Since WordPress 2.3 you have been able to create your own custom taxonomies which provide useful grouping (or “filtering”) mechanisms. As of version 2.9 onwards, a handful of functions relating to custom post types were released that transformed the way that you can manage content within the platform. By combining the both of these, you can create bespoke posts whose content is dictated by their individual requirements.
The built-in support for accessing custom post types is limited, though, and there remains a distinct lack of functionality to narrow down search criteria by taxonomy – that’s where Advanced Custom Post Search (ACPS) comes in.
ACPS allows the user to create a search form with ease, customise the taxonomies available as filtering options, and harnesses WordPress’ WP_Query class to display the results on the page (which is also customisable!)
Getting Started with ACPS
Upon installation an “Advanced Search” page will be added to your existing pages; this acts as a default page for those who don’t want to delve into custom results pages. The standard template works out-of-the-box with numerous themes but if you want to assign your own results page you are able to do this via the settings page.
The plugin interface is simple, and is built on a custom post type itself. From within each individual “form” post you can create, edit and update all of your options including everything from taxonomies you want to filter, to the form titles and labels.
For templates with a greater degree of customisation there is a theming hierarchy which allows more ‘code savvy’ developers to change the existing loop (and results page) without editing the plugin directly. This is ideal for creating bespoke results pages for heavily customised themes and also for including additional information specific to eCommerce websites such as product price, attributes and descriptions.
Just copy and paste the “acps-results_loop.php” and/or “acps-results.php” files into a folder called “acps” in your theme (or directly into the root of your theme) to begin creating your own templates.
Advanced Custom Post Search is available for download and comes complete with step-by-step instructions from within the plugin for each of the customisable options.