I need to add about 50 properties to a product, such as heigh, width, location etc. I created custom taxonomies for every property and ran into serious problems.

First of all, the UI is a mess! Every taxonomy uses to much space. Some of the propertys should be presented to the user with radio buttons, checkboxes and dropwdowns.

What is the best practice? Use custom fields instead and lose the taxonomy functionality?

3 Answers 3


For each propery, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it likely that, on average, more than 1-2 posts will have the same value for this property?
  2. If so, do I need to filter posts based on this property, or is it just for display?

If you answered both with 'yes', then make it a taxonomy, otherwise a custom field.

Whichever you choose, you can make a custom metabox for that individual property, or several metaboxes that group related properties together. Whatever makes more sense.

  • Scribu, thank you! Yes, i will need to filter. Will look into custom metabox...
    – Pigeon
    Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 11:38
  • +1 for good and clear rules to evaluate, I usually have trouble explaining this
    – Rarst
    Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 12:59

And I'll second Mike's advice: Group/Split stuff that needs only certain meta boxes into different custom post types and add taxonomies where you need them in more than one post type.

Ex. "Couches", "Tables" & "Shelfs" need the meta boxes "weight", "dimensions" & "color", so it could be a custom post type named "large furniture".
"Mixer", "Toaster" & "Coffee makers" need the meta boxes "Consumption" & "Material" and could be grouped into the custom post type "household appliance".
Both need the tax "Available" & "Price Range" assigned.

Here i give you a link to a tool to reach your goal with ease: Wp Alchemy is a class that helps you doing Meta Boxes quick'n'fast. You can also find it on github, so it's more easy to stay up to date via SVN.


Hi @Pigeon:

I'll second @scribu good suggestions but I will add I think it should be more than 1-2 posts for his #1; more like 5-10, IMO at least.

Also, see if you can combine some of the taxonomies; i.e. 'height' and 'width' could be 'dimensions', and you could create a custom metabox that allows you to change how they are entered by by the user but still assign them into the database as terms like 'height-11' and 'width-8.5'.

  • It's possible for me to have a single metabox for about 40 of the properties (checkboxes). Any advice where to start with custom metaboxes? Is all this code really necessary?
    – Pigeon
    Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 17:05
  • Pigeon - Well, kinda, yes. I expect things to be added in the future that will minimize those issues. Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 18:48

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