WordPress is now a classic choice of CMS when it comes to website development. There are thousands of themes and plugins available to make this CMS convenient for your business. Having said this, many developers across the globe are indulged in creating wordpress plugins, some of which are customized to niche businesses.
Depending on the demands of the marketing heads or stakeholders of the businesses, the website making companies create plugins. When it comes to creating plugins for websites made using WordPress, there are several developers who follow their individual as well as standard methods for website creation. But if you are a developer who is new to the business of plugin development, then these tips will be handy for developing plugins.
1. Have a Strategy
Whether it is a plugin to use for everyday use or for specific community purpose, you need to have a strategy on how you should be able to create it. Before you move ahead with creating any plugin, make sure it is available in the repository of plugins. Then you can go ahead with planning the entire functionality, coding standards, security and documentation for the plugin. Simple things such as deciding on the consistent spacing, indenting, variable naming, and comments usage go a long run in making a plugin efficient. WordPress has its own coding standards, and you can follow the same to create plugins.
2. Use Name Spacing
Ideally, a WordPress plugin can be created in two ways: as a bunch of functions or simply as a class. Having understood that the functions in your plugin will be thrown into the global namespace, along with all the other non-namespaced functions will simply avoid clashes with functionalities provided by other functions with different names. So, the obvious way to fix such issue is to prefix the name of the function with a unique name. For instance, if you had a plugin called My Great Plugin, then you could simply name the function as mgp_plugin_init, and this can be followed for all other plugins. Create a name for your class, and the same can be used in functions to avoid any naming issues later.
3. Consider Security Seriously
Security is a major concern as declaring global variables can compromise data. As the best practice goes, sanitize inputs and escape outputs, and the same can be done with esc_url, wp_filter_kses, esc_html, esc_textarea, and other functions. While using or implementing any function, sanitize the inputs. This can be done well with functions such as wp_inser_post. You may also use nonces for form and URL verification to prevent third-party attacks.
4. Access Web Services Intelligently
The internet is packed with web services that offers everything from weather to stock to the latest tweets. The highly efficient way in which a plugin can access remote data is through use of HTTP API that handles request in the background, is known to use the most efficient of the available five remote methods coded in PHP. Using HTTP is said to be an intelligent way to handle web services.
To increase the global reach of the plugin, prepare your plugin with the _e() and __() functions.
6. Load on Demand
7. Tidy Up After Yourself
For removal of plugin, there is always a de-activate button, but then does not un-install it. There will be code in background. To remove such overheads, always have an un-install script. This will clear the unused variables.