Shows how to create a widget with a dropdown list of posts for a given post type and then retrieve HTML specific to the selected post via AJAX to insert into the page.

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list-custom-post-type-posts-with-ajax.PHP
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<?php
 
/*
List_Custom_Post_Type_Posts_with_AJAX class.
 
Shows how to create a widget with a dropdown list of posts for a given post type and
then retrieve HTML specific to the selected post via AJAX to insert into the page.
 
Yes, the name of the class is insanely long in hopes that you'll be forced to think
about what would be a better name.
 
Author: Mike Schinkel (http://mikeschinkel.com)
 
This can be used in your theme's functions.php file or as a standalone file in a
plugin or theme you are developing.
 
In answer to:
 
http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/3989/display-custom-post-data-in-sidebar-w-dropdown
 
*/
 
class List_Custom_Post_Type_Posts_with_AJAX extends WP_Widget {
/*
* List_Custom_Post_Type_Posts_with_AJAX() used by the Widget API to initialize the Widget class
*
*/
function List_Custom_Post_Type_Posts_with_AJAX() {
$this->WP_Widget(
'list-custom-post-type-posts-with-ajax',
'List Custom Post Type Posts with AJAX',
// Widget Settings
array(
'classname' => 'list-custom-post-type-posts-with-ajax',
'description' => 'Widget to List List Custom Post Type Posts with AJAX.',
),
// Widget Control Settings
array(
'height' => 250, // Set the form height (doesn't seem to do anything)
'width' => 300, // Set the form width
'id_base' => 'list-custom-post-type-posts-with-ajax',
)
);
}
/*
* widget() used by the Widget API to display a form in the widget area of the admin console
*
*/
function form( $instance ) {
global $wp_post_types;
$instance = self::defaults($instance); // Get default values
 
// Build the options list for our select
$options = array();
foreach($wp_post_types as $post_type) {
if ($post_type->publicly_queryable) {
$selected_html = '';
if ($post_type->name==$instance['post_type']) {
$selected_html = ' selected="true"';
$post_type_object = $post_type;
}
$options[] = "<option value=\"{$post_type->name}\"{$selected_html}>{$post_type->label}</option>";
}
}
$options = implode("\n",$options);
 
// Get form attributes from Widget API convenience functions
$title_field_id = $this->get_field_id( 'title' );
$title_field_name = $this->get_field_name( 'title' );
$post_type_field_id = $this->get_field_id( 'post_type' );
$post_type_field_name = $this->get_field_name( 'post_type' );
 
// Get HTML for the form
$html = array();
$html = <<<HTML
<p>
<label for="{$post_type_field_id}">Post Type:</label>
<select id="{$post_type_field_id}" name="{$post_type_field_name}">
{$options}
</select>
</p>
<p>
<label for="{$title_field_id}">Label:</label>
<input type="text" id="{$title_field_id}" name="{$title_field_name}"
value="{$instance['title']}" style="width:90%" />
</p>
HTML;
echo $html;
}
/*
* widget() used by the Widget API to display the widget on the external site
*
*/
function widget( $args, $instance ) {
extract( $args );
$post_type = $instance['post_type'];
$dropdown_name = $this->get_field_id( $post_type );
// jQuery code to response to change in drop down
$ajax_url = admin_url('admin-ajax.php');
$script = <<<SCRIPT
<script type="text/javascript">
jQuery( function($) {
var ajaxurl = "{$ajax_url}";
$("select#{$dropdown_name}").change( function() {
var data = {
action: 'get_post_data_via_AJAX',
post_id: $(this).val()
};
$.post(ajaxurl, data, function(response) {
if (typeof(response)=="string") {
response = eval('(' + response + ')');
}
if (response.result=='success') {
if (response.html.length==0) {
response.html = 'Nothing Found';
}
$("#{$dropdown_name}-target").html(response.html);
}
});
return false;
});
});
</script>
SCRIPT;
echo $script;
echo $before_widget;
if ( $instance['title'] )
echo "{$before_title}{$instance['title']}{$after_title}";
 
// Show a drop down of post types
wp_dropdown_pages(array(
'post_type' => $post_type,
'name' => $dropdown_name,
'id' => $dropdown_name,
));
 
echo $after_widget;
 
// Create our post html target for jQuery to fill in
echo "<div id=\"{$dropdown_name}-target\"></div>";
 
}
/*
* update() used by the Widget API to capture the values for a widget upon save.
*
*/
function update( $new_instance, $old_instance ) {
return $this->defaults($new_instance);
}
/*
* defaults() conveninence function to set defaults, to be called from 2 places
*
*/
static function defaults( $instance ) {
// Give post_type a default value
if (!get_post_type_object($instance['post_type']))
$instance['post_type'] = 'post';
 
// Give title a default value based on the post type
if (empty($instance['title'])) {
global $wp_post_types;
$post_type_object = $wp_post_types[$instance['post_type']];
$instance['title'] = "Select a {$post_type_object->labels->singular_name}";
}
return $instance;
}
/*
* self::action_init() ensures we have jQuery when we need it, called by the 'init' hook
*
*/
static function action_init() {
wp_enqueue_script('jquery');
}
/*
* self::action_widgets_init() registers our widget when called by the 'widgets_init' hook
*
*/
static function action_widgets_init() {
register_widget( 'List_Custom_Post_Type_Posts_with_AJAX' );
}
/*
* self::get_post_data_via_AJAX() is the function that will be called by AJAX
*
*/
static function get_post_data_via_AJAX() {
$post_id = intval(isset($_POST['post_id']) ? $_POST['post_id'] : 0);
$html = self::get_post_data_html($post_id);
$json = json_encode(array(
'result' => 'success',
'html' => $html,
));
header('Content-Type:application/json',true,200);
echo $json;
die();
}
/*
* self::on_load() initializes our hooks
*
*/
static function on_load() {
add_action('init',array(__CLASS__,'action_init'));
add_action('widgets_init',array(__CLASS__,'action_widgets_init'));
$priv_no_priv = (is_user_logged_in() ? '' : '_nopriv');
add_action("wp_ajax{$priv_no_priv}_get_post_data_via_AJAX",array(__CLASS__,'get_post_data_via_AJAX'));
}
/*
* get_post_data_html($post_id)
*
* This is the function that generates the HTML to send back to the client
* Below is a generic want to list post meta but you'll probably want to
* write custom code and use the outrageously long named hook called:
*
* 'html-for-list-custom-post-type-posts-with-ajax'
*
*/
static function get_post_data_html($post_id) {
$html = array();
$html[] = '<ul>';
foreach(get_post_custom($post_id) as $name => $value) {
$html[] = "<li>{$name}: {$value[0]}</li>";
}
$html[] = '</ul>';
return apply_filters('html-for-list-custom-post-type-posts-with-ajax',implode("\n",$html));
}
}
// This sets the necessary hooks
List_Custom_Post_Type_Posts_with_AJAX::on_load();

Does this create a widget, that you can control in the dashboard on the widgets page, using a form similar to the default recent posts widget or whatever?

The same day you posted this, I published the blog post for releasing the latest custom post types posts sidebar widget plugin I had created. http://new2wp.com/pro/latest-custom-post-type-posts-sidebar-widget/. Would've been useful to incorporate what you've done here into it beforehand.

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