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An example function used to demonstrate how meta data is typically saved in a WordPress theme or plugin. The gist is made public so that developers can contribute to the standard security boilerplate functionality in order to simplify, reduce, and improve our serialization functions.
<?php
/**
* An example function used to demonstrate how to use the `user_can_save` function
* that provides boilerplate security checks when saving custom post meta data.
*
* The ultimate goal is provide a simple helper function to be used in themes and
* plugins without the need to use a set of complex conditionals and constants.
*
* Instead, the aim is to have a simplified function that's easy to read and that uses
* WordPress APIs.
*
* The DocBlocks should provide all information needed to understand how the function works.
*/
public function save_meta_data( $post_id ) {
if( user_can_save( $post_id, 'meta_data_nonce' ) ) {
/* ---------------------------------------- */
/* -- Actual serialization work occurs here */
/* ---------------------------------------- */
} // end if
} // end save_meta_data
/**
* Determines whether or not the current user has the ability to save meta data associated with this post.
*
* @param int $post_id The ID of the post being save
* @param bool Whether or not the user has the ability to save this post.
*/
function user_can_save( $post_id, $nonce ) {
$is_autosave = wp_is_post_autosave( $post_id );
$is_revision = wp_is_post_revision( $post_id );
$is_valid_nonce = ( isset( $_POST[ $nonce ] ) && wp_verify_nonce( $_POST[ $nonce ], plugin_basename( __FILE__ ) ) );
// Return true if the user is able to save; otherwise, false.
return ! ( $is_autosave || $is_revision ) && $is_valid_nonce;
} // end user_can_save
@tommcfarlin
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tommcfarlin commented Jan 30, 2013

Adding these comments from the blog comment to make sure they are captured as well so this can continued to be refactored:

  • The gist embedding seems to be double encoding some characters, so ampersands are showing as a double amp; HTML entity
  • You’re checking to see if the user has permissions to post – I’ve got two comments on this. Firstly – I thought WordPress already handled this check for you? Second – if it doesn’t, then you’re only performing the check if the post_type is “post” and not any other post type (E.g. page, or custom post types) – is there a deliberate reason for that
  • The check for isset( $_POST['meta_data_nonce']) is redundant since you’re calling wp_verify_nonce later anyway?

@studioromeo
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studioromeo commented Feb 5, 2013

Chiming in, you don't need to do this since it is already a boolean.

$is_valid_nonce ... ? true : false;

Instead you can write something like this:
$is_valid_nonce = ( isset( $_POST[ $nonce ] ) && wp_verify_nonce( $_POST[ $nonce ], plugin_basename( __FILE__ ) ) );

@dukizuki
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dukizuki commented May 29, 2014

Hi Tom. maybe it's not correct place where I should ask this, but may I use this code snippet in commercial(Themeforest Theme) use? Thanks in advance..
^ Duke

@tamas-web
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tamas-web commented Oct 21, 2015

Just out of curiosity...
Why wouldn't I want to save an auto save as well?
Maybe I have some meta data, that may be needed with auto save as well.
Lastly I'm fairly new to Wordpress, experienced coder, but still new to it's API, so which is the code part that checks if the user can save or not?

From what i can make out:
$is_autosave = wp_is_post_autosave( $post_id );
check if the current save state is an auto save or not, not related to user_can stuff, I think
$is_revision = wp_is_post_revision( $post_id );
check if the current save state is a revision
$is_valid_nonce =...
well no arguing there

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