Disable dragging of meta boxes and reset positions

Today we publish our second WordPress plugin – Unsortable Meta Box. It makes the meta boxes cannot be dragged or sorted, and could reset them to the default order.

The idea came from a client project, like our previous plugin – Completely Delete. Have you ever did the technical support online or on the phone with your clients? One challenge we face all the time, is to keep clients and us on the same page, since we couldn’t look at the same screen. Few weeks ago a client called and complaint the post screen looked weird, not like the one we showed on the demo. But I couldn’t tell what’s the weird part when I logged in, I saw the same WordPress post screen as all the time – the default fields with meta boxes I added using Meta Box plugin.

Even I suspected it could be a browser compatibility issue, after a minute or so I decided to use his account to login again, and got his idea right away. On the dashboard I found the meta boxes not displayed in the order I used to see, when entered the post editor screen, the meta boxes X and Y he claimed disappeared, were moved to the bottom of the page. I took some time to bring the interface back, and started to think about building a simple fix to situation like this.

It didn’t take too much time I found 2 key information on how to disable dragging of the meta boxes and reset positions. Besides, Unsortable Meta Box also comes with a Settings page, user could choose meta boxes on which pages (Dashboard, Post, Page, Custom Post Types …etc.) should not be draggable, and should be reset positions.

We’re planning 2 more features to enrich the Unsortable Meta Box:

  • TODO – Add roles selection. (Disable dragging or reset the positions for selected roles.)
  • TODO – Save the positions of the meta boxes for recovery later.

There are 2 screenshots from the plugin as below:

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I'm a senior web developer helping clients build their websites to grow businesses. Currently I'm based in Taipei, Taiwan. I write things about WordPress, AngularJS and life. Whenever you'd like to find someone to talk about these topics, just get in touch!

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