Featured Image Meta

I’ve built a couple themes where I’ve needed to give users more control over how the featured image is displayed for individual posts. The obvious place to put these options are in the thumbnail metabox itself.

Display Thumbnail Landscape


In this theme the default display of the thumbnails is a cropped to a square next to the title. But if the user had a large landscape image, they could choose to display it full width instead.

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Display a “Pretty” Post Date

On services like Twitter and Facebook you’ll see content that was posted “posted X minutes ago” or “posted X days ago”. I like that. I think it’s bit more personalized than simply using the long form date (e.g. December 27th, 2012).

On one of my sites I know display the post dates as a human time diff (aka, a human readable format) if the post is less than a month old. If it’s older than I month, I use the standard date format selected inside the WordPress dashboard under “Settings > General : Date Format” (in my case Month Day, Year).

The Code Snippet

if ( ! function_exists( 'example_posted_on' ) ) :
 * Prints HTML with meta information for the current post-date/time and author.
 * @since Example 1.0
function example_posted_on() {
	$post_date = the_date( 'Y-m-d','','', false );
	$month_ago = date( "Y-m-d", mktime(0,0,0,date("m")-1, date("d"), date("Y")) );
	if ( $post_date > $month_ago ) {
		$post_date = sprintf( __( '%1$s ago', 'example' ), human_time_diff( get_the_time('U'), current_time('timestamp') ) );
	} else {
		$post_date = get_the_date();
	printf( __( 'Posted <time class="entry-date" datetime="%1$s" pubdate>%2$s</time><span class="byline"> by <span class="author vcard">%3$s</span></span>', 'example' ),
		esc_attr( get_the_date( 'c' ) ),
		esc_html( $post_date ),
		esc_html( get_the_author() )



Use a Function

Instead of adding this code to each template where I need to display the date, I’ve wrapped it in the function “example_posted_on” so I can reuse and easily update it if needed. Whenever I need to call the date, I just use example_posted_on().

Since this is used in a theme of mine, I’ve wrapped it in a “if ( ! function_exists( ‘example_posted_on’ ) ) :” check so someone can easily override it from a child theme if they need to.

Compare the Timestamps

To check if the date of the post is older than a month, I generate a timestamp to compare with the one from the post:

$month_ago = date( "Y-m-d", mktime(0,0,0,date("m")-1, date("d"), date("Y")) );

You could easily change this to be to any time period you want and compare those timestamps instead.

Make Sure it is Translatable

If you’re wondering why the strings are wrapped in “sprintf” and “printf”, that’s so everything can be translated if someone wants to localize the theme for a different language. Make sure to change the textdomain “example” to whatever you’ve defined as the textdomain in your theme.

Be Careful of Caching

If your site makes use of heavy caching (W3C Total Cache, and/or a good CDN) your post “day” may get stuck for a while. If it’s included as part of a publicly released theme you may want to give users an option to turn it off and use the regular date instead.

Another option (in that case), would be to use javascript to look for the post date, and convert it to a human readable format on front end instead- but that’s probably fodder for another post.