An Introduction to WordPress Plugin Development

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Overview

Availability of plugins and widgets in abundance has benefited today’s developers like never before. Whether we talk about Envato, WordPress or any other design tool- Plugins have changed the outlook of the development industry!. However, if you are new to this technically equipped online world, coding plugins might not be as easy as it seems. And this is precisely why the script below can prove to be of advantage to you. Our comprehensive guide to the world of WordPress custom plugin development is curated to aid beginners and avert them from the risk of losing out in this competitive and ever-advancing society. WordPress plugin is a powerful tool for websites.

Be it e-commerce websites or media portals, creation of sites requires a server-side scripting language for database connectivity (usually PHP) integrated with HTML. HTML is an umbrella term used for cascading style sheets ( formatting), the document object model ( to bring dynamism) and hypertext markup language ( laying out and displaying using tags). WordPress development saves one from the overhead of designing a website from scratch since all you need to do it enter content. A responsive website is already provided to you, and you don’t need to excel at writing codes. WordPress also offers customization by implementing the concept of plugins.

PLUGINS, ACTIONS AND FILTERS: All that you need to know about these terms!

A plugin is analogous to a module designed to provide specific functionality. For instance, forums, Frequently asked questions, etc. are plugins. A plugin differs from a theme for the effect it constitutes on a website. While a WordPress theme is concerned with the presentation and affects the exterior, a plugin has an internal impact. A WordPress plugin is easy to create and works efficiently with actions, filters and short codes. It extends the service of a custom site and increases the skill of the scriptwriter. An action is nothing but a function that is triggered when an icon is clicked. A filter, on the other hand, is used for content modification. Both actions and filters are examples of WordPress hooks.

Which are the best tools and editors that support plugin development?

When one plans to hire WordPress experts, he expects them to be up-to-date with compatible coding tools and software. This is because any user or open-source developer would want the code to meet standards as well as be error-free and smooth. The editor you choose substantially governs the efficiency and readability of your code. Atom, Vagrant, Brackets are some of the popularly used editors. Even a plain text editor works good but using the ones mentioned above reduces work time by facilitating the use of extensive inbuilt libraries and packages and providing features like syntax sensing and language-specific coding.

Tips that every avant-garde developer must know!

Customizing and coding are more or less similar irrespective of the language you use. And even the logic can be derived upon analyzing the problem statement. What makes a developer differ from the other are some coding lesser-known tips and hacks. To amplify the WordPress custom plugin development experience, we have compiled some of these tips, which are essential to the developing world:

1. USE AUTO-UPDATES IN FAVOR-

The sole purpose of any update is to enrich the user’s learning process by offering a sound and easily accessible interface. An update may also include security patches to fix unforeseen bugs. Each version is better than it’s former and therefore, explicitly enabling updates is essential from a developer’s point of view.

2. STRUCTURE THE CODE CORRECTLY-

Any piece of code should allow understand-ability and thus, cleanliness in the way you align and group elements is significant. One way to go about this is to use the industry-standard Model View Controller Framework. Here, the model is concerned with the data variables and information stores, the view focuses on the UI, and the Controller acts as an interface between model and view. The Controller performs request handling operations. Since MVC allows scalability, it makes the development of complex plugins easier.

3. CHECK, DEBUG AND TEST-

A product needs to be tested before it is released for public use. It must work correctly with different browsers, versions and external files. Hence, testing thoroughly and analyzing the plugin is something that goes without saying.

4. FOCUS ON HOOKING-

It is easy to use a hook. However, it is simpler to misuse it. Therefore, this is an area one needs to be extra mindful about. Most plugins work on Just in Time techniques and dividing the functions helps a developer to match a hook perfectly with a specificity. Filters and actions are the bridge between plugins and website. That is why it is essential to be clear of their usage. Using the right hooks helps one to survive and sustain in the scripting world for long.

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