Simple excerpts in WordPress

I have finally decided to plunge into some PHP code in my WordPress template. The reason? My home page is a little long. So are my archive and category pages. I write moderately lengthy posts, so even with 5 posts per page, you might have to scroll a bit.

First, I want to say that I have never learnt PHP. I’m also unfamiliar with the innards of WordPress. But I’m a programmer. The code doesn’t look too hard… so I’m still capable of making small changes.

I’ve heard about the use of excerpts, and because I’m too lazy to set them up properly with the more tag, I’m doing it the simple way. This is the code I used:

<?php if(is_category() || is_archive() || ($postcounter!=1 && !is_single() && !is_page())) {
} else {
	the_content(__('Read more &raquo;'));
} ?>

The the_excerpt() function is used to automatically generate an excerpt. It’s automatic, that’s why it’s simple. Otherwise, I’d have to set up more tags. Under the WordPress panel for that particular post, you can also add in specific text you want to use as an excerpt. I’m going for simplicity, so I’m using whatever WordPress defaults for me (55 words stripped of HTML).

The more tag is actually typed out in your WordPress post, so you actually have to (or can) figure where exactly you want the break to be. More control, less automation. It looks like this <!--More-->

The entire if statement is in the main WordPress loop. The is_category() and is_archive() functions should be self-explanatory. The third condition is a little complicated…

What I want is to customise the layout of the home page. The home page is neither a single WordPress post nor a WordPress page, hence the !is_single() and !is_page(). The $postcounter variable is used to keep track of how many posts were already displayed. The declaration and incrementation of the variable is not shown in the code.

The desired effect is that, on the home page, only the first post (which is the latest) is displayed in full. All other posts on the home page is displayed in excerpt form.

In the else part, it should be either a single post or page, so display the full content. The function the_content() takes a single parameter which is the “read more” text.

I have a customised version of the_content() parameter, which I believe will use any localisation files to translate the given text. If you’re not concerned with it, just use something like the_content('Read more...');.

Hope this helped you in some way.

P.S. Currently, I use 5 posts per display page. If I go to the second display page on my home page, the first post (the 6th post) displayed is in full, whereas the rest are in excerpt form. It’s not a critical issue, so I’m letting it be…