How To Create Custom Roles For WordPress Users

How To Create Custom Roles and Capabilities For WordPress Users

We discussed before how to work with wordpress built in roles and capabilities. Let’s lead by creating custom roles and add capabilities to these roles.

WordPress allow creation of new roles by plugins and the best place to create custom roles and capabilities is on activation hook of your plugin. Imagine we need to create a freelancing plugin in which users should differ in their roles and capabilities so let’s outline the custom roles that plugin will need:

  • Administrator: WordPress default role and it has all capabilities.
  • Project Manager: It should have all capabilities over specific project.
  • Developer: It should have capabilities to add tasks and read projects (add_project_tasks and read_project).
  • Client: It should have capability to navigate project data (read_project).

  • create_projects: capability to create new projects.
  • edit_project_settings: capability to edit project settings.
  • add_project_tasks: capability to add and edit tasks.
  • read_project: capability to access project data.

After outlining roles and capabilities needed for plugin. Let’s explore how to build these roles and capabilities.

Creating a Role

You can use add_role() function to add new roles. The function returns role object if it added and null if role exist. Here’s the syntax of the function.

add_role($role, $display_name, $capabilities);

As you can see the function accepts 3 parameters:

  • $role: the name of the role and it acts as a key.
  • $display_name: a label for the role.
  • $capabilities: array of capabilities to assign to role.

Here’s how to add our plugin roles and capabilities.

function freelance_plugin_activate(){
 /* add new capabilities to wordpress administrator role */
 //get role object
 $administrator_role =& get_role('administrator');
 //grant capabilities to role
 if(!empty($administrator_role)){
  $administrator_role->add_cap ('create_projects');
  $administrator_role->add_cap ('edit_project_settings');
  $administrator_role->add_cap ('add_project_tasks');
  $administrator_role->add_cap ('read_project');
 }
  
 /* add project manager role */
 add_role('project_manager', 'Project Manager',array(
     'edit_project_settings',
     'add_project_tasks',
     'read_project'
 ));
 /* add developer role */
 add_role('developer', 'Developer',array(
     'add_project_tasks',
     'read_project'
 ));
 /* add client role */
 add_role('client', 'Client',array(
     'read_project'
 ));
 }
register_activation_hook(__FILE__, 'freelance_plugin_activate');

Adding and Deleting Capabilities

To add a capability to built in role like administrator, You must first get role object using get_role() and then use add_cap() method to grant capability to the role. Explore the following part of previous code.

//get role object
$administrator_role =& get_role('administrator');
//grant capabilities to role
if(!empty($administrator_role)){
 $administrator_role->add_cap ('create_projects');
 $administrator_role->add_cap ('edit_project_settings');
 $administrator_role->add_cap ('add_project_tasks');
 $administrator_role->add_cap ('read_project');
}

To remove capability, also you need to get role object using get_role() and then use remove_cap() method. Here’s how to remove previously added capabilities.

//get role object
$administrator_role =& get_role('administrator');
//remove capabilities from role
if(!empty($administrator_role)){
 $administrator_role->remove_cap ('create_projects');
 $administrator_role->remove_cap ('edit_project_settings');
 $administrator_role->remove_cap ('add_project_tasks');
 $administrator_role->remove_cap ('read_project');
}

Removing a Role

Removing a role is simple as adding new role. The remove_role() function can be used to remove roles. It accepts a single parameter which is the name of the role. Let’s remove project_manager role.

function freelance_plugin_delete_role(){
 //get users with role that will be deleted
 $project_managers =& get_users(array('role'=>'project_manager'));
 //loop through returned users to change role in subscriber
 if(count($project_managers) > 0){
  foreach ($project_managers as $key=>$project_manager){
   wp_update_user(array(
       'ID'=>$project_manager->ID,
       'role'=>'subscriber'
   ));
  }
 }
 //remove role it's safe now
 remove_role('project_manager');  
}
add_action('admin_init','freelance_plugin_delete_role');

You should always check if any user uses role that you need to delete, Then change user role into another role.

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