10 Things WordPress Developers Should Know
This guest post was written by Ajay Thomas founder and CEO of WordPress agency Sweans. To learn more about Sweans, visit their website.
WordPress is a powerful platform highly favored by countless WordPress developers worldwide. It is easy to grasp but indeed requires time to fully master. The platform is the backbone of millions of blogs and websites globally, extending its flexibility to accommodate any unique requirement. It is the adaptability and capability of a WordPress developer that makes this platform a top choice over its competitors.
A top WordPress professional should know some of the ins and outs of developing a WordPress website, including the following:
1. How to Use Action and Filter Hooks
Action and filter hooks are two different forms of hooks that a skilled WordPress developer can utilize effectively. This is essentially where a WordPress developer can insert their own code or customize WordPress’s default operations. It is a crucial aspect of WordPress development, illustrating the extent of functionality and flexibility that a proficient WordPress developer can bring to your project.
WordPress developers are professionals skilled in creating, managing, and improving websites using the WordPress platform. Their role involves leveraging hooks, a critical feature in WordPress, to initiate specific actions while WordPress is in operation. For instance, using action hooks, a WordPress developer can precisely program certain events such as launching a widget when WordPress starts up or generating a Tweet when a new blog post goes live. These customizable actions are an integral part of enhancing website functionality and user experience, making the expertise of a WordPress developer essential for any WordPress-powered website.
Enhance your WordPress experience with a skilled WordPress developer who can efficiently utilize filter hooks. These are tools that expertly modify data before it is stored in the WordPress database, optimizing your site’s functionality. WordPress developers also excel in customizing how your post excerpts appear or adeptly integrating custom code at the end of your posts. Leveraging on a WordPress developer’s expertise can greatly contribute to your site’s overall performance and aesthetic appeal.
Understanding the distinction between action and filter hooks is fundamental for a proficient WordPress developer. When manipulating a filter, the developer can access a certain piece of data, which they must return upon the conclusion of their function. In contrast, action hooks provide a location for code execution, though they do not allow for data receipt or alteration. Mastering this concept is essential for any aspiring WordPress developer seeking to enhance their coding proficiency.
2. The WordPress Template Hierarchy
WordPress developers are also proficient in intricately assembling different template files to constitute a complete webpage. Every unique template file symbolizes a distinctive portion of a page, and collectively, they fashion all contents of your personalized pages accessible via the WordPress administration system. This is effectively illustrated via practical application, amplifying the real-time role of a WordPress developer.
Consider a scenario where a user navigates to the webpage “http://yoursite.com/author/John.” Initially, WordPress, developed by a proficient WordPress developer, will locate the template labeled author-John.php. The absence of this file will prompt it to search for author.php. Failing to find this, it will then look for archive.php. Lastly, if none of these templates are found, WordPress, designed strategically by a skilled WordPress developer, will use index.php to display the page. Each visitor’s entry to your webpage prompts WordPress to ascend through the template hierarchy until it locates a template file that corresponds. The naming of these files is crucial in this process, highlighting the role of a knowledgeable WordPress developer.
3. Know Your .gitattributes
As a WordPress developer, understanding specific path configurations like .gitattributes is essential for optimizing your workflow. The .gitattributes file is a unique Git configuration file, critical for enhancing your WordPress themes and plugins for end-users. This Git configuration helps streamline settings linked to distinct directories and files, incorporating advanced features like content file filtering before committing modifications, and configuring path-specific merge methods. Therefore, mastering the use of these attributes is a vital skill for every WordPress developer.
4. Don’t Edit the Core
As a WordPress developer, it is essential to abide by the fundamental principles of WordPress, which advise against modifying core files. When WordPress core receives an update, it overwrites the core installation, incorporating new enhancements present in the release. If these core files have been tampered with or truncated, significant portions of the installation may cease to function, potentially sabotaging the upgrade process, leading to a defective installation. Moreover, meddling with WordPress core files could potentially expose security vulnerabilities, creating an open invitation for hackers. It is therefore recommended that WordPress developers refrain from such practices.
5. Keep Your Site Secure
As a WordPress Developer, you play a critical role in ensuring the security of a website against common threats like malware and SQL injections. One of the key responsibilities of a WordPress Developer is to ensure that the site’s plugins and themes are regularly updated to the latest versions. This safeguard minimizes vulnerabilities and strengthens the site’s defense against potential attacks. These experts are always on top of emerging security threats, putting their invaluable knowledge to use in protecting your WordPress site.
6. Learn to Create Site-Specific Plugins
A WordPress Developer’s role often involves enhancing your website through custom plugins. These are especially beneficial when you desire persistent changes on your website that survive a theme switch. WordPress developers also efficiently modify or expand existing plugins to improve functionality. For desired customizations, instead of merely tweaking code in your theme’s functions.php file, consult a skilled WordPress developer to craft a site specific plugin in an optimized manner.
7. Enqueue Scripts and Styles
As a proficient WordPress developer, ensuring the optimal performance of your site includes dealing with potential duplication issues. Employing the wp_enqueue_script() WordPress Function effectively can be vital in this process. This WordPress function is incredibly useful in preventing any potential file duplication when all your plugins utilize it. Moreover, it’s not just for plugins; it’s equally crucial to implement the enqueue script function within your WordPress themes as well, reinforcing seamless site functionality.
8. Don’t Develop Without Debugging
A foremost step when working as a WordPress developer on a plugin project is to initiate the debugging mode, a best practice is to keep it activated throughout the coding process. This step holds high importance as WordPress, with its smart error-detection mechanism, promptly sends a notification about any coding anomaly, helping developers to rectify the issues at the right time.
9. Choose the Right Hosting Provider
Often overlooked, web hosting is one of the most important components of a successful site. It can enhance your SEO, increase sales, keep your site secure and keep your site running fast. Make sure that the hosting provider you choose has an excellent customer support with an uptime track record.
10. Mastering the WordPress Database: Essential Skills for a WordPress Developer
A WordPress developer should possess a deep comprehension of the fundamental WordPress database tables. As of now, WordPress comprises 11 default primary tables. These tables hold information pertinent to various WordPress sections and features. Leveraging these tables, a WordPress developer can effortlessly modify passwords, deactivate plugins, and choose themes straight from the database, eliminating the need for admin panel access.