Agenda Setup Change, Improved Integration With WordPress Editor

The latest WordPress for Toastmasters software update changes what you will see on the Agenda Setup screen, taking advantage of the WordPress visual editor. This also means a better experience for anyone who uses the standard WordPress editor to update a meeting or meeting template.

In either mode, you will see placeholder images for the role signup slots and the notes to be placed on the agenda, like this:

Placeholder images displayed in the editor.
Placeholder images displayed in the editor.

You can reorder these images using drag-and-drop. Click on any image and hold the button down while dragging straight up or down.

Double-clicking on any of these placeholders opens a dialog box that allows you to change settings for the Role or Agenda Note.

Editing the parameters for a role
Editing the parameters for a role

Each of the roles you define will be displayed on the website, as a signup form for logged-in members, and on the printable agenda.

The Agenda Note placeholders are good for adding “stage directions” to the agenda. You can have these appear only on the agenda (the default), only on the web form, or in both contexts.

Two custom buttons within the editor allow you to add Toastmaster Role or Agenda Note fields to the form and agenda.

Custom editor buttons
Custom editor buttons

It is also possible to add text, images, and other content that is not contained within an Agenda Note placeholder. In that case, the content will be displayed in all contexts — on the form, on the printable agenda, and on the website. I can think of a few situations where that could be useful, for example to display a holiday image on the agenda. However, in general I would advise you to be careful not to clutter up the form.

Visual editor versus Text editor

The experience described above assumes you have the WordPress editor must be in Visual mode, rather than Text mode, as controlled by the tabs in the upper right hand corner of the editing area. Text mode displays any HTML code included in the content of a page, post, or event as code, rather than its visual equivalent. If you’re not comfortable working with code, keep the editor in Visual mode.

Text view shows a textual representation of shortcodes.
Text view shows the underlying code for the toastmaster and agenda_notes shortcodes.

Most of the code you will see in a Toastmasters agenda template is not HTML but what WordPress calls “shortcodes” — placeholders for custom output generated by software, like the Toastmasters Role signup buttons displayed when a member has logged in. I only recently figured out a way of creating a visual representation for the Toastmasters role and agenda note placeholders (so non-techies who try to edit one of these documents will not be scared off by a bunch of cryptic code). Previously, anyone who clicked “Edit Event” rather than “Agenda Setup” would see a screen full of code loaded into the editor, in either Visual or Text modes.

For consistency, the Agenda Setup screen has been updated to also use the WordPress editor, rather than the custom user interface I was using previously. The advantage of the Agenda Setup screen is it’s a little more specific to Toastmasters.

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