WordPress has become one of the biggest content management systems because around 74.6 million websites are registered on the said platform. The reason for its popularity can be attributed to its easy-to-use interface and trouble-free development area.
Although WordPress is convenient and the majority of the experienced developers can handle it easily, many newbie developers find it difficult. Moreover, becoming ais a difficult task and reading self-help books and watching development tutorials is not going to cut it. This is why we have come up with 7 tips that can benefit not only the novices but also the experienced developers in the WordPress development sector.
1. Understanding WordPress Core & Ecosystem
First and foremost, you need to keep yourself updated about the environment you are working in. When it comes to WordPress, everything is about learning the basics in depth so that you will be able to handle projects in a successful manner.
Gaining insights into the WordPress core is absolutely necessary for anyone who wishes to excel in its development. After the core, comes the WordPress ecosystem which includes familiarity with the available tools such as plugins and themes.
Both the plugins and themes come in free as well as paid version. But as expert developers suggest, it is always beneficial to go with the paid versions. The reason behind this is that the tools would already be developed which means that you will only get to build upon the existing foundation.
2. Understand the Technology
If you wish to become a WordPress development professional, you need to learn the basic coding languages to understand the technology. If you are already familiar with PHP/MySQL languages, then you do not have to worry about anything. Just make sure that your coding skills are updated. But if you are a beginner, here is how you can begin:
· Learn MySQL and PHP: For WordPress, it is mandatory that you learn PHP and MySQL. If you already learned these in the past, then chances are that most of your practices will be out-of-date. So brush up on your knowledge and if you need to learn them from scratch, then Lynda is the best place to start from.
· Read ‘Make WordPress’: Understanding the technology is mandatory in WordPress. A good way to set everything in motion is by following development discussions on ‘Make WordPress.’ Once there, you can update yourself by following the discussions about the plugins and themes.
· Get Familiar with the Codebase: Take out time to go through WordPress’ codebase on Xref. Thoroughly read the documentation to get an understanding of how things usually work on WordPress. If you get across something which does not make sense, then ask questions.
3. Develop a Plugin
As you start to get familiar with WordPress, you will learn that many of your needs are not met with. In other words, there is not any plugin available to fit your requirement. Instead of asking other developers to help you, take the task on to yourself. Use all the information which you have acquired regarding the plugin development and put it to use.
Avoid writing plugins whose various copies already exist in the massive plugin community. Moreover, develop a plugin that is secure and also fulfills your needs. Release your plugin, either free or paid, and get real feedback from other developers.
4. Learn the Art of Debugging
Writing a bug-free code is crucial to being a top WP developer. A bug-free code cannot be easily achieved as it requires in-depth knowledge of coding. To get ahead, you can start with Codex and learn in-depth about debugging in WordPress.
If this is not enough for you, you can go through Andrew Nacins’ article on ways to de-bug WordPress. Moreover, you can also enlist help from developer-oriented plugins such as Query Monitor.
5. Actively Participate in WordPress Forums
WordPress has official support forums where users participate to ask and answer questions related to the platform. As a beginner, start by answering questions (no matter how silly some of them are) because you have to take a start from somewhere.
Additionally, there is another developers’ community which goes by the name WordPress Stack Exchange Community. Many professional developers are a part of this forum which means that you will have complete access to various WP related queries.
6. Connect with WordPress Experts
Forums and communities are helpful but at the same time, they can be quite limiting in various ways. This is why you need to connect and follow the online activity of professional WordPress developers.
So start by finding influencers in your niche. Follow their social media activity, read their content and comment or provide feedback on their posts. Also, learn from their experience, ask for their advice and report back to them. If possible you can also ask them to mentor you in this regard.
You can also participate in WordCamp to strengthen your relations with the developers’ community. As WordCamp is a place where core developers connect with other people to share their ideas, you will not have any problem finding suitable connections.
7. Contribute to Codex
As you spend more time reading the official WordPress documentation, you will learn that certain areas need improvement. So for that, sign up, become a contributor to Codex, and start improving the quality of the documents.
While the Codex documentations are constantly improved, still there are plenty of areas that are untouched and could use some improvement. During the updating process, you may stumble across some area that is way beyond your understanding. For this matter, direct other people’s attention towards it for a chance to learn and grow during this process.
Like any other technology, WordPress has certain standards that every designer should follow in order to easily grasp the development process. Those developers who are quick to understand the guidelines are the same ones who experiment with the implementation of these practices to nail projects.