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How to query select dropdown menu to build a search engine

  • Hey Elliot. I need to create a Query based on a dropdown menu that sets a var equal to the selected option.

    I’ve used this example of yours below and it has worked for a simple example of another Custom Post Type I have but in the case of the “Search Engine” I need to create, the user will select two dropdown menus and once these are set and the search button clicked, the Query needs to run.

    Problem I am having is that the meta_value looks like this in the database:

    How do I access the “Merlot” in this, what I assume is an array?

    // args
    $args = array(
    	'numberposts' => -1,
    	'post_type' => 'wines',
    	'meta_key' => 'type',
    	'meta_value' => $wine //this needs to be Merlot from the dropdown menu
    // get results
    $the_query = new WP_Query( $args );
    // The Loop
    <?php if( $the_query->have_posts() ): ?>
    	<?php while ( $the_query->have_posts() ) : $the_query->the_post(); ?>
    			<a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a>
    	<?php endwhile; ?>
    <?php endif; ?>
    <?php wp_reset_query();  // Restore global post data stomped by the_post(). ?>

    Many thanks.

    • James

    • January 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Hi @sixfootjames

    Is the drop down box an ACF selection?

    If so, the currently selected element can be accessed by using

    $wine = get_field('name-of-drop-down-box');
    before defining $args


  • Hi Elliot. Thanks for this.

    I realise my next question is not related to this one but, let me take a step back and first ask, how do I generate the select html tag based on the ACF selection I have created?

    Based on all my findings, I will document all the results in this post on How to create a search engine using Advanced Custom Fields in the hope that it might help someone else understand this.


    • James

    • January 31, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Hi @sixfootjames,

    Just so you know. This is not Elliot, we are here to help him with his super popular plugin. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would consider doing this using jQuery and AJAX. You could use ACF to generate your original select and a blank select.

    And then write some generic PHP to accept an AJAX request with the selection and then return a data set to populate the second select.

    IMO, this would make for a better UX.

  • I misunderstood the post below and still in need of some help with this please.

    Thanks guys. I managed to get a little further with this from this great article I found about dynamically populating select fieldโ€™s choice in Advanced Custom Fields

    • Elliot

    • February 12, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Hi @sixfootjames

    To respond to your original question, to query a value which is saved as an array, you will need to perform a LIKE compare. You can read about this here:

    For a good understanding of how to create a front end search engine, try this:


  • Good man, thanks so much Elliot. It helps when you use the right search terms. I would never have thought to use Archive as a “Search Engine” term when I normally google something like search engine

    Thanks for this much appreciate!

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