Are You Fumbling Your WordPress Queries? Read and Bookmark This Post

I’ll be honest here, until recently, while I had been building WordPress queries on a daily basis, I still really didn’t know the way the WordPress query is build and the best way to modify it.

I guess I wasn’t alone, and Automattician guru Andrew Nacin came up with the perfect antidote at WordCamp Portland, delivering a classic talk called ‘You Don’t Know Query’.

It’s a 40 minute guide to WordPress queries that should straighten things out for you once and for all. Be warned though, it’s not very easy to understand the concepts Andrew discusses here, I had to listen through it twice and make reference to the Codex to really understand what he was saying.

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/andrewnacin/you-dont-know-query-wordcamp-portland-2011

What I found missing in Andrew’s speech, were a few case studies and discussion about queries in simpler terms. Thankfully, I soon came across an excellent article by Bill Erickson that really broke things down into a simple guide for us to follow when dealing with WordPress queries. It’s an essential read if you want to learn how to query properly.

Here’s another similar post if you want a slightly different take on the subject:

http://developer.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/querying-posts-without-query_posts/

An important takeaway from all these articles:

To modify main loop

  • don’t use query_posts()
  • use pre_get_posts filter with $query->is_main_query() check
  • alternately use request filter (a little too rough so above is better)

To run secondary loop

Use new WP_Query or get_posts() which are pretty much interchangeable (latter is thin wrapper for former).

Where you already making the best use of WordPress queries? Any other tips to share? The comments are open!

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About Jean Galea

Jean Galea is a WordPress developer, entrepreneur and padel player. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and EDD Bookings, as well as the Mastermind.fm podcast. His personal blog can be found at jeangalea.com.

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