Welcome to my demonstration site. It’s really easy for front-end developers to show their WordPress creations, but those of us that spend a lot of time on the backend building plugins for developers, it’s not so easy. That is the purpose of this website: To demonstrate the, usually, admin-only side of plugins that I’ve written.

A Word About Demo Mode

The plugins shown here are identical to their non-demo versions. The “demo mode” is activated by a specific user/capability not found in default WordPress installations. This allows the non-admin user ‘demo‘ to access specific admin features.

The plugins shown on this website are subject to change. The goal is to let the general public see and experience plugin functionality that would, otherwise, be only available to a WordPress developer, who first installed one of these plugins. However, it is still important to prevent the general public from destroying this website — either inadvertently or just for the fun of it.

Plugins Being Demonstrated Here Today

Child Themes Helper – The Child Themes Helper plugin provides an elegant solution to copying files from a parent (or template) theme to a child theme.

As is often the case when building a new website, you want to overwrite or modify some of the content in your chosen theme. Unfortunately, when the theme’s developer chooses to update, all of your changes will be wiped out. WordPress provides a simple solution. Create a child theme from the theme that you want to modify, copy the files from the original theme (the “parent” theme or the “template” theme) into your newly created child theme, then make those modifications in your child theme. The original theme’s developer is free to update their theme as often as they want, and your modifications are safely stored in your child theme. You won’t lose anything.

The Child Themes Helper makes this process easy. You can create a new child theme by simply giving it a name and selecting the theme you want to modify as its parent. The theme you choose is not limited to the currently active theme. Once you’ve got your child theme, and you’ve activated it, you only have to click on the file, from the original theme’s list of files that you want to copy, and the  Child Themes Helper will recreate the full file path in your child theme, to where the file is supposed to live, and finally it will copy the file to the child theme into the appropriate folder. If you accidentally clicked the wrong file, you can just click on the file in the list of files for the child theme and the Child Themes Helper will remove it. If you accidentally click on a file that’s been modified, the Child Themes Helper will prompt you before removing or overwriting the file.

A newly created child theme usually displays on your WordPress dashboard Themes page (Appearance >> Themes from the WordPress dashboard menu) with a blank graphic. WordPress uses a file named ‘screenshot.png’ that it finds in your child theme’s root folder. A newly created child theme won’t have the ‘screenshot.png’ file, so your child theme is displayed on the Themes page with a blank graphic. During the development of a child theme, most developers will create the ‘screenshot.png’ file from one of their images. But it’s probably not high on their list of priorities. The Child Themes Helper lets you choose the font, text color, and background color for a temporary image that will display on the Themes page for your child theme. And then you can create the image. It will display the name of the child theme, the name of its parent theme, and information about how it was created (by Child Themes Helper).

You can see the Child Themes Helper menu item on the WordPress dashboard menu once you’re logged into this website. For details on how to log in, see below under the heading “How to Access the WordPress Dashboard Menu”. Feel free to take the Child Themes Helper for a real test drive. Kick the tires. Create new child themes. Install your favorite themes from WordPress and create a child theme from it. Copy files between the parent and child, or remove them. Activate your child theme. Create a screenshot.png file that will display on the Themes page when it displays your child theme.

One word of caution: You won’t be able to delete any themes that you install or child themes that you create. So, please, do not install anything proprietary that you aren’t ready for other people to see. If you need something removed (or you want to offer me a job 🙂 ), please send me a message on Linkedin.

The Child Themes Helper is available for your WordPress website from the WordPress Plugins Repository. You can either click the link above or go to your Plugins page (Plugins from the WordPress dashboard menu) and click Add New.

Where to Find Child Themes Helper:

Child Themes Helper v1.3 introduces a new feature: File Editing. You will be able to edit your child themes’ editable files (.php, .css, .js, and .txt) by simply right-clicking on the file in the file list. You can open any file for editing in this manner, but you will not be able to save changes that you make to a parent or template theme file.

The Child Themes Helper v1.3 is being demonstrated on this Demonstration site. It works very well, with the exception of editing files on small screens, i.e., smartphones and small tablets.

Web Environment – The Web Environment plugin, version 0.5, displays some pertinent information about your WordPress development environment in a prominent place: in a widget on the WordPress dashboard. Sensitive information is covered and requires a mouse click to reveal it. Most of the information displayed requires the user to have the ‘manage_options’ capability assigned to their role (i.e., admin user). This demonstration allows everybody to see everything, with the exception of the database constants and FTP constants in the wp_config.php file. The Web Environment plugin has not yet been listed in the WordPress Plugin repo, but I will be submitting it to the WordPress plugin review team soon. When I submit it, it will be version 1.0.

How to Access the WordPress Dashboard Menu

Visit http://www.1acsi.com/wp-admin and log in with the following username and password. Please note: the password is case-sensitive.

Username: demo
Password: Demo

The “demo” user has very little access. But you will be able to do the following:

  • Install new themes
  • Switch themes
  • Activate themes
  • Create child themes from template themes using the Child Themes Helper.
  • Create screenshots for a child theme, using the Child Themes Helper, so that it displays on the Themes page (Appearance on the dashboard menu).
  • Modify the font, foreground color and background colors of the screenshot, also using the Child Themes Helper.
  • Review the versions, constants, and other pertinent information regarding the web environment. This demo version hides sensitive information, such as the database username/password. The non-demo version requires an admin user to display its information, so sensitive information not shown here will be displayed.
  • Everything else is locked down. You won’t be able to delete themes or modify pages and posts.

A Note About the Look of this Website

This demonstration website was created in 5 minutes using the Twenty Seventeen theme. The “Default Demo” child theme was created from Twenty Seventeen.

However, as folks play with the Child Themes Helper plugin by adding and activating new themes, creating new child themes from them, or whatever, this website is apt to look completely different before long — and not necessarily in a good way. I’ll try to return it to ship-shape periodically. Or maybe I’ll set up a cron job to do it every day at midnight CST.

So, please, remember, this website is here to let you play with the plugins being demonstrated herein, not to look pretty.