Using the WordPress Uploader in Your Plugin or Theme

It’s fairly simple to implement, providing you already have a bit of experience with the WordPress API.

The first step is to prepare your HTML. Put it wherever the code for your admin page is. You want to have a text input for the image URL, and a button that will launch the uploader dialog.

Now that the easy part is out of the way, it’s time to start making it do something. You need to enqueue some scripts and styles. Here’s an example function to show how it’s done:

We need the media-upload and thickbox scripts for starters, as well as jQuery, which is already included. Then we have to register and enqueue our own JavaScript file, my-script.js, which will handle the media uploader functionality. We also need to load the thickbox stylesheet in the next function.

The if (…) block ensures that the scripts and styles will only be included if the user is on a specific admin page. If you look at your plugin’s (or theme’s) admin page, the URL should have a ?page=some_string at the end. Substitute my_plugin_page for that string.

Now for the part the actually invokes the uploader: the JavaScript. This will go in the my-script.js file we included earlier.

The first click() event listener opens a ThickBox dialog when the “Upload Image” button is clicked, and loads the uploader page inside it. It also stores the name of the URL input field in a variable, for later use.

The second function overrides the send_to_editor() function in the media-upload script. This is probably the most important part. When the “Insert into Post” button is clicked in the uploader dialog, this function fires. It collects the URL of the image that was uploaded, dumps it into the awaiting form field, and closes the ThickBox dialog.

That’s it. Providing everything went according to planned, you should have a form field that will either accept an arbitrary image URL, or allow a user to upload one on the spot.