WordPress Shortcodes – My Way

As anyone whose work in WordPress whose tried to create their own shortcodes knows, it can be a nuisance. Trying to come up with unique names for the shortcodes so as not to cause conflicts, supporting nested shortcodes, etc., etc. It can be a challenge.

Instead of using functions, however, I’ve started using enclosures and classes. Such a class itself registers shortcodes which it can have embedded. And to overcome the actual shortcode tag itself conflicting – I’ve found you can “namespace” those, too. Here’s an actual example:


namespace sunsport\shortcodes;

 * This class provides the functionality for creating the HTML structures for
 * the frontpage tiles
 * @author ncrause
class Tiles {
    public function __construct() {
        add_shortcode('sunsport:tiles:create', array(&$this, 'create'));
        wp_enqueue_style('sunsport-tiles', '/css/tiles.css');
    public function __destruct() {
    public function start($atts = array(), $content = null) {
        include __DIR__ . '/fragments/tiles/start.php';
   public function create($atts = array(), $content = null) {
            'href' => '/',
            'img' => '/img/image_missing.png'
        ), $atts));
        include __DIR__ . '/fragments/tiles/create.php';

add_shortcode('sunsport:tiles:start', function($atts, $content) {
    $instance = new Tiles();
    return $instance->start($atts, $content);

So, what we have here is a shortcode “sunsport:tiles:start” which creates an instance of our class. That instantiation registers a new shortcode “sunsport:tiles:create”, which would be unavailable otherwise, thus we avoid have to check to make sure it’s properly enclosed in a parent “start” shortcode, and we gracefully deregister it at the end of the run.

It’s probably worth include the “fragments/tiles/start.php” file just for reference:

<div class="sunsport-tiles">
    <?= do_shortcode($content) ?>
    <div class="clear"></div>

And here’s the actual usage:

  [sunsport:tiles:create img="img/tiles/photo_button01.png" href="/products"]Vinyl Lettering[/sunsport:tiles:create]
  [sunsport:tiles:create img="img/tiles/billboard_photo.png"]Billboard[/sunsport:tiles:create]
  [sunsport:tiles:create img="img/tiles/photo_button03.png"]The Company[/sunsport:tiles:create]

There’s is one word of warning – do not do a naming convension like this:

  • parent shortcode – sunsport:tiles
    • child shortcode – sunsport:tiles:create

The child shortcode will never fire. For some reason, it seems WordPress doesn’t actually read in the full shortcode in this scenario – instead of “sunsport:tiles:create” firing, WordPress will simple re-run “sunsport:tiles”.

That caveat aside, I find this feels a lot cleaner and less collision-prone than other examples I’ve seen.

Another “WTF?!” IE9 Bug

With Internet Explorer’s complete lack of support for any of the neat and useful CSS styles, one always has to revert to Microsoft’s disgusting “filter” hack. The filters don’t take in very many useful parameters (such as color stops in gradients) and disable text anti-aliasing. 

But here’s something you probably really didn’t see coming – under IE9 only (this doesn’t affect IE8), filters completely cripple events. If you define any mouse over or even click events, they will not fire.

This created a situation where I could no longer use a horizontal sliding accordion, because IE doesn’t support text rotation and uses a … you guessed it … filter.

I hate Microsoft so much … so very very much …