WordPress Plugin Development

People who know how to write WordPress plug-ins have truly mastered WordPress. Writing plug-ins can help users administer sites, add new features and functionalities, change the way blog operates and customize its contents. WordPress plug-ins are actually set of functions and programs that can be used to add various features and new elements to WordPress sites without modifying WordPress core programming. Have you ever tried to write WordPress plug-ins? Here are few basic steps which will help you learn how to write WordPress plug-ins in no time.

The first thing you should know when creating a WordPress plug-in is that you need to come up with a unique name for your new plug-in and decide what it will be used for. In order to choose a unique name for your plug-in, check various repositories in order to check whether the name you have chosen has already been used. You can also check on Google to see if the name of your plug-in already exists. When choosing the name of your plug-in, think of one that will describe its function. For example, if your plug-in is related to safety, use the word “safety” in the name of your plug-in. Once you have chosen the name, create a PHP file. Such PHP file should be named accordingly to the plug-in name. For example, if your plug-in is called “Safe Access”, then your PHP file will be named “safe-access.php”. This name should also be unique, so be careful. Plug-ins are installed in the WordPress Plug-Ins directory (wp-content/plugins/), so all plug-ins users install should be named differently.

The next step you should make on your way to mastering WordPress plug-ins is to master file headers. WordPress file headers are actually comments placed in plug-in files. They contain so-called meta-information, which include information about the name, version and author of the specific plug-in or theme and are found inside a block located at the beginning of the file. File headers are always written in one line and consist of name and value. Here are few details you should know about WordPress file headers. Headers are usually written in blocks place at the beginning of CSS and PHP files. Header blocks must fit into the first 8,192 bytes of each individual file. Each header follow up the next one, and each of them are place in one line. Headers are composed of name and value and they are always separated by the character “:”. Each header name has at least one, and maximally 3 words or 12 characters. Words should be separated by one place. The value of the header may contain any character from a to z, or from A to Z, but it should not contain a newline.

Once you are done with programming your new plug-in, you should think about internationalizing it. This means that if you plan to distribute your new plug-in, you should localize it and make it available into several languages. Internationalization is a simple process of preparing your new WordPress plug-in to be used in different languages in order to bring it closer to potential users. The default language used in WordPress is English and English is used by millions of people around the world. However, there are millions of potential users who do not speak English, so it is a good idea to make your plug-in available in several languages. As a global platform, WordPress provides many translation features and functions, so there are several simple steps you need to use to internationalize your plug-in. Start by loading translation files of your plug-in into WordPress.

Finally, the last step is plug-in update. WordPress developers usually use SVN and version in order to update plug-ins and control various changes. Plug-in folders should contain a readme.txt file. Plug-in update is done by adding a new change log which should include all changes made in comparison to the previous version. Codes that are to be used should follow all applicable WordPress coding standards and rules.