Getting Started With WordPress Development

Last night I spoke at a meetup of the Cape Town PHP Group. I was speaking alongside the excellent Gareth McCumskey who was giving a run down of what we can expect in PHP 7 (we can expect a lot of awesomeness by the way – you should really check that out). My presentation for the evening was a primer on WordPress development and a guide on how to bend WordPress to your will (which would have made a way more awesome title for the talk).

Starting a New Chapter

Today is not only my 3 year anniversary of joining WooThemes, but it also marks the first day that I am no longer a full-time developer on the team. This kicks off a significant new chapter in my professional career as it will be the first time since I started working that my job will no longer be 100% focussed on writing software.

My new title at WooThemes is Community Engagement Manager.

WordPress: Check if user role exists

As part of a recent Sensei update we added some custom capabilities to the editor role, but we discovered that some people have deleted that role from the database as a way of cleaning up unused data on their sites. This meant that our add_cap() calls were causing fatal errors for these sites. Here’s how we solved this problem for ourselves.

Build user appreciation links into your plugin

The other day I posted about showing plugin developers appreciation and how it’s actually really easy to do. The problem, as was pointed out to me, is that writing reviews, donations, etc. are all only accessible from the plugin page on the repo and there’s no quick way to get there from the WordPress dashboard. All is not lost, however! It is possible to add custom links to the plugin list table alongside the default links that point to the author’s website and the plugin details page.

Developers are people too!

When we release a plugin on the repo we don’t do it out of need or obligation – rather it’s out of passion and a desire to give back to the great community that enables us to earn a respectable living. We do it because we believe that being selfish with our code doesn’t benefit anyone and by making it available for the world to use we are adding to the overall value of WordPress as a platform and as a community.

Introducing: Instant Featured Image

While WordPress is, I believe, the perfect platform for pretty much any kind of online publishing, it does have some occasional UX inconveniences. The great thing is that, due to the extensible nature of the platform, most of these inconveniences can be fixed via plugins. Enter Instant Featured Image.

Introducing: Post Length Indicator

Have you ever found a blog post, noticed that the scrollbar is super long and decided to abandon reading because you just don’t have the time to read that much? How many times have you actually scrolled down to see how long the actual post content is before you arrive at the comments? If you took a minute to check the post length you would more often than not discover that the scrollbar only appears so long because the post has a huge amount of comments.

Introducing: Export Plus

The great thing about WordPress is that, as an open-source and community-built platform, anyone can contribute code to it. Whether it’s small fixes, or big new features, patches can be submitted by anyone and everyone. Once such patch that I submitted was an improvement to the existing export tool that is built into WordPress itself. Unfortunately, that patch has not been merged into core yet and I’m not sure when it’s going to be, so in the mean time I packaged it up as a plugin.

Introducing: WooCommerce Order Barcodes

A few of the WordPress plugins I have built have been WooCommerce extensions – that is, add-ons to WooThemes’ exceptionally popular eCommerce plugin. Some of these are free, while others are premium extensions available for purchase directly from the WooThemes website. One of these premium extensions that I built is WooCommerce Order Barcodes.