Getting plugged in – part one

I mentioned recently that I need to learn to code properly but it's more a case of learning the environment in which I'm working.

When I used to do a bit of VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) in a previous role the VB side of it wasn't an issue, the more complicated part was the A, the applications with their object models, and how you get them to do what you need.

It's the same with WordPress.

I can get by with PHP but learning the actions, hooks and filters that make WordPress do what you want takes time.

Saying that, it always amazes me just how easy it is to create a simple WordPress plugin - just add a comment to the start of a PHP file:

/*  
    Plugin Name: My plugin  
*/

You would normally add in more details like Description: and Version: but the only actual requirement for WordPress to recognise it as a valid plugin is a name.

How simple is that?

What's next?

Having moved my code for indieweb 'likes' and 'replies' from functions.php to a plugin I feel this is a perfect opportunity to learn by doing. While the plugin does what it's supposed to I would like to add enhancements to make it a more complete offering.

So, here's a quick 'back of an envelope' list of what I want to do:

  • add security to plugin to stop direct access (an easy one to start)
  • add a settings page to save plugin options
  • use these to determine the text added to a post
  • maybe add a choice to insert the text at the top or bottom of the post
  • register the 'Liked' and 'Reply' custom fields so always available in the drop-down
  • remove those entries when plugin is uninstalled

Getting to grips with each element of this is going to be a journey that I will document, for my own benefit if nothing else but if it helps others then that's great.

I hope you'll join me.