Participants Database Quick Setup Guide

Use this guide to get a feel for how the plugin works

It’s a good idea to use this guide to set up the plugin if you are unfamiliar with it and how it works. This will allow you to get all the major pieces working so you can better understand how to set up the plugin for your particular application.

Initial Setup

There are several settings that must be set for many of the plugin’s functions to work. On this page, I will walk you through getting the plugin set up and running on your site.

How the Plugin Works in a Typical Setup

This plugin uses shortcodes to set up several pages that provide the frontend displays and functionality. In a simple setup, this means you’ll have the following pages:

  • Signup/Registration Page (creates new records) [pdb_signup]
  • List Page (shows a list of records) [pdb_list]
  • Single Record Page (shows the contents of a single record) [pdb_single]
  • Participant Record Page (shows their record in an editable form) [pdb_record]

A Typical Signup Process

Let’s just say you want to have a signup form that gathers a person’s name and email address. When they fill out and submit the form, they will be taken to another page and thanked. An email will be sent to them letting them know they’ve signed up and that they can return to the site to add more information to their record. A private link for this purpose is provided in the email.

Meanwhile, the site admin receives an email notifying them of the signup, and provides them with a direct link to the new record.

Here’s How We Set That Up

  1. Place the [pdb_signup] shortcode on the page where you want your signup form to appear.
  2. Go to the “Manage Database Fields” page and select the fields you want to appear in the signup form by checking the “signup” checkbox in those fields.
  3. Go to the plugin settings page and click on the “Signup Form” tab.
  4. Set the “Thanks Page” setting to point to the page you want them to go to after they sign up. Place the [pdb_signup_thanks] shortcode on that page somewhere.
  5. When the person who signed up clicks on the private link provided them in the email, they will go to the Participant Record Page page where they can fill out the rest of the form with information for their record.
  6. Click on the “Record Form” tab and set the “Participant Record Page” setting to point to the page where you want them to go to edit their record. Put the [pdb_record] shortcode on that page. This shortcode won’t show anything unless it is visited with the special private link provided to the user in the receipt email.

Setting Up the List Page and Detail Page

When someone visits the site, you can show them a list of all the people who have signed up. Each name on the list can be clicked to take the user to a detail page (Single Record Page) showing all the public information in their record. This is how to set that up.

  1. Place the [pdb_list] shortcode on the page where you want the list of participants to go.
  2. You can determine which columns are included in the list display on the Manage List Columns page in the plugin admin menu.
  3. On the page where you want the record detail to show, place the [pdb_single] shortcode. This page won’t show anything unless it is visited using a link with the ID of the record to show in it.
  4. On the plugin settings page, under the “List Display” tab, set the “Single Record Link Field” to the field in the list where you want the link to the detail page to go.
  5. Next, set the “Single Record Page” setting to point to the page where you put the [pdb_single] shortcode.

Now, go to the “Add Participant” page in the admin and enter a test record. You can now test the plugin functions to see how it all works.

Adapting the Plugin to Your Particular Needs

Now that you have a general idea how the plugin works, you are ready to adapt it to the exact needs of your application or site.

The first thing you will want to do is get a clear general idea of how you want the plugin to work, what information you need to gather and store and how your users will see and interact with that information. Pay close attention to the “user experience” so that both you and the user will have an easy time doing what they need to do.

I suggest you work this out on paper so you have a well-thought-out plan before you begin.

Back to the Participants Database Documentation Page…