If you have a website for your business, we’re betting it’s using WordPress, a WordPress theme, and at least a handful of plugins that make it possible for your site to function the way you want it to.
The WordPress codebase is about 15 years old now, and an experienced Pittsburgh WordPress developer would have no qualms telling you that the codebase is messy.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to revert to messy code and a bloated site database if you don’t have an expert WordPress developer in Pittsburgh who has gone through all the updates and iterations of the biggest CMS in the world. Everyone knows that cheap solutions will cost more in the long term because eventually, cutting corners does exact a price as a site ages and expands. The house construction metaphor is spot on for WordPress sites. Sure, it might go up on schedule, but how long will your WordPress site stand, functioning at the level that you need it to function to bring in more sales or leads?
Find a WordPress Expert in Pittsburgh… Fast!
Quality code is the backbone of a site that won’t go down when it hits an error. To any website owner who has encountered a problem in the backend, you know it’s a nightmare.
Using WordPress does not require software engineers, which accounts for its popularity. Still, if you are serious about doing business online, you need quality code and not another fancy WordPress theme.
As a rule of thumb, the quality code is as follows:
Speeds up development by reusing modules that have already been developed to solve similar problems.
Adding new features or modifying existing ones should never be complicated.
What code does and why is transparent to the layperson.
Small, well-defined code blocks are easier to comprehend, create, and test.
How can you achieve quality code? Ask your WordPress expert in Pittsburgh about the following:
Incorporating Version Control into Your Workflow
This necessitates using Git. Unfortunately, production over FTP or “cowboy coding” is still a thing. Setting up version control is the first order of business when taking over a WordPress site.
The whole site went down because of a mistake in your code? git reset restores everything to its previous state. Did everything get messed up after the latest update? A reset of git works like a time machine. There was a sudden appearance of malicious code? git status displays any newly created, deleted, or modified files. To restore the originals, you git checkout.
The git folder is likely to be in the public web folder of a standard WordPress installation. However, most repositories contain sensitive information that should not be leaked outside, such as usernames and passwords.
Creating and Working in Separate Environments
Downtime and dissatisfied customers are inevitable when development is done on live sites. In a perfect world, all code would flow in a single direction through three distinct development environments.
You progress from local to staging to production and always in this order. Never tinker with the backend on a live site. Preventing collisions is as simple as following this strategy. After being tested locally, all updates are then deployed to staging for final approval to deploy to live sites.
You can use the WP-CLI (WordPress command-line interface) to manage your WordPress installations. Having access to the WP-CLI means that you can run any WordPress API function that the WP-CLI supports. Using WP-CLI, for example, you can easily manage all login credentials for your site. If you lock yourself out, you can take over the site again with the WP-CLI.
Even for small projects, linting can be a huge help. Linting means checking your code for errors regularly. An integrated development environment (IDE) like PHPStorm already does this; editors like Sublime Text or VSCode, on the other hand, require a separate program known as a linter. Having a linter run automatically when you save a file is an easy and effective method of going through code painlessly.
Using a WordPress Developer in Pittsburgh to Develop Plugins for Your Website
When a plugin is installed on a WordPress-hosted site, it serves a specific function or adds a feature. Self-hosted WordPress sites are the only ones that can use plugins. It is possible to install plugins freely on hosted platforms such as WordPress.com, but it isn’t likely to do so on self-hosted platforms.
A WordPress plugin’s code is written in PHP, the same programming language that powers the website itself. Using WordPress plugins, you can “plugin” the one you want to an existing WordPress website without knowing any code. Small personal blogs and professional portfolios to large corporations and e-commerce stores can run on WordPress. WordPress sites can be customized with the power of plugins while also extending their functionality.
The WordPress codebase provides a solid foundation for building a simple website. WordPress themes can add some specialized features, but these are usually related to changing the site’s structure.
Depending on the intended audience, a photography theme may include gallery or slideshow options; likewise, an e-commerce theme may include functionality for creating product pages. Plugins give your WordPress website a set of pre-built features, as well as the ability to be customized and configured in various ways.
If you think you can’t find the right plugin for your website, you can ask your WordPress expert to develop one for you.
We do not recommend experimenting with creating a plugin yourself, especially if you have no working knowledge of PHP and coding in general. Also, we do not recommend touching WordPress’s core files to add any functionality to it. The extra functionality you need should come from extensions to the core code.
Still interested in creating a plugin?
Most people find learning the jargon associated with plugin development difficult.
Hooks are a crucial concept.
As a new plugin developer, you need to connect your plugin to the core WordPress code. Hooks are primarily responsible for determining how and when a plugin will be used on a website.
For instance, the wp_loaded hook is triggered whenever the entire WordPress site is loaded. If a plugin needs to be activated only when a specific condition is met, you’ll want to use this hook.
You should review the WordPress-recommended best practices before you begin developing a plugin. You can build a strong foundation by following these guidelines. In addition, it will make it easier for you to share the plugin if you need to do so.
Consider the name of your plugin, variables, and functions before you begin coding. This is critical because you don’t want to use the same names as other plugins. Adding a unique prefix to each variable and function you create is the best strategy.
The next step is to ensure the security of your plugin. Despite its enormity, this is an important step. Consider the dangers of an unprotected plugin on any website, so don’t overlook this aspect.
Give some deep thought to your plugin’s structure, too.
The number of files and whether they should be saved in one folder are essential considerations. The more you plan, the easier it will be for other programmers to understand how your plugin works.
As a final point, make sure you stick to WordPress’s code.
You can use this to avoid common coding mistakes created by the community. Your code will be more accessible for other WordPress developers and users to understand after.
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