Participants Database Settings Help

This page provides a compendium of help notes pertaining to the main settings in Participants Database. It is a work-in-progress, new notes are still being added.

General Settings

File Upload Location

This establishes the path to all file, CSV and image uploads for the plugin. By default, the plugin places all uploaded files in the path (base path)/wp-content/uploads/participants-database/ with (base path) indicating the directory where the mail WordPress directories, such as wp-content, wp-admin, etc. are found. This gives you a lot of flexibility in placing the files in your setup. In most cases, the default location is a good one to use.

Signup Form Settings

Record Form Settings

List Display Settings

Admin Settings

Advanced Settings

Strict Date Format

This setting forces users to use a specific date format when inputting dates. For most sites this is not needed, by default the date parser can deal with a wide range of date formats.

If you are in a locality where a commonly used date format is not parsed correctly, or if there is some special type of format you want your users to use, it may help to use this setting so that format can be correctly parsed.

Input Date Format

When using “Strict Date Format,” this defines the format that users must use when entering a date. This setting must be a valid php date format string. (Click the link for a full explanation of the format.) This is the same type of format string that is used by WordPress in its date formatting settings.

It is advised that you give the user specific instructions about the format they need to use. You can use the field help text for that.

This setting is only active when “Strict Date Format” is enabled.

Use Alternate Session Method

As of Participants Database version 1.8.2, we offer this setting to give site operators an alternative to the use of php session cookies. If php sessions are not working on your site, or you just prefer not to use them, checking this box will invoke the alternate method that does not rely on a cookie.

Common symptoms of sessions not working are signup thanks messages not displayed and receipt emails not going out, issues with multi-page forms, and list search results and pagination using AJAX.

The way this alternate method works is simply that the session ID is passed to the next page in the URL. This will only happen as needed, so most of your site URLs will remain unchanged. The session ID is only valid for a short time, so re-using the URL with the ID will not expose sensitive data.

File and Image Uploads Use WP Content Path

See: #File-Upload-Location

The default base path (the path that the “File Upload Location” setting is aded to) is usually the WordPress root: the directory that contains wp-content, wp-admin, etc. in a standard install. In some cases, a non-standard directory setup is in use and it is more convenient (and sometimes necessary) to use the defined content directory (typically wp-content) as the base for file uploads instead.

To help clarify how this works, by default, the “File Upload Location” setting is wp-content/uploads/participants-database/ If the “File and Image Uploads Use WP Content Path” setting is checked that same setting would need to be uploads/participants-database/ because the new base is wp-content, so it is no longer needed in the path setting.

Note: When you change this setting, you may need to change both the “File Upload Location” and the “Default Image” settings (under the “General” tab) to get the correct path.

It’s best not to change this setting unless you have been unable to get the default setting to work.

Allow Record Timestamps to be Edited

Record timestamps are the “Date Recorded,” “Date Updated,” and “Last Accessed” fields. Normally, these values are set automatically, but you may have a specific need to change them. This setting allows you to change these values.

Remember that you will lose the original values when you change them manually.

Sync php Timezone

This setting sets the php timezone to match the timezone from the WordPress settings. This is helpful in cases where php is reverting to the server’s timezone instead of using the timezone set in the WordPress timezone setting. Uncheck this to let php determine the timezone.

Note: as of WordPress version 5.2 the “Health Check” page will show a warning if this setting is checked. If you uncheck this preference, the warning will go away, but you should test your site to make sure you’re not having problems with date shifting. The warning can be ignored if you need to use this setting.

See: Date Shifting and Other Timezone-related Issues in Participants Database

Enable Debugging

Selecting this will enable plugin debugging messages to be written to the plugin debugging log. While this is enabled (not “off”), there will be a “Debugging Log” item in the admin menu where you can see the debugging statements.

  • “off” no debugging
  • “plugin debug” debugging messages from the Participants Database plugin will be written to the log
  • “all errors” general errors plus plugin debugging messages will be written to the log
  • “verbose” in addition to capturing all errors, the plugin will add status messages to the log

Debug logging will also be enabled if the site-wide WP_DEBUG constant is set.

It is a good idea, for reasons of performance and security, to leave this in the “off” position unless you are actively trying to solve a problem.

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