Creating my own Admin Forms in a WordPress CMS?

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?

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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:

Plugins for Fields & Metaboxes

The plugin that I think is best at the moment is Simple Fields although I’d suggest you consider others:

  • Simple Fields
  • Easy Custom Fields
  • Verve Meta Boxes
  • Magic Fields (See Also)

Plugins for Defining Post Types

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:

  • CMS Press
  • Custom Post Type UI
  • WP Easy Post Types (See Also)
  • WP Post Type UI
  • GD Custom Posts And Taxonomies Tools
  • Ultimate Post Type Manager

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.

Custom Post Type Archive Pages

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):

  • Simple Custom Post Type Archives
  • Custom Post Type Archives

Learning More About Custom Post Types

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 StackExchange

    • Tips for using WordPress as a CMS?
    • Implementing a Clone using WordPress?
  • On WordPress Codex

    • Custom Post Types
    • “Supports” Reference for Custom Post Types
  • Blog Posts

    • Custom post types in WordPress
    • 101 Techniques for a Powerful CMS using WordPress
    • Rock-Solid WordPress 3.0 Themes using Custom Post Types
    • WordPress Custom Post Types And Taxonomies The Right Way
    • Custom Post Types in WordPress 3.0
    • Adding Custom Field GUI to Custom Post Types in WordPress 3.0

And here’s some notes from a presentation I gave on Custom Post Types to the Atlanta WordPress Meetup group recently:

  • Presentation Notes: Custom Post Types for WordPress