Zone Manager (Zoninator)

This plugin is designed to help you curate your content.

Assign and order stories within zones that you create, edit, and delete. Then use the handy API functions to retrieve and display your content in your theme. Or for those who are a bit code-averse, try the handy widget.

Key features included in the plugin:

  • Add/edit/delete zones
  • Add/remove posts (or any custom post type) to/from zones
  • Order posts in any given zone
  • Limit capabilities on who can add/edit/delete zones vs add content to zones
  • Locking mechanism, so only one user can edit a zone at a time (to avoid conflicts)
  • Idle control, so people can’t keep the zoninator locked

This plugin was built by Mohammad Jangda in conjunction with William Davis and the Bangor Daily News.

Usage Notes


You can work with with a zone’s posts either as an array or a WP_Query object.


$zone_query = z_get_zone_query( 'homepage' );
if ( $zone_query->have_posts() ) :
    while ( $zone_query->have_posts() ) : $zone_query->the_post();
        echo '<li>' . get_the_title() . '</li>';

Posts Array

$zone_posts = z_get_posts_in_zone( 'homepage' );
foreach ( $zone_posts as $zone_post ) :
    echo '<li>' . get_the_title( $zone_post->ID ) . '</li>';

Function Reference

Get an array of all zones:


Get a single zone. Accepts either ID or slug.

z_get_zone( $zone )

Get an array of ordered posts in a given zone. Accepts either ID or slug.

z_get_posts_in_zone( $zone )

Get a WP_Query object for a given zone. Accepts either ID or slug.

z_get_zone_query( $zone );

More functions listed in functions.php`


Latest version: Download Zone Manager (Zoninator) v0.8 [zip]


  1. Unzip contents and upload to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Go to Dashboard > Zones to create and manage zones.
  4. Use the plugin’s handy API functions to add zones to your theme.
  5. Enjoy!


Q. How do I disable the locking feature?
A. You can use a filter:

add_filter( 'zoninator_zone_max_lock_period', 'z_disable_zoninator_locks' );

Q. How do I change the the locking feature settings?
A. Filter the following and change according to your needs:

  • Number of seconds a lock is valid for, default 30: zoninator_zone_lock_period
  • Max idle time in seconds: zoninator_zone_max_lock_period



  • Added a REST API for retrieving and managing zones
  • Support for special characters in zone names and descriptions


  • Added compatibility with WordPress 4.4 admin styles
  • Add the ability to save zone content to fix race conditions / problems with the autosave
  • Add ability to filter the dates to search
  • General performance improvements


  • Support for term splitting in 4.2
  • Run the init hook later so that we can allow custom post types to attach themselves to the plugin
  • Better translation support
  • Coding standards cleanup


  • WordPress version requirements bumped to 3.5
  • Support for touch events for mobile via jQuery UI Touch Punch (
  • Filter recent posts or search-as-you-type by date (today, yesterday, all) or category for more refined results, props Paul Kevan and the Metro UK team
  • New actions fired when adding/removing posts from zones
  • Bits of clean-up


  • New dropdown that recent posts which can be adding to zones, props metromatic and Metro UK
  • New filter: zoninator_posts_per_page — to override the default posts_per_page setting
  • Use core bundled versions of jQuery UI


  • Introduce z_get_zone_query: returns a WP_Query object so you can run the loop like usual.
  • Disable editing and prefixing of slugs. They’re just problems waiting to happen…
  • Add new filter to allow filtering of search args, props imrannathani for the suggestion
  • Allow scheduled posts to be added to zones so they automagically show up when they’re published, props imrannathani for the idea.
  • Default to published post in all zone queries in the front-end. Scheduled posts can still be added via a filter.
  • Run clean_term_cache when a post is added or deleted from a zone so that the necessary caches are flushed.
  • Add new filter to limit editing access on a per-zone level. props hooman and the National Post team
  • Allow editor role (editor_others_posts) to manage zones (plus other capability fixes, props rinat k.)


  • Move Zones to a top-level menu so that it’s easier to access. And doesn’t make much sense hidden under Dashboard.
  • Change the way error and success messages are handled.
  • jQuery 1.6.1 compatibility.
  • Bug fix: Custom Post Types not being included in search. Thanks Shawn!
  • Bug fix: Custom Post Types not being included in post list. Thanks Daniel!
  • Bug fix: Error thrown when removing last post in a zone. Thanks Daniel!
  • Other cleanup.


  • Initial Release!

18 thoughts on “Zone Manager (Zoninator)

  1. How do I get zoninator to pick up on my custom post types?

    I have already created my post-types, and have the front end working, but when I type in words that are only found in my custom post-type, the results never show up on the admin end of zoninator

    • You need to explicitly add support for the post type:

      < ?php add_action( 'init', 'my_init_zoninator_post_types' ); function my_init_zoninator_post_types() { add_post_type_support( 'my-custom-post-type', 'zoninator-zones' ); }

      • Thank you!
        I knew it had to be something really simple that I was missing.
        Gotta say, this is one of the coolest concept plugins I have come across in a very long time.

      • Actually, I think I may be missing a step somewhere. I have a custom post-type ‘podcast’ running on my site. I added the code snippet you supplied to my theme’s functions.php file changing out the post type to podcast. (I did double check to make sure that my post-type is singular, and it is. It is also registered public and searchable.)

        When I go into the zone manager, and then into a zone which I setup, everything works. However, if I type into the search field, the title of my podcast that I am searching for, it does not show up in the list. I have tried using the title, and also keywords that only exist in that post, but still no joy. It still only shows posts.

        Is there another step that I am missing?

          • I tried the dev vs. and had the same results, no posts showing up from my custom post-type.

            I am running wp 3.2beta1 if that makes any difference.
            *Is there supposed to be a function called zoninator-zones somewhere in the plugin? can’t find one, so am unsure what the action is modifying.

          • We’re testing the zoninator for a new site (3.1.2). We really like it so far. We’ve had to make the following changes to be able to use custom post types in zones:

            add the post type to the post_types array at line 72
            $this->post_types = array( ‘post’, ‘our_custom_post_type’ );

            add the post_types array to the query args at line 818
            $args[‘post_type’] = $this->get_supported_post_types();

            Without this, we could not query and save a custom post type.

          • @Eric
            Thank you so much, it worked perfectly!
            I had tried that route in the beginning but only modified the first line. I had totally forgotten that once defined that I needed to add the argument.

            Now I am off to see what I can do with the plugin as I have so many really cool ideas.

            Thanks again!

  2. Request:
    How do I call the loop for a specific zoninator-zone?

    Idea is that I am going to use zoninator to populate my slider with posts and custom post-types.

    I am struggling to figure out the arguments to use in my loop to limit the output to a specific zoninator-zones posts…. Yeah I know, stupid question but I guess others will ask the same someday

  3. I have installed your zoninator plugin but cannot see its value, usefulness, or how it works at all. Take your installation instruction #3 which reads, “Go to Dashboard > Zones to create and manage zones.” Well, I go to my Dashboard and see there is nothing called “Zones” anywhere. No listing called Zones, no menu item called Zones, nothing! So, of course there is no obvious way to “create” or “manage” zones. I’m using WordPress 3.1.4 and the Atahualpa 3.6.7 theme. Are zones meant to be a way to order the layout of your posts? If so, how do they do that? Or are they just another way to segregate types of posts, like categories (and if so why not just use categories?). I suggest you need to spend more time explaining the purpose, value, and implementation of your plugin and less time on programing and assuming we can all read your mind.

  4. My question is the same of the shawn’s one: how to integrate with the loop? z_get_posts_in_zone() returns a list of post, as a “new WP_Query()” does?
    Thanks for your work!

  5. Hi Mohammad, great plugin! A lot of people are going to find it very useful.

    Quick question – I’d like to use it with my theme. Is there any way I can check if any zones have been created, and if not, create them programmatically with a call from my functions.php?

    I’ve tried $zoninator->get_zones(), but I get an error.


  6. Thanks Mohammad. In case useful for anybody else, I got it to work with this:

    if (z_get_zone(‘home’) == ”) {
    global $zoninator;
    $zoninator->insert_zone( ‘home’, ‘Home’, ‘This is the Home Zone programmatically inserted’);

    For some reason the description doesn’t get saved though.

  7. Update to above – the zone description needs to be in an array.

    if (z_get_zone(‘home’) == ”) {
    global $zoninator;
    $zoninator->insert_zone( ‘home’, ‘Home’, array(‘description’ => ‘This is the Home Zone programmatically inserted’));

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