Today I thought I’d give share a few tips when creating a WordPress plugin. I made one recently which you can find here – WP Authors Tweets. I thought of it as quite a daunting task at first, but with a bit of ‘googling’, I found more than enough information and help on this topic.
If you are thinking of creating a WordPress plugin, I thought it might be helpful if I collate a few of the most helpful resources to I used and share a few tips I picked up whilst developing one of my own.
I think creating a WordPress plugin is something you should have a go at if you get a bit of spare time and work with WordPress a lot. It will give you an extra skill set and build your confidence in PHP if you’re not too confident at the moment. There’s quite a big thought process that goes into it – it certainly was more involved than I first thought it would be. I’d definitely recommend having a go and developing one of your own.
Anything to do with WordPress, I always look 1 place first for help – and that’s the WordPress Codex. Most of you probably know what that is, but just in-case you don’t – it is a place where WordPress have collated what I like to think of as ‘manuals’, to everything to do with WordPress. So it’s basically a library of information and somewhere in there will probably be something to do with what your looking for.
Developing a plugin doesn’t have to be the most complicated thing in the world. You can create a plugin for anything. Something as simple as a little widget image rotator to a full blown contact form creator. I’d say start small and work your way up, but it’s up to you.
Here’s a very useful video I watched, it’s about 5 minutes long but well worth a watch.
This is a great resource for your plugin’s admin panel. It covers some styling that you can use which is already applied to WordPress, things like button styles, icons etc – again, very useful.
Lastly, quite an in-depth tutorial on how to actually create a plugin. Although the theme is going to be nothing like what you will be creating, the elements in there and general process is what you need to be grasping.
So a few tips before you start:
Check the idea is original (or at least make sure there isn’t another plugin with the same name and exactly the same functionality). Most likely, the idea or at least part of it may already have been made – but this is where you take your plugin to the next level.
Don’t over complicate the process. The best thing to do is get everything down on paper first – things like what the user is going to be able to do and how they will implement it into their site. Make sure you have planned all scenarios and make sure the process is as slick as can be.
Testing plays quite a big part in plugin development. Back-testing in older versions of WordPress is something I’d recommend but don’t go over-board to the days when WordPress began.
Whilst developing your plugin, be sure to keep checking it in WordPress. The last thing you want is to look at your website after you’ve spent a good 30 minutes coding, to find your website has imploded and have no idea where the problem lies in the hundreds of lines of code you’ve just written.
I hope that this web design post has been of some help. Any questions or queries, please leave below.