WordPress Plugins allow users to easily modify, customize, and enhance any WordPress website. Instead of changing the core software WordPress is built on you can rather create a plugin to extend it. Using plugins allows you to have the most optimized WordPress installation all while maximizing how you use the software to begin with.
This article will walk you through the steps in creating a WordPress plugin.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
Here is the basic definition found on the WordPress Codex.
WordPress Plugin: A WordPress Plugin is a program, or a set of one or more functions, written in the PHP scripting language, that adds a specific set of features or services to the WordPress weblog, which can be seamlessly integrated with the weblog using access points and methods provided by the WordPress Plugin Application Program Interface (API).
Creating a Plugin
When creating a WordPress plugin there are some standards to uphold to when doing so. Below I’ll outline some key points to remember when creating your own.
If you’re planning on making a plugin that doesn’t exist yet you will need to first determine its name. To be extra sure you will want to do a search in the WordPress Plugin repository. Some developers choose a name that describes more of what the plugin does so the end user can establish a quick connection with the name. The name itself can be multiple words.
Typically a plugin lives within its own folder under
wp-content/plugins/inside your WordPress installation. There is usually at least one PHP file that is typically named after the plugin. So if your plugin was named amazing-plug then your PHP file name would most likely be
amazing-plug.php. Using a unique name is crucial so no two plugins use the same name.
Readme files are useful for other developers and users. Usually these files give a quick description of the plugin as well as sometimes offer change logs which indicate previous updates and maintenance announcements to users.
If you plan to share you plugin with the WordPress community, having a dedicated home page would be wise. This page can be used as a place to download the plugin, report bugs, and announce updates to your user community.