When WordPress is used as a CMS, pages are one of the most common ways for structuring content that doesn’t require the use of taxonomies. Unlike posts, pages are not arranged chronologically, but are instead interrelated with other pages by hierarchy. Some sites have hundreds or even thousands of parent and child pages.
WordPress includes a very simple UI for indicating if a page is a subpage, but moving pages around within that structure can be a cumbersome process. That’s why developer Kyle Phillips decided to create the Nested Pages plugin, which offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface for page management. The plugin revamps the pages screen to make it cleaner and more user friendly.
Nested Pages arranges the page list in an expandable, sortable tree view where individual pages can be dragged into place. The UI is also touch-friendly, so mobile users can tap and drag to manage pages. It works in a similar way to WordPress’ menu system.
“I work on client sites full-time, and many times those sites have large page hierarchies that are difficult to manage within the native Pages listing,” Phillips said. “This proved to be a frustration point with clients.
Nested Pages is unique in that it maintains the availability of the Quick Edit feature in the revamped pages interface with all the standard fields and a few extra custom fields for setting menu and visibility options. “While there are many ‘drag-and-drop’ page administration plugins available, I could not find any that maintained quick edit functionality and did so in a clean, intuitive way,” Phillips said, explaining his inspiration for creating the plugin.
Nested Pages also has a convenient feature where it will generate a native WordPress menu automatically to match your pages screen. “In designing the plugin, I was definitely inspired by the way other content management systems tackled this problem,” Phillips said. “In keeping with the ‘WordPress way’, I decided to include a menu that automatically synchronizes with page changes (while providing menu editing within the Quick Edit interface).”
So far, Phillips said the plugin has been well received since he released it a few weeks ago. Since that time, he has worked out a few small bugs and design considerations. “I’ve included the plugin in all my client work recently,” he said. “Clients have all assumed that it was part of the native WordPress interface (which I can only take as a good sign).”
Nested Pages requires WordPress 3.8 or higher, and PHP version 5.3+. After testing the plugin, I found that it works smoothly, as page sorting and nesting are both saved in the background as you make changes to the structure. The plugin provides an elegant implementation of drag-and-drop page management and has the added benefit of cleaning up the pages screen with the expandable tree view. Phillips has incorporated all of these features while making it look like a natural part of WordPress.
Nested pages is one of the best CMS-enhancing plugins I’ve seen in a long time. You can download it directly from WordPress.org. A full list of features, documentation, and FAQ are available on the Nested Pages website.