11Jun

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The things every WordPress plugin designer should know

Plugins are an important part of why WordPress cms is so popular amongst bloggers and website owners around the world. The most powerful motivator for choosing WordPress platform over the rest is its ability to extend and meet just about any need of a customer. Having accumulated my own experience in WordPress plugin development, I’ve learned a lot about it. Now I’d like to share with you some of the “in and outs” of WordPress plugin development so that you learn more about the basics.

First thing first, you shouldn’t develop without debugging. When you start to develop a WordPress plugin, make sure you enable debugging. It’s got to be on during the entire time you’re working with a plugin code. If something goes wrong, WordPress will display an error or warning message. If you don’t see any message of that kind, such errors might not just as well be raised at all. With the help of  debugging you will be able to see WordPress notices which will tell you if you start use deprecated functions. These functions should be replaced with newer functions .

It’s possible to prefix your functions. A big number of plugin web developers use the same names for plugins that I use. What I mean is that you shouldn’t be surprised to find some other plugins that have identical names to your plugins. Why does this happen? The reason is very simple. When PHP-based functions come to the WordPress execution space, there is no isolation or separation between the functions for each new plugin. Hence, each function doesn’t get its unique name which is not good. However, there’s a way round it. And it’s to name all your functions with a prefix. Another very popular way is to use abbreviation name for your plugin. If you use PHP classes, you don’t have to worry about clashing of your functions. In case you’ve use the same name, WordPress will give you either a warning or error message.

A proper written PHP code can make your plugin look work well, but to make it look and feel good at the same time it’s essential to include some images too, and maybe even just a little bit of JavaScript. These files should be accurately organized and collected in their individual folders such as “css”, “js”, etc. And the best way to structure all the files is to create global paths that can be used throughout your plugin code.

Talking about WordPress plugins, at some stage you will have to deal with upgrades. What if the first database you worked with required one table but the next versions requires different settings? As a recommendation, I would give an advice to store the plugin version in WordPress database.

How do Actions and Filters work? Actions take place when certain events occur and during the execution of request. WordPress uses filters to check up and modify the text before adding it to the database.

Hopefully, this article was useful and quite interesting. I will keep you updated with the latest features and modifications so that you always can go along with time.

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