The huge popularity of the CMS means that there is an ever-growing demand for new templates and plugins. In fact, creating themes or plugins has emerged as a separate career option within WordPress development. However, not every product is able to create its own identity in the crowded marketplace. It is essential that an ideal WordPress plugin development workflow is created in order to build useful items. The following steps must be taken by professionals in order to create an efficient working process.
1. Identify The Goal Of The Plugin
According to a report, there are more than 50,000 plugins in the official directory of the CMS. The number is constantly increasing as new products are added every day. Do you think that every single tool will be seeing good download figures? If you want to create a popular solution, then you must identify a clear goal before starting the project. Most plugins fail to garner good installation numbers because they have been built with no clear objective. Ask yourself what exactly is the purpose of the new tool. Is it being created for fun or solving an existing problem? Ideally, an effective plugin provides functionality which many people are craving for. Once you have identified the objective, go through the official directory to find if there are any similar products available or not. In case, a high-quality tool already exists, there is no point in building another one.
2. Structure The Plugin According To Its Functionality
The new tool needs to be structured efficiently so that it can function properly. The organization of the solution will depend on the functionality it is providing. In case, the functionality is complex then the plugin can be broken down into multiple files and folders. Let’s say the product is focusing on a single class, then that class must be included in the main plugin file. You can create another file for any additional functionality. If the tool provides users with custom controls in the back end, then separate CSS and JS folders can be created to house the relevant files. For example, you create a plugin for WordPress theme customization, which enables users to modify the colors of a layout. There are extra features like adding custom CSS, dropdown menu and a text field to modify footer text. Then you can split up the files according to the features offered in the solution.
3. Employ Clean And Efficient Coding Standards
In order to create the perfect WordPress plugin development workflow, you must employ consistent and efficient coding standards. Indenting the text and using proper spacing while writing the program will make the code readable. You can add clarity by using informative variable naming. A plugin is created either as a class or a group of functions. Now, the functions in your tool will be a part of the global namespace with other non-namespaced functions. This means that there can be a conflict if your function has the same name as another one created by someone else. Such situations can be avoided by prefixing the function name with a unique term. However, the best way is to create a class for your tool so that all functions are namespaced under that class.
4. Build A Secure Product
Taking care of the security aspect of the new product must be an integral part of your workflow. Finally, the solution is going to be used by people on their websites. It will be interacting with the code of these interfaces. If your product starts exploiting the vulnerabilities in the user’s code, then it will be marked as an unsafe item. Most of the time, WordPress will sanitize the data when a function is executed. However, in some instances, when the plugin accesses the database directly, you must ensure that it is immune to code injections by filtering the user’s input. You must also use nonces to verify forms or URLs.
5. Remove All Unwanted Data Before The Launch
You must remove all unnecessary data from the tool before it is launched. Some data like metadata for posts is used only by the plugin. These unwanted items can easily bloat your product. There are a couple of hooks which you can use to clean up your tool. The “register_activation_hook()” lets you check your plugin’s version, PHP version, and do upgrades between versions. The “register_uninstall_hook()” will when your plugin is deleted from an interface. This lets you remove all useless data like database tables, settings, etc. However, you must know what information must be deleted and what must be kept.
These are some basic steps which you must use to create a seamless workflow which is necessary for building good-quality plugins. Professional agencies like WordPress web development company use the methodology to create efficient products in quick time.