WordPress has certainly taken the online world by storm. It has also opened new gates for many businesses and bloggers. Those days are gone when you had to have a technical or programming knowledge to build a site. Today with the introduction of CMS, building a site has become extremely easy as long as you know how to click with a mouse.

WP plugin development

WordPress also comes with plugins and widgets to help you extend the functionality of your website and get an edge over your competitors.

Plugins are small PHP scripts that change your website without having to hack the core code of WordPress. Though there are numerous plugins available online that can be downloaded depending on your personal preference and requirements, a majority of web developers prefer building their own plugins to maintain originality and uniqueness.

You need a plugin to add a particular feature to your website, or you want to contribute to WordPress community. If you are one of those who like to mess around with programming and code, developing WordPress plugins is your thing.

So, why you should create a WordPress plugin?

Well, creating a WP plugin may sound lame since there is=are already a wide variety of plugins available that are developed by experienced developers. However, you’d find numerous reasons to do so. Being a developer means challenging yourself at every point of life. Developing new themes, and plugins help you curb the hunger of learning new things when it comes WordPress development.

The primary reason for developing plugins for WordPress would be the one when you need to add a particular functionality on your website which can be integrated by the existing plugins. You may want to sort your WooCommerce products on the backend or need to make your own personalized slider.

Whatever the reason may be, if you have decided to build your own customized plugin, it’s high time to consider reading this handy guide on WordPress plugin development.

Let’s have a deeper understanding of WP Plugins:

1. WP Folder Structure

If you have been working with WordPress, you probably be aware of WP folder structure. WordPress is an extremely clean and simple content management system where everything is managed brilliantly. And plugins are no exception. Every plugin is kept inside a “Plugins” folder which is available inside wp-content folder. In plugins folder, you’ll find each and every plugin you use on your WP website. Though you can keep your files simply inside this plugin folder, it is always recommended to create a folder of your plugin name to keep things manageable and simple. In your plugin named folder, you can keep your CSS files, JavaScript files, PHP files and other relevant files.

2. Developing your plugin

WordPress is created using PHP, which means everything related to it is and should be created using PHP. You need to start the development of your plugin with a PHP file. You can name this anything related to your plugin. According to WordPress developing standards, the first line of your plugin must be a comment for a parsing engine.

Here is an example:

WordPress CMS plugin development example

3. WordPress Naming conventions and coding standards

WordPress has certain coding standards and naming conventions. If you are not aware of OOP functionality of PHP, it is always a bright idea to write your plugin in sample functions.

As an instance:

WordPress CMS plugin development example 2

Since writing your plugin, it is always better to prefix a label to all of your functions and variables to avoid any duplicates with many internal functions already available.

4. Filters and actions

Filters and actions are two different concepts that are related in the way plugin data is manipulated.

Using add_filter(): With filters, you are able to filter your data via your own custom written code.

  • add_filter(‘wp_title’, ‘hongkiat_func’);
  • add_filter function is a function which is used to add a new filter to a variable available on the page content.

Using add_action(): Actions are quite similar to filters in a way but instead of working on bits of data actions work on the pre-defined area in admin dashboard and templates.

There are various options that come along with action function:

  • publish_post – this function is called when you publish a post or change the status of a post to published
  • save_post – this function is called when you create a page or post from scratch or update it.
  • wp_head – it is called when the template is loaded and runs the wp_head() function
  • loop_end – As the name suggests, it is called when the WP loop ends after processing the final post.
  • trackback_post – called when a new trackback is added.

Developing a plugin requires detailed information on WordPress standards and other related things. Make you do your homework before you dive into creating a plugin for your website.


Author Bio: Emily Johns is a WordPress Developer by Profession and Writer by hobby. She is associated with Wordsuccor Ltd.- a WordPress Development Company expert in WordPress Plugin Development. She utilizes her wide in-depth knowledge to help her clients produce amazing web results online.