If you are evaluating RSVPMaker for use on one of your own projects, our new demo sandbox site makes it easier to check out all the features you would use as an event author or site editor. Only a few admin functions are off limits, allowing you to test setting up events, changing parameters such as event pricing, and embedding an event listing or single event in a blog post or web page.
This demo shows off some new pricing options, such as the ability to set a price for parties who want to reserve a whole table at a banquet, rather than booking admission for individual diners.
Instead of counting the number of guests, the Table of 8 option set here provides a flat price for the party. If fewer than 8 guests are listed, the registration will be padded with placeholder entries (names can be added later). If too many guests are listed, a warning will be shown.
You can also establish coupon codes for discounts. The discounts only apply to individual registrations however.
Here’s what the pricing setup looks like on the back end.
After registering, you can simulate a credit card payment using the test card number provided in the confirmation message. If no payment is recorded, you should receive a follow up “Payment Required” email after about 30 minutes. This is an optional feature you turn on from the settings screen.
In response to a user request (underwritten with a donation to the cause), RSVPMaker now allows you to establish coupon codes for discount pricing for an event.
Specific pricing, such as an “Early Bird” registration offer can also have an expiration date (that’s not new).
Another feature, probably long overdue, is that you can have RSVPMaker send a “Payment Required” reminder when someone registers for your event but doesn’t pay. In e-commerce terms, this is essentially an “abandoned shopping cart” problem that needs solving if you want people to pay for an event in advance and do not want them showing up thinking they are registered when they failed to complete the registration with a payment.
This is still optional. Some groups I’ve worked with, such as professional networking organization, want people to register in advance but are fine with taking a check at the door. They offer online payment as an option, not a requirement. On the other hand, if you’re registering people for an online class, you know you have to get that payment online (no “at the door” for you).
To turn on payment reminders, go to the RSVPMaker settings screen, Payments tab.
If you want to change the notification headline or body copy from the defaults, you can do that from the Notification Templates screen under RSVP Mailer. I provide codes for including elements such as the email subject line, which are documented at the bottom of that screen.
This is also where you can customize the notification sent to the event owner and the confirmation message sent to the person registering for an event.
Limited Time Content (Updated)
The Limited Time Content wrapper block for Gutenberg has also been updated to allow the option of setting expired content to be automatically deleted. This is a container into which you can place paragraphs, images, and other content (InnerBlocks in Gutenberg terminology). You can then set a start time, an end time, or both.
The Limited Time Content block contents will be hidden if the current time is before the start time or after the end time. The idea is to allow you to display an event promotion — or any other content that only makes sense to display for a limited time, such as a limited-time price for goods or services — without worrying that it will still be showing up weeks later because you forgot to take it down.
By default, you will have to go back into the editor and remove expired content after the end date/time has passed. However, as of release 5.8.5, you can have RSVPMaker automatically delete that block of expired content.
Note: It took me several tries to find a regular expression search and replace pattern that would delete the target block and leave all other content alone. If you’re not inclined to trust the software to do this for you, you can stick with the manual method. If you use the automated method, you may want to make sure you have WordPress configured to track revisions so you can retrieve the deleted content if necessary.
A new “Limited Time Content” wrapper block for the WordPress 5+ / Gutenberg editor allows RSVPMaker to control the display of whatever blocks of content you place inside. You can set it to not display the content before the specified start date and time (for example, the start of a sale) or after the end date and time (the end of the sale).
You can provide a start date, an end date, or both.
One of my motivations for creating RSVPMaker in the first place it that I think it looks bad for a website to be advertising an event that has gone past as if it were still in the future. The same is true for a an announcement that is long past its expiration date.
The Limited Time Content block can be added to any blog page or post. You could use it inside an RSVPMaker event post as well (for example, to call attention to early bird event pricing that should no longer be advertised after a certain date).
This wrapper component can be equally useful for staging content on your website that should not be advertised prior to a certain date or time. Examples might include the launch of a product or of a political campaign.
Because it’s set up using Gutenberg’s InnerBlocks, you can place paragraphs, headings, images, and other blocks of content inside the Limited Time wrapper. A shaded border makes it easier to see what content is inside, versus outside, the Limited Time area. Click on the border to set the start time and / or end time.
Note that caching plugins could interfere with this component starting or ending the display of a block of content at precisely the start or end time you’ve specified — the logic of what content to display or not display only gets executed on a dynamic page load. Even if it works perfectly, you’ll want to go back and remove blocks of content that have expired, rather than leaving them in the body of a post indefinitely.
Still, this should save time on the chore of adding and removing content intended to be displayed on you your site for only a limited time.
Update: As of release 5.8.5, you can set RSVPMaker to automatically delete a block of content that has expired (passed the end date that you set). See related post.
RSVPMaker now includes its own support for online payments via the Stripe service, including a new Gutenberg block for defining payment buttons to be embedded in a page or post. This means you can use the same online payments mechanism for event payments and other sorts of payments, such as donations, consulting fees, or membership dues.
In the context of an event you’re charging for, the payment button appears in the confirmation message for the registration with the price calculated based on what you entered on the RSVP Event Options screen. It’s also possible to configure the software to send an automated email reminder to anyone who registered but didn’t immediately pay, allowing them to complete the transaction.
This stand-alone payment buttons were created partly to support the WordPress for Toastmasters project, which uses RSVPMaker for event scheduling, and includes a “dues schedule” option for fees that are prorated depending on the month when someone joins. The example shown above is from Online Presenters Toastmasters, where online dues payments are particularly important since the club has no physical meeting space.
Previously, RSVPMaker offered an integration with the WP Simple Pay for Stripe plugin, which is still supported (and may make sense if you use it for other purposes). However, if you use RSVPMaker’s built-in support for Stripe, you should deactivate WP Simple Pay to prevent conflicts.
Here is an outline of how it works.
In addition to recording a single payment, the Stripe payment button can be configured to record a subscription payment, meaning the user will be billed again after a set period. The supported intervals so far are monthly, yearly, and every six months.
This functionality is all brand new, so if it doesn’t work correctly, let me know.
RSVPMaker is ready for WordPress 5.0. That doesn’t mean there is not still considerable room for improvement in how it integrates with the new Gutenberg editing experience, but the main thing you need to know is where to find options that have moved.
One of the goals of the new editor is to “declutter” the editing screen so that blog authors, in particular, can focus on writing without being distracted. Plugin authors are discouraged from using the old “meta box” model where lots of options where displayed beneath the main content editing area. For that reason, many of the more elaborate RSVPMaker options for setting confirmation messages, registration options, and prices have moved to a separate screen.
When you click Add New for an RSVPMaker event, instead of going straight to the editor, you will see this screen asking you to set the event date and a few other basic options up front. Note that there is also a link in the upper right hand corner that lets you shift from adding a single event to adding a template for a schedule of recurring events.
Within the editor, you will see a calendar widget in the documents tab of the sidebar that allows you to change the event date and time. This is a little tricky because that calendar can be hidden when you are editing blocks of content. Click on the Documents tab in the sidebar, and you’ll find it under Status and Visibility.
Don’t confuse the event date with the Publish date. If you set the Publish date to a future date, the post will not appear on your website until that date.
To set other event parameters, including some like event pricing that aren’t shown on the Add New screen, click the RSVP / Event Options link that appears on the black menu bar when you are logged in and have event editing rights. You will see that when either viewing or editing an RSVPMaker event post.
You can navigate back and forth between the event options screen and the editor for event content.
When you are editing an event template, an additional “Create / Update” option appears on the black administration menu. Click there to add a batch of events based on the template to your site or update previously added events based on your changes to the template.
In addition, RSVPMaker now offers 2 Gutenberg blocks: RSVPMaker Upcoming for adding an events listing and/or calendar and RSVPMaker Embed Event for embedding a single event in a page or post. These are the successors to the shortcodes used in earlier releases (the shortcodes should still work).
Watch the video embedded above for a tour of the updated RSVPMaker editing experience.