7 Tips for WordPress Plugin Development
This article will share my tips and tricks for creating WordPress plugins.
My Background I have developed more than 20 WordPress plugins. Some were created for clients, while others were free to be released at the WordPress Plugin Directory. Others were joint ventures or sold on marketplaces like Code Canyon.
My plugins have been installed on over 50,000 websites. In addition, over 5,000 copies have been sold in the premium market. Through this experience, I have learned many lessons I would like to share with you in this article.
1. Use the right hooks.
Hooks act as a bridge between your plugin’s ecosystem and WordPress. Themes are essential for plugin development. It would be surprising how many plugins abuse hooks. To properly use hooks, you must first read the Hooks Plugin documentation. Understanding how hooks fire at each sequence stage is essential, from page requests to sending content to browsers, is critical. The Action Reference shows you the order in which things fire.
There are many hooks available. Depending on the plugin, you may need to wire several of them. I always abide by the practice of sub-dividing functionality to be as relevantly distributed across my hooks as possible. It’s a good idea to use a “just-in-time” mentality for plugin development and only run code when necessary.
You should fire the unit if you must register post types or set up global variables, regardless of the loaded page. In most cases, you should not prepare HTML or do heavy processing with an invite. The unit hook can be strenuous and cause delays to all front-end page loads, admin page loads, AJAX requests, and other such processes.
Update: Many thanks to those who have corrected me in the comments. The proper hook for end queueing scripts is ‘wp_enqueue_scripts’. I’ve updated the following example to use this cleaner form (best practice). The following code block is a general example of how to enqueuer scripts with the wp_enqueue_scripts hook conditionally. As you can see, I only feed the necessary resources to each page type.
If the user loads one of the plugin admin pages, there are no admin stylesheets. The backend interface also has no stylesheets on the front end. Beyond unit, wp_enqueue_scripts, and admin_enqueue_scripts, you will probably need to use a combination of the following Action hooks, which for most plugins will be enough to modularize the code logic without causing performance issues or maintainability challenges.
Note that some themes may drop and wp_footer (and sometimes even wp_head) in favor of their versions. These WordPress themes are quick-written or hack-y, but they’re more common than you might think. To ensure universal compatibility, ensure your plugin is tested with as many themes as possible. For more guidance on it, you can visit https://edutechbuddy.com/.
2. Get WP Croon!
Croon, a task-scheduling tool initially designed for UNIX, allows users to execute commands at specific times. In addition, the WordPress core includes a corn-like function. This feature is appropriately called WP Croon. WFP corn helps run routine tasks in your plugin.
WFP corn does have its limitations. It depends on web page requests and may delay firing a charge if there isn’t high traffic to the WordPress site. These limitations can be fixed. WFP corn is an excellent way to set up corn-like settings for well-trafficked sites.
3. Get Auto Updates
WordPress theme and plugin developers have had automatic updates since WordPress 3.7. This functionality cannot be enabled by default and must be activated by the user or via your plugin. This is not recommended as the user must opt-in to receive auto updates. It’s a good idea to remind the user of the auto-update feature through the plugin’s admin interface.
Automatic updates can be a great tool to continue WordPress plugin development if enabled. This is great for updating security patches, hot-fix fixes, and version releases. Additionally, WordPress.org plugins benefit from automatic version management through their repositories.
4. Use the MVC Design Pattern
WordPress plugins are much more beneficial when built using the MVC architecture. There is no better choice for modularity, maintainability, and many other reasons. In addition, MVC makes it easy to organize your plugin architecture cleanly. However, on rare occasions, I still use what I call “wild code” architecture. This is for small plugins and one-offs. Sometimes, it’s used to demo functionality.
Below are the two directory structures I often use for plugins: MVC and the wild architecture version. In addition, all new plugins I create contain a documentation directory containing languages and Sass versions. Preprocessors are a standard tool among professional WP plugin developers. Ian Dunn’s presentation about implementing MVC in plugin development is a great guide.
5. Name Plugin Files Uniquely
Remember that your plugin may be installed in the same “busy ecosystem” as other plugins. Therefore, it is essential to have unique names for your variables and files. This can be done by prefixing custom PHP classes, functions, CSS selectors, and file names with the name of your plugin.
6. Check Your Plugins Carefully
The final steps in any software development cycle include polishing, prepping, and testing the product before release. These are my recommendations for when you’re getting ready to release the first version of your plugin or are working on a subsequent release.
it is not easy to bring a WordPress plugin to the market. This can lead to support ticket storms, angry refund requests, or one-star reviews. Using the above practices, I have found a win-win solution to generating revenue through WordPress development.