Devlog: An External ID System

This is for the WordPress nerds out there. A part of the system underlying this site is what I call my “External Reference ID” system. You generally won’t see it much on the site’s front end though save for links on certain aggregate pages. Basically, it works by creating a custom non-hierarchical taxonomy I can use to reference posts by an external ID. The external ID is the name of taxonomy term, and then I can use reasonably fast taxonomy queries to reference them.

Thanks to this, I can keep the systems that generate regularly updated content (which are bylined “Midori Automaton”) separate from the WordPress install when I can. Additionally, I can link to an object that does not yet exist in the system pretty easily this way. For good measure, I also have a shortcode that can control whether or not a link or block is displayed based upon whether or not it exists as a public post. That’s not an exhaustive list of the plugin’s features, but the others have more limited use cases.

Why use a custom taxonomy you might be asking. Simple: I didn’t have to write any custom query hooks or front-end UI to add support for it. It’s already present in the REST API with a simple boolean flag too. So far I’ve been rather pleased with how it’s turned out.

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