I just decided to try using WordPress for a CMS (not a blog). The site will have some product information that I want the client to be able to update. Instead of creating an entire admin side just for them to update their products, is it possible to create a form in the WordPress admin so they can add products to a database?
Is changing the WordPress admin side good practice?
Absolutely! That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for months now. (There are some screenshots here to show you what’s possible.) Just create a Custom Post Type for your their products, and then use a plugin to allow to you create Custom Metaboxes with fields. Here’s a list to consider:
The plugin that I think is best at the moment is Simple Fields although I’d suggest you consider others:
In addition you can simply define your custom post types with the
register_post_type() function (which is how I prefer to do it, for many reasons not to least of which is it is easier to version control them with Subversion or Git if you do) or you can use one of these plugins which might be easier when you are new to custom post types:
Note: Some of these plugins may actually let you define fields too and some of the fields plugins I mentioned above may let you manage custom post types as well. I’ve not had the time to research them all so if I need to move these around or embellish on my description, please let me know.
You’ll also want to create archive pages for custom post types which will show up as a feature of WordPress 3.1 but until then these plugins might be useful (though I’ve not tried them):
There are getting to be a lot of references on custom post types, here are some I can suggest (I wrote the first two as answers where on WA):
On WordPress Codex
And here’s some notes from a presentation I gave on Custom Post Types to the Atlanta WordPress Meetup group recently: