to do about this?

First, it would be awesome if we were able to provide a template for the most popular page builders and then module-level controls to style the content, but we’re going to leave that for a PRO version when we have the resources to commit to adding support for the page builders. We’ll most likely offer an Add-On for each one so that you can add the template to the page builders we support and voila, all the elements will be pulled and added accordingly to the page.

In the meantime, we have to come up with a way to ensure that if you want to use a page builder because you want some level of control over styling without having to code. Our team is getting together to think this through.

The first option is to leave things as they are and possibly create shortcodes for each Radio Station module so that you can simply drop the various shortcodes into a page builder code or text module and that will help Radio Station users to be able to switch to a page builder and customize the content layout. But the fail is that with shortcodes, you’ll still have to style Radio Station’s outputs with CSS and not with the page builder styling controls.

The second option is to find a way to modify the Show page template to include all the elements and output them somehow into only the post body content, but that’s most likely not a viable option and it would break all site’s templates that have styled Radio Station, because the CSS classes might change. And, it may not even be doable.

The final option is to create specific layout templates for each page builder, which has a time and cost factor associated. But that’s an expensive proposition and we’re going to have to leave that for future paid Add-ons in a Pro version unless someone is interested and asks us to build it for them.

Either way, we just wanted to let our users know that we are starting to think through this conundrum and figure out which way is the best path forward. We’ve scheduled a meeting for next week to discuss how to resolve this issue, so that anyone who wants to use a page builder will not be left out of the party, so to speak.

We’d love to get your thoughts and opinions on Radio Station and these issues. You can take our survey or contact us directly.

Visit our WordPress plugin page for support requests.

 

About Tony Zeoli

Tony Zeoli is a digital media strategist, innovator, and entrepreneur. He founded Netmix.com in 1995, which was considered by Billboard Magazine to be the "innovation and advancement of dance music on the Internet." Tony has innovated at the intersection of music and the Internet for the past thirty years as a project manager, product manager, information architect. He is also the founder of Digital Strategy Works, a WordPress web design and digital marketing agency in Asheville, NC.

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