Adding custom URL endpoints in Wordpress

About 2 min reading time

In a current Wordpress project, we wanted to have a permalink to a photo gallery filled with images (attachments) for a post. Wordpress supports permalinks to single attachments, such as

site.com/single-post/attachment/flower

That's cool. However, we wanted something like this:

site.com/single-post/photos

... where all attachments would be listed. The /photos part is called an endpoint. So how do you add them in Wordpress? And how do you assign this endpoint to render a specific template file?

Relevant APIs

After some quick googling to find out if this was possible and worth a try, I found the Rewrite API in the Codex. Neat stuff.

Other resources I found during my quest:

The code

After reading through these, I simply implemented the necessary filters and callbacks in the functions.php file.

I began with this:

add_filter( 'query_vars', 'add_query_vars');

/**
*   Add the 'photos' query variable so Wordpress
*   won't mangle it.
*/
function add_query_vars($vars){
    $vars[] = "photos";
    return $vars;
}

As you can see, I'm working with my /photos endpoint. I have to tell Wordpress' rewrite engine to take our special query variable ("photos") into account when rewriting URLs, so I used the query_vars filter for this (see the Filter Reference).

Next, I registered the actual endpoint with the built-in function add_rewrite_endpoint() ( Docs). It takes a string (the endpoint) and a place . "Place" is where the endpoint will be active, and the docs only specify a couple: "EP_PERMALINK, EP_PAGES, EP_ATTACHMENT, etc". From other examples I've spotted EP_ALL as well. I used EP_PERMALINK :

add_rewrite_endpoint('photos', EP_PERMALINK);

Right. The endpoint is up and running, but as I said at the top, I wanted a specific template to render when this URL is visited. It's doable! Check out the single_template filter.

add_filter( 'single_template', 'project_attachments_template' );

/**
*	From http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Hierarchy
*
*	Adds a custom template to the query queue.
*/
function project_attachments_template($templates = ""){
	global $wp_query;
	
	// If the 'photos' endpoint isn't appended to the URL,
	// don't do anything and return
	if(!isset( $wp_query->query['photos'] ))
		return $templates;
	
	// .. otherwise, go ahead and add the 'photos.php' template
	// instead of 'single-{$type}.php'.
	if(!is_array($templates) && !empty($templates)) {
		$templates = locate_template(array("photos.php", $templates),false);
	} 
	elseif(empty($templates)) {
		$templates = locate_template("photos.php",false);
	}
	else {
		$new_template = locate_template(array("photos.php"));
		if(!empty($new_template)) array_unshift($templates,$new_template);
	}
	

	return $templates;
}

I've hard coded the file photos.php above. Create this file in the theme folder, and you're all set! In this template you've got access to the global $post variable, so you're able to pull in all kinds of post data into it.

Outro

Pretty cool to bend Wordpress to your will, eh? I can imagine this functionality is pretty nifty to have when doing more advanced things in Wordpress.