- August
Posted By : Code Buddy
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Adding Custom WordPress Code: A Guide for Beginners

Did you know the majority of WordPress websites, around 60.4%, use WordPress version 4.9?

With the latest version taking up the lion’s share of web pages, now is the best time to learn more about the system. Whether you start by writing title tags in HTML or other WordPress codes, you need to have the knowledge to stay relevant in current times.

If you’re a beginner, it might be difficult to find the best way to start. It’s especially the case when you want to learn how to code in WordPress. Here are some of the things that can help you start:

What Not to Do

To develop the best practices in how to code in WordPress, you need to know the things you need to avoid first. These can lead to inefficient practices that can hinder you later on.

1. Modifying It Directly

When you want to use a plugin or a theme for WordPress, don’t do direct modifications. For example, you might want to modify the output text using a plugin. You can change the function which makes the text outputs inside the plugin, but as soon as you update, this gets overridden.

The main problem with this is that you’ll most likely make several changes similar to this. When that happens, you’ll have a more difficult time maintaining it if you modified it in a direct manner.

2. Don’t Add to Functions.php

Often, you get some recommendations on things to add to the theme’s function.php. Avoid this as much as you could and leave as many changes as you can out of it. Of course, there are some that should be there, but this is uncommon throughout the course of your coding.

Also, when doing this, never use the theme’s functions.php parent. Always create a child theme when modifying it to better suit your needs.

3. Prefix Any Functions

Don’t leave out the prefixes on your functions when you add them on your custom code. If you neglect to do this, you might end up having conflicts with other functions existing in other themes or plugins. It’s important especially if you don’t want to spend more time modifying your code even more.

What to Do

Now here are the best practices you should do if you want to know how to code in WordPress:

1. Use the Code Snippets Plugin

When you want to put in some custom codes to WordPress sites, this plugin gives you a great means of accomplishing it. It’s actually easier than making your own custom plugin. Its main purpose is to make a plugin of your own without using your own theme that makes it safe to upgrade as you please.

Using this plugin adds a “Snippets” menu to your website. It lets you add new snippets and give them descriptive names. Each snippet will have their own space within the code, as well as a description to give a better idea of the code’s function.

Once you have these code snippets, you can enable or disable them as you see fit without much effort. This is a great means of easing up the debugging process. You can also export these snippets into PHP files that you can use for other projects.

There are times when custom snippets can cause troubles and come into conflict with other plugins or themes. Deactivating them with simplicity helps you isolate the issues in a more efficient manner, which helps you fix up your code on a shorter period of time.

2. Use Custom Plugins

A great way to add code snippets is to use custom plugins. It allows you to keep them even if you change your WordPress theme without issues. You can activate them on an as-need basis to ensure that it fits your new theme.

If you want to know how to write a plugin, you can refer to the WordPress Codex as your primary resource. They have a tutorial that enables you to make a custom WooCommerce plugin as a starter. This goes beyond basic setting up of plugins so keep that in mind.

3. Make a Child Theme

Using a child theme will allow you to add as much code as you want to the functions.php file without the fear of losing the changes upon downloading the WordPress Code or update the themes. Child themes enable you to use hooks specific to WordPress and themes as a means of inserting your code.

That means you won’t run the risk of overwriting the changes you made again.

Child themes, in its most basic form, are sub-themes added to the main installed theme in your WordPress website. You can create these in a straightforward manner. All you need to do is to go to your website via the FTP and make a new folder and a corresponding style.css file.

The CSS file pulls the info from the CSS file of the parent theme. After it does this, all you need to do is to go to your dashboard and activate the child theme. It’s a great practice but take note that it doesn’t apply to your needs in some situations.

Learn WordPress Code Today!

WordPress is popular and there’s no denying the fact that its popularity will continue to skyrocket as the years pass by.

As a programmer, you need to learn how to do WordPress code to ensure you continue your relevance in the industry as it evolves. Even if you’re coding for fun, getting this skill can help make your life better in a lot of ways.

Maintaining these best practices can help you get started and help you code in an efficient manner. Coding can get messy and without using snippets, debugging becomes a nightmare that can take you hours or days to accomplish. Avoid the bad practices so you don’t end up spending more time fixing things up.

If you want to learn more, visit us today and read our other posts. Here’s one guide showcasing a few writing tips for blogging newcomers.