Participants Database 1.5 WordPress Plugin

Call for Beta Testers!

Release of version 1.6 is coming, with new features & many code improvements.

I need beta testers, so if you have an install of Participants Database in a non-critical application and want to run it through it’s paces for me, email me.

what’s new in 1.5

There’s lots of improvements under the hood, and a list of new and better user features too:

Plugin Overview

This WordPress plugin is for the purpose of creating a database for use in a WordPress site. It is primarily intended as a way to manage information pertaining to people such as the members of a club or team, volunteers, students, anything like that. It gives you the ability to allow people to create and edit their own record while additional information can be managed by administrators or managers. The plugin may also be used as the basis for an index, directory or catalog.

>> Quick Setup Guide

The database is made up of fields, and each field may be one of several types that are uniquely suited to store a particular kind of information. These fields can also be divided into groups to help organize the information. Fields can also be provided with help text to assist users in providing the information.

Please read the documentation fully, as this is a complex plugin that can be used in a lot of different ways.

I have created a page that gives a step-by-step method for setting up a typical application of the plugin. I suggest you begin with that, it will help you understand how the plugin works and also give you a working baseline so you know the plugin works on your site. You can make your modifications to the plugin functionality from there.

Next… Using The Participants Database Plugin


Hi Roland.
Of cause this was my fault. Sorry!
I found a plugin called “Responsive Maintenance Pro With Countdown”. When I deactivated that, the Participant Database turned up.

by Jacob on September 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm. Reply #

That makes sense…I was going to suggest turning off other plugins.

by Roland on September 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm. Reply #

Hi Roland:
The heading “Participants Database” is not in the Admin.
I’ve tried to install several times. Is there something I can do?

by Jacob on September 1, 2014 at 9:47 am. Reply #

Hi Roland.
Now I’ve tried to install the Participant Database in 3 different ways with the same result. The Manage Database Fields page don’t show anywhere.
What to do?

by Jacob on September 1, 2014 at 7:46 am. Reply #

Jacob, when you are in the admin, it should be on the right, under the heading “Participants Database” it it’s not there, then something is wrong.

by Roland on September 1, 2014 at 8:41 am. Reply #


I’m currently running WordPress 3.9.2 and Participants Database Each time I make an adjustment in the Settings area of the plugin (after pressing “Save Plugin Settings”), I immediately get a “Connection interrupted” error in all browsers. What could this be?

Thanks in advance,

by Adam on August 31, 2014 at 6:13 am. Reply #

This kind of server-level problem is often caused by security rules in force on the hosting server, or in some environments (such as schools or internal corporate networks), the network itself. I suggest you contact your web host and ask them to look into any security rules that might prevent these transactions.

by Roland on August 31, 2014 at 8:04 am. Reply #

Hi Roland

I have an issue with the Participant Database read only fields. I have selected some fields to be read only so the user can only see the content and will not be able to modify the read only fields. My issue in the advanced setting I selected a different role for “Record Edit Access Level” other then Admin so that I can have one of the staff access to the database and do updates with out giving them full admin access. When the staff updates read only fields the data does not get updated. Is there a way to restrict to allow my staff to update the read only fields

by Jim on August 30, 2014 at 8:48 pm. Reply #

Hi Jim,

This may be a bug, I will have to look into this. Users with this level of access should be able to edit all fields in the backend.

by Roland on August 31, 2014 at 8:01 am. Reply #

ok perfect for letting me know and hope there will be a fix to this bug soon.

Thanks again Jim

by Jim on August 31, 2014 at 7:49 pm. Reply #

OK, just to confirm, your users that have “edit record” access cannot edit read-only fields in the admin edit record page?

by Roland on September 1, 2014 at 8:44 am. #

Yes that is correct.

by Jim on September 1, 2014 at 8:55 am. #

Hmmm, I just tested this and I’m not seeing the problem. I wonder what’s different about your setup. So your other user is an “Editor” and you have the “Record Edit Access Level” set to “Editor” as well? When they try to change a “read only” value, they can edit the field, but when they save the record, the change doesn’t stick?

by Roland on September 1, 2014 at 2:09 pm. #

Hi Roland,

I clone my entire wordpress and data base to another host with a plugin named “duplicator” until now everything works except when I try to add a field just in one of me field groups, the error is
You don’t have permission to access /wp/wp-admin/admin.php on this server.
Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Apache/2.4.10 (Unix) OpenSSL/1.0.1e-fips mod_bwlimited/1.4 Server at Port 80

Any idea to solve this issue,

Thanks in advance

by Vladimir on August 29, 2014 at 1:06 pm. Reply #

Vladimir, you will need to contact your web host about this. It looks like the request is hitting a security exception.

by Roland on August 30, 2014 at 9:12 am. Reply #

I am using the participant database to manage faculty profiles. It worked for a while but now seems to give most users an 500 internal error when they request the private link be sent to them. Strange thing it works away from the school but not at the school… any ideas? here is the URL

by Tommy Davis on August 28, 2014 at 5:03 am. Reply #


This is no doubt due to security filters in place at the school. You will need to talk to the IT folks there to see what rules might be getting triggered by the request.

by Roland on August 30, 2014 at 9:14 am. Reply #

I want to style or replace the Submit and Clear buttons in the Participant Database search page I’m setting up on this site, but I cannot find the buttons in any of the files.

I also want to add text to the search box – something like “enter instrument, teacher;s name or location”, but I can’t find the file where I’d do that, either.

PLEASE help!

Thanks for a great plugin that does exactly what I want it to do.

by Molly Morris on August 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm. Reply #

Hi Molly,

To style your buttons, you don’t need to change the code, you can just create some CSS rules to change how they look. There is a place for your CSS rules in the plugin settings under “custom CSS.”

For you second one, you’ll need to create a custom template to add your own text to the search form. Sorry, it’s not very user-friendly.

Check this article for how to create a custom template: Using Participants Database Custom Templates

If that’s more trouble than you want to go to, you can put that text on the page where the shortcode is.

by Roland on August 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm. Reply #

Thank you Roland. So, for the custom CSS what exactly am I styling? submit_button and clear_button or is it something else?

by Molly Morris on August 27, 2014 at 4:33 pm. Reply #

If you look at the HTML you’ll see the submit buttons are input tags:

<input type="submit" value="Search" name="submit_button">
<input type="submit" value="Clear" name="submit_button">

The pretty much the same, except for the value, so if you want them to be different, you’ll need to use a selector for the value as well as the name: input[name="submit_button"][value="Clear"]

by Roland on August 27, 2014 at 9:01 pm. #

Hi Roland. I’d like to thank you for your patient replies and professional, humane help!

I’ve been contacting you about the issue with empty string and comma in the list results when using a checkbox or multiselect checkboxes. I figured it would be more beneficial for everyone to see in case other people are experiencing the same issues.

I have found what’s causing this to happen with my stored serialized arrays. There’s a blank hidden field that has a value of “0″ which appears to be causing this.
The code, ‘aux_plugin_settings . ‘[%1$s]” type=”hidden” value=”0″ />’ seems to be the root of this issue. In Chrome dev tools, when I delete the hidden field where ever I’m using multi checkboxes, and submit the form, it stores and displays my checkbox values the way I expect without the leading empty string, integer, and comma.

Is it possible for me to comment out this code in the proper PHP files? Would this cause any future problems and which files?


by Robert Wilkins on August 20, 2014 at 7:40 am. Reply #

Yes, that is the issue, it’s a documented bug I’ve got fixed in the next release. The only problem with your fix is that you won’t be able to store a “nothing selected” state. That’s what the hidden field does, although I needed to improve the code so it works under all circumstances.

by Roland on August 20, 2014 at 9:31 am. Reply #

Thanks for your reply. If I just grabbed the affected files you’ve posted in the new release on github would it still work?

Can you point me to the PHP files that have this code?

Thanks again!

by Robert Wilkins on August 20, 2014 at 9:35 am. Reply #

Bob, if you’re going to use the new release, you have to use the whole thing. Check this page out for instructions:

Participants Database Beta Test

by Roland on August 20, 2014 at 9:53 am. #

So is there no way to remove the hidden field? I tried to remove this code from my forms ‘aux_plugin_settings . ‘[%1$s]” type=”hidden” value=”0″ />’ from the code in PDB_Aux_Plugin.class.php but that file had no effect on my form.

I know you mentioned the beta version but I’m a little worried about testing it on a production site.

Can you let me know what code I’d have to modify to eliminate the hidden field(s) for checkboxes? When I remove them in my browser, the records seem to save just fine.

Thanks again,

by RW on August 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm. Reply #

OK, I got it. I’ve resolved the issue and edited the code. I will make sure to be careful when you release the Production version of your updated plugin.

Thanks again,

by RW on August 20, 2014 at 7:13 pm. #

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