Date:September 28, 2015
Introduction and Business Problem
TablePress is a wonderful free plugin for WordPress. But the tables that are created are generic — plain looking, with no sense of style. It occurred to us that we could create a large number of easy-to-use reusable stylesheets, that would make it easy to transform bland and generic looking TablePress tables. The bonus would be that the styles could be used on any other table where a CSS classname could be assigned.
The decision to create the stylesheets was easy. The problem was figuring out what the set of styles should be. Ultimately, it was decided to use some “industry standard” styles — basically the 105 table styles that are part of Microsoft Word. It took one person almost an entire week to build out that many styles. But now there is a single style sheet that can be used to create everything from plain tables to tables with common colors, shaded rows and alternating shaded rows.
Using the Solution
One issue with the solution is that the stylesheet is very large. Therefore, the best way to use it is to extract out the class ids for the styles that are needed, and place those in the appropriate fields in TablePress. This is a lot less work than coding up the stylesheet from scratch, or even using CSSHero to create them.
One bonus element is that the class IDs and styles can be used on most tables, not just TablePress tables. So as long as you have the ability to assign your own class ID to a table, you can use the pre-made styles.
Once the stylesheets were finished, it was decided that a website would be the best way to distribute them. Therefore, one was created in WordPress with the following features:
- Full e-Commerce Store.
- Ability for users to retrieve their free or premium stylesheets at any time from their “My Account” Page.
- Ability to have subscriptions to automatically get new styles as they are placed on the site.
- Plus the other usual website things such as responsive styling, email subscriptions etc.
See the full site at http://www.tablepressstyles.com