Introducing Shortcode Builder

MinervaKB Release Notes 1.4.0

With Shortcode Builder added in MinervaKB version 1.4.0 you can easily insert knowledge base shortcodes and edit them. It is a long-awaited feature and in this post we’ll see why it is important and how to use it.

Why shortcode builder?

First of all, I would like to explain the reasoning behind adding shortcode builder to existing functionality. As you probably know, in MinervaKB it is possible to create pages both via settings and using KB page builder. Both options are quite powerful and allow users to create similar types of KB home pages. So why adding another one?

Here are the main reasons.

  1. Content flexibility. While you can add page content with both above mentioned options, it is quite limited. What if you want to include multiple custom elements? Custom HTML? Images? Sliders? Contact forms? Now you can. You can create any page you can imagine and in places you need knowledge base elements you simply insert the shortcodes. And you still can edit them using the same visual settings you use in Settings page.
  2. Easier integration with popular page builders. While we plan to add support for some popular content builders (VC being the first in line), we cannot support them all, since today every studio thinks they have to roll their own. But now, with key KB elements available as shortcodes, you can use them with almost any builder available on the market.
  3. Using with page templates. Some themes use very, very custom page markup and design. And while we do our best to make Minerva work with all of them, sometimes it’s hard to achieve. Now, you can simply add KB elements inside your theme pages and they’ll just work.
  4. Easier to use in templates via php. Once you created and configured the shortcode using Shortcode Builder, you can easily render in anywhere in theme using standard WordPress do_shortcode() function.
  5. Portability. No need to import/export anything, you just copy and paste the shortcodes. Or whole pages. Of course you still need MinervaKB installed on both servers.
  6. Standard approach. Shortcodes are standard in WP world, so they are familiar to all WordPress developers out there. Which is good in case you need some tweaking done quickly.

Most importantly, we like to keep things as simple, as possible, without sacrificing the features. We could continue developing our page builder, or add many more settings, but this is a limited approach. Using shortcodes on the other hand gives us (and you) virtually unlimited flexibility.

Interface and usage

Shortcode Builder is available on all page edit screens, as well as in posts and articles. You should be able to see small blue icon on top of visual editor:

Shortcode Builder button
Shortcode Builder button

When you click on it, shortcode selection dialog will open.

Select shortcode
Select shortcode

These are the shortcodes available currently, more will be added later. Once you select any of the shortcodes, you’ll see the shortcode options view (in case this shortcode has options):

Shortcode options view
Shortcode options view

Next, you simply tweak the settings, press Insert, save the page – and you should see the element appear on the frontend.

After you’ve added the shortcode, you can either edit it in text mode (as usual), or you can edit it in Shortcode Builder again (much easier!). To edit it in Builder, simply select the shortcode text in editor and press the builder button. It will parse the selected shortcode and load it’s options view with the options you’ve already set. Simple, yet powerful.

Quick Video demo

This video show knowledge base Shortcode Builder in use.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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