How to Build a WordPress Plugin
What are WordPress plugins?
WordPress plugins are PHP scripts that are designed to alter your website in a specific way. These PHP scripts can be uploaded to your WordPress site to add a feature or extend the functionality of your site without having to mess with the core code. Additional features and modifications can be done in your themes functions.phpfile, but could be lost when updating your theme. Using plugins allows you to add features that will remain even if you change themes or upgrade the WordPress version you are using. Plugins allow you to try out new things safely and are the best method of implementing functions across themes.
Elements which will help to build a WordPress plugin for your website
There are several elements that you need to build WordPress plugin add-ons. A basic plugin will need:
- Plugin file
- Plugin header
- Plugin hooks
These are the basics needed to develop a WordPress plugin and start learning about plugins overall.
File structure used to build WordPress plugin
Start to develop a WordPress plugin by creating a file. All that you really need for a simple plugin is a single PHP file. However it is a good idea to house the file within a folder. The file and the folder should have the same name except for the extension. To begin with you would have the following:
It is recommended that the name you choose be all lowercase letters and dashes. Never use uppercase letters or the underscore. You should also check that there isn’t a plugin with the same name. You can test for this by placing the name you want to use on the end of the URL for plugins at WordPress.org. This is to help avoid potential conflicts with existing plugins in the future.
To define your plugin add a header
A plugin header is required in order for WordPress to be able to recognize your plugin. This is a PHP comment at the top of the plugin file. It will require the text Plugin Name followed by the name of your plugin that you want users to see. For example a plugin named example plugin would require at a minimum the following header:
- Plugin Name: Example Plugin
There is other information that could also be included in the header such as a description of the plugin, the author, the version and other information but this is the minimum needed. With this you now have a plugin you can install and activate in WordPress although it doesn’t do anything yet.
Make your plugin do something with hooks
Once that WordPress knows about your plugin, you can give it some instructions and have it do something. Instructions are given using hooks and predefined WordPress functions. Hooks are trigger based event listeners based on different events occurring that can be used to make your plugin do what you want. Hooks can also have your plugin do something at a certain time rather than being based on an action that occurs. There are hundreds of hooks that have already been written so you can just copy them without having to write code of your own.
We also advise you to make WordPress website backup to keep all your data secure.
In case you have not succeeded in this, you can apply with request “Build WP plugin for me!” and our company will gladly help you to implement this into life.