How to Write a WordPress Plugin, written by Ronald Huereca is an extensive, twelve entry series on the process of creating your own. http:// WordPress Plugins allow you to easily modify, customize, and enhance a The first task in creating a WordPress Plugin is to think about what the Plugin will do, .. part “How to Write a WordPress Plugin” at by Ronald Huereca .

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How to Write a WordPress Plugin | Devlounge

Post on Nov 26 views. How to Write a WordPress Plugin, written by Ronald Huereca is an extensive, twelve part series on the process of creating your own WordPress plugin. Every step is covered, from Seven Steps for Writing a WordPress Plugin all the way down to adding ajax to your plugin and releasing it. This is an excellent article series for anyone interested in the process behind creating your very first WordPress plugin.

With code examples to help assist you, you will be on your way to future releases of your own plugins for the WordPress community. Ronald is frequently found laying his thoughts out in strong, straight-forward articles on various web related topics. He comes from a relatively strong technical and business background, having an undergrad in Electrical Engineering Technology and a Master of Science in Business Administration. A programmer by day, and web hobbyist and writer by night, who also runs his own blog at www.

Ronald has been on the Devlounge team since the fall ofand has contributed many wonderful articles, including this very wordpress series. He also writes for Weblogtoolscollection. IntroductionFor any WordPress user, plugins are essential.

WordPress Plugins allow those with little to no programming skills to extend the functionality of their blog. Plugins come in all shapes and sizes, and there is a plugin that does just about anything for WordPress.

As good as WordPress is as a standalone application, there are still things that WordPress lacks.

How to Write a WordPress Plugin

Users are requesting more and more features for WordPress that would be very wriite to write as a plugin. There are many untapped ideas out there, and new ones created every day. Having released three plugins already not counting the custom ones I wroteI am aware of some of the limitations of WordPress and wish plugib share some of the lessons I have learned and am still learning about creating WordPress plugins.

As a result, I will be starting series that will discuss various topics regarding writing your own WordPress plugin. The series will start off very introductory and will assume your plugin knowledge is zilch. Who is this Series For? This series is for any Devlounfe user who is curious about or wants to learn how to write their own WordPress plugin.

This plugin series will benefit theme designers, those that like to tinker with plugin code, and those that are interested in writing their own plugin from scratch.

Tools to Get the Job Done To write plugins, any text editor devlohnge do. Here are the tools I personally use to create plugins. Code Pluyin All code I use will be available for download after each post in the Conclusion section. I will be building the code as I go along, so each download will be different. I will be creating a plugin that doesnt really do anything wordptess than to show you the basics of how a plugin works. Since each post in this series builds on top of each other, it is recommended to read this series in the order it is presented.

I highly recommend not using the test plugin on a production WordPress installation. Instead, use a local WordPress installation.

Topics I plan to start off really basic and move quickly into the more hard-core WordPress plugin functions. This series will not be a comprehensive micro-detail of plugin development, but will hopefully give you a nice foundation to start your own plugin development.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment or email me using the Devlounge contact form Ronald. I do ask that you not rely on Devlounge for support and instead use the WordPress Support forums.


Techniques Some of the techniques I use in my code samples may not be the best way to present code and you may be cringing because I dont have a lot of shortcuts. I apologize in advance. Everybody has a different coding style. As far as plugin techniques, structure, behavior, and other nuisances, if there is a better and easier way that I overlooked, I am all ears er, eyes. Listed below are seven reasons why a WordPress user should consider writing a WordPress plugin.

You like a plugins idea, but dont like the plugins implementation Whether discovering WordPress plugins on Weblog Tools Collection, the official WordPress plugins directory, or the WordPress Plugin Database, you will inevitably find a plugin that meets your needs sort of. You like the idea of the plugin, but not really the approach the plugin author took with it. Why not run with the original idea and create your own separate version?

You want to modify existing plugin code Sometimes the plugins output needs to be tweaked a little bit or some functionality you would like is missing. You can try convincing the plugin author to add your feature, but plugin authors are usually quite busy or they may not like your suggestion.

It takes a lot of effort by a plugin author to provide support and field feature and bug requests for a plugin that is free. Sometimes the plugin is no longer supported by anyone. In the event the plugin author is unable to your needs, it will be up to you to take the initiative and modify the existing plugin code.

WordPress Plugin Development from Scratch. How? – WordPress Development Stack Exchange

If you do a good enough job and make enough changes, you can re-release the plugin as long as the original plugin was released under a GPL compatible license. Usually one of the first things I do when I install or test a new plugin is to look at the code and see what I can modify, what I cant modify, and what I can possibly add or take away. You want to extend a plugin Sometimes a plugin is good as it is, but you would like to build upon it and release your own version.

For example, you may think a plugin would work better using AJAX, or would like to add more hooks so that it is compatible with other plugins. You may want to add an admin panel so you dont have to dig through the code to change the output. As stated earlier, if a plugin is released as GPL compatible, you are free to release your own version. You want portable theme code For those of us who opted to build a custom theme from scratch rather than download one, you may find yourself re-using code snippets all over the place.

Wouldnt it bebetter just to write your own plugin that combined all the little code snippets so that you could use them as template tags?

The beauty of template tags is that you can re-use them over and over for your theme and any future ones you build. And you only have one place to change the code rather than several. You are a woedpress designer I would argue that if you are a template designer for WordPress, the next logical step is to be devlonge plugin author.

Writing plugins gives you a pluugin intimate knowledge of how WordPress behaves and allows you to extend the functionality of your released themes. You want to make money A good plugin author can usually get paid on the side for custom work.

Some plugin authors take donations as well or wordlress extra for providing support or for consulting. If you are a custom theme designer, you can package your custom plugins in with the theme for an extra charge.

You want incoming links When launching the Reader Appreciation Project, one wordppress the goals I had was to rapidly build incoming links. The best way I knew how was to write some WordPress plugins and promote them. One of my plugins WP Ajax Edit Comments turned out to be very popular and has currently generated more than incoming links. How to get ideas for WordPress PluginsIf eordpress are convinced that you would like to investigate the possibility of creating your own WordPress plugin, it may be hard to think of that idea that will allow you to take the plunge.


Fortunately, there are many places wordpresz find inspiration regarding developing your own WordPress plugin. Within this post, I will list several ways to get ideas for your very own WordPress plugin. Listen to your Readers Your readers are wrkte valuable asset when it comes to getting ideas for plugins. For example, a reader might request an easy way to reply to or edit comments. Since blog readers are the ones who use your blog the most, they have a unique insight in what they want out plugi your blog.

Just the other day, one of my readers asked me to have a way to preview a comment before posting. Luckily there is already a few plugins out there for that, but sometimes your readers will suggest something that has yet to be implemented as a plugin.

Listen to Yourself If only WordPress could do If you find that WordPress lacks a feature that you truly want, why not program it yourself in the form of a plugin? Chances are that if you desire the feature added, others will too.

Within this column are plugin requests and a wishlist for WordPress. Weblog Tools Collection typically has a plugin announcement almost every day, and from there you can deevlounge an idea of what kind of plugins people are churning out. A particularly useful forum w plugin ideas is the Requests and Feedback forum. Another area is the WordPress ideas page. If there is a service that you really like, but you would like to see it included in WordPress, investigate the services API and see if it would make a good plugin.

Third Party Applications There are many third-party applications that people may have installed along with a WordPress blog.

Examples of such programs are Mint, Vanilla, and many others. Why not develop a WordPress plugin that integrates these third-party applications into a WordPress blog?

Existing WordPress Plugins If you find a WordPress plugin you really like and would like to branch out with your own idea, feel free to do so. If you dont like the implementation of a particular plugin, build your own implementation. There are many plugins out there that essentially do the same thing, but are all slightly different. Structure of a WordPress PluginOne of the more important aspects of developing a WordPress plugin is how you structure it. This post will go over some tips on how to structure your plugin to organize your plugin resources and avoid naming collisions.

Each plugin author is different in the way they structure a plugin, so these tips are merely my own personal preference. I’ll first briefly describe how a WordPress plugin works and then go into a plugin’s structure. When a plugin is “Activated”, this tells WordPress to load your bit of code on “each” page including admin pages. This is why if you have many plugins activated, your WordPress installation may be very slow due to the amount of code being included.

You can also access the WordPress template tags or create your own. I suggest reading into the WordPress loop if you plan on making changes to the post content or comments. The WordPress loop is the loop that displays your posts.

Some template tags will not work outside of this loop, so it is imperative that you know exactly where your code is executing. You can control this by taking advantage of actions and filters, which will be explained in later posts. Some plugin authors simply include a PHP file for their plugin, but I recommend always creating a folder to store your plugin. I typically structure my plugin in this folder structure: