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Creating a Recipe

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A recipe is the basic building block of the Uncanny Automator WordPress plugin.

Recipe types

There are two types of recipes:

  • Logged-in Recipes: These are typically triggered directly by logged-in users. For example, a recipe may include a User completes a course trigger, which then fires an Enroll user in a course action.
  • Recipes for Everyone: Introduced in Uncanny Automator Pro version 3.1 (and previously known as “Anonymous” recipes), these recipes can be run by logged in and logged out users. In some cases they may require user data, in which case Automator will prompt you to set up user creation or map to existing users, but some recipes for everyone can be run independently of user data.

Logged-in Recipes are available to all plugin users, while most triggers that support recipes for everyone are only available in the Pro version.

Recipe parts

Every recipe has 2 main parts: triggers and actions. A trigger is what happens first to tell the site to run an action.  A recipe effectively tells your WordPress site, “if this happens then do that“. Triggers are the “this” in that example; actions are “that”.

There can be a bit more to it, of course. Sometimes triggers and actions have conditions, like if a page must be viewed 3 times, or a quiz must be passed with a score of 80% or higher, the number of views and the score are conditions for the associated triggers. Some triggers and actions can have even more settings, like when you want to send an email. In that example, the email needs a recipient, subject, body, and maybe those fields will include some variables. Finally, on completion of a recipe you may want to redirect the user to a new URL. That’s another element of a recipe that can be optionally included.

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Create your first recipe

Creating your first recipe with Uncanny Automator is easy.  We’ll create a Logged-in recipe to start, as this is the simplest type of recipe.

After installing the plugin, navigate to Uncanny Automator > New Recipe as an administrator in /wp-admin/. This starts the process of creating a new recipe.

In the recipe type selector, choose Logged-in and click Confirm.

 

There are 3 main sections on a recipe pages, and all are required: a recipe title, triggers, and actions. Each recipe must have at least one trigger (and can only have one if you use the free version) and at least one action.

Parts of a WordPress Recipe

 

After adding triggers and actions there’s one last step. You need to turn them on! Every trigger, every action and the overall recipe have Live and Draft switches. See the screenshot to the right. For recipes to work properly you must have the associated triggers, actions and the recipe itself set to Live.

The default state when you add new elements is Draft. This allows you to set up your recipes completely before they’ll start to get completed. Only set the switches to Live when you want users to start completing them.

Remember too that a recipe will still run if some elements (like a second trigger or action) are set to draft if the recipe itself is live. It just means that those triggers or actions will get skipped. Be very careful about leaving things in a draft state.

Also remember that each recipe needs a title, at least one trigger and at least one action. If your recipe is missing any of those then you cannot make it live.

Additional settings

Before taking a recipe live, there are a few extra settings available, including how many times a recipe should run per user and how many total times it will run.

Automator recipe settings

By default, all recipes run an Unlimited times per user. What that means is that the actions will run every time a user completes the triggers. So if the trigger is that a user buys a product, every time the user buys a product the actions will run. If the recipe should only run once or a certain number of times per user, click the Edit button to change the value.

Please note that “recipes for everyone” may not have a Times per user option, since recipes aren’t necessarily mapped to a user.

The Total Times option controls how many times the recipe can run globally before it will no longer fire. Perhaps you want to run a promotion where only the first 50 buyers of a product get a bonus, like a course enrollment; this type of situation is where the Total Times option is useful.

Uncanny Automator 3.0 and later also includes an option to duplicate recipes. Click the button in this section to clone a recipe, open it automatically, and have it prepopulated with the details from the original recipe. Don’t forget to make everything live if you want to continue using it!

The final elements in the section, which allow setting recipe tags and categories, are very useful for organizing recipes in the recipe list. By adding categories you can more easily see which recipes are related (we ourselves typically add categories for each integration included in a recipe so that we can more easily filter by integration in the recipe list).

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, learn more about triggers, actions, or how to use Recipes for everyone.

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