Coding, Wordpress

How to Become a Better WordPress Developer

There are many factors that come to play in determining your level of success as a WordPress developer. It is no secret that becoming a top notch WordPress developer requires a lot of hard work to acquire the right skills. Becoming the best also requires a combination of factors that enable one to go beyond the basic WordPress capabilities and achieve all that is possible with WordPress.

This article gives a review of some of the practices that will make you to stand out from other WordPress developers in the market.
1. Constant Reading
The trends in the market keep changing which creates the need for you to keep refreshing your skills every now and then. There is a need to set up reading plan to enlighten you on the new trends and stay committed.
Keeping tabs with the WordPress development blogs will ensure that you are always informed about new releases and any improvements or issues in the new releases. The blogs are also an important source of tricks, hacks and opinions from other WordPress developers.

2. Offer Support for Short Codes in Your Template
Short codes in WordPress allow a user to do some tasks or insert content in a post with little typing effort. By default, WordPress offers support to a number of short codes which are documented here . It is possible for you to provide more short codes for your WordPress template to suit your users’ needs.

To set up a short code is simply by adding the code for it in the functions.php file of your template.

	function pro() {
	return 'How To Become a WP Pro!';
	} add_shortcode('wppro', 'pro');

When the above code is saved in the functions.php file of your site, users can use the short code [wppro] and the phrase ‘Web Design Ledger rules!’ will be displayed.

3. Adopt php coding where possible
Ordinary wordpress developers use plugins for each and every task, as long as the plugin is available. Writing your own php code for will always have an advantage over the use of plugins. It for instance saves the user’s time in downloading and installing a plugin. Having the code embedded in your template will free the user of these tasks.
The php code also gives you a certain level of understanding for future assignments. This means a plus in your skills list. The simple php code below can for instance be used to add a tweet meme button without the use of a plugin.

	<script type="text/javascript">
     		tweetmeme_source = 'username';
<script type="text/javascript" src=""> </script>

4. Build Theme Options Panel for Your Themes
The popularity of theme options panel has risen in the recent past. Almost every paid theme and even some free themes come bundled with it. A theme options panel allows the user to change some aspects of the theme without the need to manipulate the code. This means that a user with no programming skills will be able to change things such as the color scheme.
A theme options panel will make your themes a preference for many clients and it won’t be long before your theme experiences increased number of downloads.

5. Understand the Details of the Technology Behind WordPress
There is a great need to a detailed insight into the technology behind WordPress. This enables you to view things differently and to understand the working of the platforms employed. You will therefore be able to offer ideas for improvements on certain things.
For instance, you need to know how WordPress handles or executes plugins in order to develop a custom plugin that can be understood by WordPress. Developing a custom plugin requires you to have a detailed insight of how the code of the plugin is executed.

6. Clarity of your Code
Clarity of your code (in any language) is more important than its efficiency. This means that you should never trade clarity for efficiency. An elegant code is always easy for reviews both by you and by other programmers. The fact that other people can understand your code opens the gates for improvement ideas and customization. Maintainability of your product will also be determined by the clarity of your code.

This calls for practices such as:

  • Proper indentation to organize your code
  • Including comments
  • Break down your code into functions
  • Give appropriate names to functions and other code constructs eg;
function check_registered(username){
	//function statements

7. Stay Updated on the Latest Releases
New releases of WordPress and other frameworks usually come with bug fixes, additional features and fixes to security vulnerabilities. A new release could also have an implementation of what you are working on. The importance of working with the latest resources cannot be stressed well enough.

It is always important to read the release notes so that you can make a choice of whether to upgrade to the newer version or to stick to your current version.

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