Markdown is a simple system of formatting text on the web. The syntax is easy to learn, making it a great replacement for HTML when all you want is the basics: bold and italic style, links, lists, quotations, images, and so on.

Adding term descriptions to the quick edit box in WordPress

Writing term descriptions for categories, tags, and custom taxonomies can be a real chore in WordPress. It is easy enough to edit term names and slugs with the quick edit box but if you’d like to edit descriptions it will be necessary to open up the full edit screen. This is less than optimal if we wish to write or maintain complex taxonomies with dozens or even hundreds of terms.

WordPress is highly customizable and extensible so there’s a way of making this easier. Of course, this being WordPress, things aren’t nearly as straight-forward as they could be. The problem, in this case, is that you cannot hook the quick_edit_custom_box action without the presence of a custom column. Since description is among the default columns this action is not called and there is no opportunity to modify the contents of the quick edit box. The current solution (as of version 4.0) is a bit of a hack: use a hidden custom column to trigger the quick_edit_custom_box action and output the necessary HTML.

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WordPress term descriptions in Markdown

Recently I wrote a little about using Markdown and WordPress together. This time around I’d like to share some tricks for using Markdown in term descriptions.

But first, a recap. Terms, in WordPress jargon, are objects in a taxonomy—a system of organizing content. WordPress ships with categories (which I don’t use) and tags (which I do—extensively). You can also implement custom taxonomies to organize content in whatever way you wish. I happen to organize some of my posts into series and many others by location but the sky’s the limit as far as custom WordPress taxonomies are concerned.

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Markdown in WordPress

Markdown is an awesome shorthand system to format text on the web. I have been using it for slightly more than a year now and absolutely love it. Peruse the syntax and you’ll see why—it’s easy to pick up and builds on many existing patterns of usage.

Using Markdown with WordPress is fairly straight-forward. You’ll need a plugin, of course, and there are many to choose from, as always. I currently use JP Markdown, a repackaging of the Markdown module from Jetpack, Automattic’s sprawling mega-plugin, which I am otherwise not interested in using.

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