Participants Database 1.6 contains many enhancements over the 1.5 series. Most of the changes are behind the scenes: tighter security, an expanded developer’s API, more complete coverage of display strings for multilingual sites. The 1.6 series is also much more efficient in how it handles large databases and setups that use a large number of defined fields.
Here are some of the new features in 1.6:
Ajax Pagination & Sorting
Page through lists or re-sort the list without reloading the whole page. The plugin’s use of AJAX is generally improved: you can now use AJAX searches with remote search controls (pdb_search shortcode), and with multiple lists on a page.
AJAX features are enabled in the settings under the “Advanced” tab.
Selection Groups for Radio Selectors and Checkboxes
For elements with a lot of choices, grouping those choices can help users find what they’re looking for. While using optgroups has been available for dropdown controls, labeled groups are now available for checkbox and radio button controls.
Search For Blank Data
It’s now possible to search for records that are missing data or have blank data. The filters in the list shortcode now work more intuitively with blank or missing data as well.
Searching for blank data is also possible on the frontend, it must be enabled in the settings under the “Advanced” tab.
Better User Interface for CSV Uploads
You can now set and remember the settings for uploading CSV files, and they are now independent of the “matching record” functionality of the signup form. Last used settings are remembered so you won’t have to set them again once set up.
All plugin output now validates to HTML 5.
Column Sorting in Admin List Participants
Sorting the record list in the admin section can now be accomplished by clicking on the column title.
New Shortcode Attributes
Several new shortcode attributes are available to customize your forms and plugin data displays:
- edit_record_page in the “signup” shortcode, this sets the page for the “participant record page” the user will be directed to to edit their record, allowing different signup forms to use different record edit pages.
- submit_button sets the text on the submit button for signup and record forms.
Expanded List Search for the Admin List
The list of records in the admin can now be filtered by multiple criteria, and the last-used setting is saved for the user so you won’t have to re-filter the list each time.
Simplified Search URLs for the List Display
If you include just two parameters in your URL to the list page, the list will be filtered, making it easy to construct custom-result links. For instance. something like:
/list?search_field=state&value=CA will give you all records with a state of “CA”
New Records are Pre-Filled with Default Values
This simplifies filtering new records that haven’t been updated, such as using an “approved” field to automatically filter out new submissions.
Most of the Good Stuff is Under the Hood
I know that’s not the sexiest list of features ever, but the plugin is more secure, more bulletproof and more easily customized to your application. Developers who want to use this plugin will appreciate the many ways custom code can interface with the plugin without resorting to messy core-code edits.