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Best WordPress Development Strategies

Website development using WordPress is both exciting and challenging. The free and open source content management system is so dynamic that you can design and develop almost anything. While WordPress has a host of advantages, it is not bereft of its own set of disadvantages which, if not tackled at the development phase, can cause continuous problems for the WordPress developer.

In many ways, the fact that you can do almost anything with WordPress works as a disadvantage. Since WordPress is an open source platform, many languages work on it simultaneously. While working with multiple languages simultaneously is the preferred short-cut taken by developers, the after-effects of this isn’t always pleasant. Codes are often left in a haphazard manner causing problems when one wants to debug the site. Thus, it is very important that things are properly planned at the very beginning so that not only is the website attractive and robust, but the path itself is clean and re-traceable when required.

In this article, an attempt has been made to understand a few best practices in WordPress Web development. When a few standard strategies are kept in mind, things will work smoothly for you. Some of the things that can be strategized are file organization, naming the files, plugins and theme organization.

Organizing the Files

Before you jump into coding, it is essential that you know the importance of organization. You wouldn’t want to write a thousand-line code and find it impossible to trace something later. Organizing the files helps when you need to debug or change a set of codes. It is true that when you have a deadline to meet, it gets difficult to keep track of the codes; but once you get into the habit of working sequentially, organization won’t hamper your work-flow.

This rule applies to every element of website development. For example, if you are developing a theme from scratch, you should follow the comprehensive guide on ‘how to build themes’ that is provided by the WordPress Codex. The Codex will provide guidelines on how to write style sheets, template files, JavaScript information, testing guidelines, checklists etc.

Give Standard Yet Unique Names for Everything

Each function name, global variables, class name, database tables, option names etc. should have a standard naming format. It is absolutely necessary that you stick to a pattern and never, NEVER break it!The primary reason for sticking to naming conventions is that it helps in preventing conflicts at a later stage. For example, if two themes share the same functional name and both are active at the same time, it will cause trouble at a later stage.

Furthermore, images should be properly named since this is one thing where we tend to randomly name the files. The ideal way of naming images is providing as much detail as possible about the file in the name itself. For example, if there is an image related to a specific template, it is advisable to name the image with the prefix of the template name, such as full-width.background.png.

Similarly, for all JavaScript files, the prescribed norm should be followed. The administrative panel should have the ‘admin’ prefix while the theme panel should have ‘theme’ as a prefix of the file name. Similar logic applies while naming style sheets too.

Developing Plugins

Plugins are crucial for any website. If you want to get theme-based plugins and have adequate knowledge to do so yourself, following a few ground rules would help. However, it is also important to note that themes shouldn’t over-rely on plugins and too many specifications should not be assigned to any plugin.

Using Various Languages

Website development using WordPress is both exciting and challenging. The free and open source content management system is so dynamic that you can design and develop almost anything. Since WordPress allows developers to use many languages at the same time, care should be taken not to mix and match them while coding. Though many developers include JavaScript, HTML and PHP in the same file, this isn’t recommended. Every language has been developed for a specific purpose and when you start mixing and matching them, the differentiation ceases to exist only to cause trouble later. Developers need to keep in mind that HTML should be primarily used to describe the data that is rendered in any browser, while CSS is to be used to present the same data on the browser, JavaScript is to be used to handle events and relay information from the server to the browser and vice versa. PHP on the other hand should be run on the server.

Formatting The Codes

Many times developers do not pay attention to formatting while coding. But once formatting is ignored, it can later turn into a nightmare. Formatting consistently and nicely helps developers to later work with the same set of codes. Ideally, codes should have indentation and consistent line breaks.

Keeping in mind a few basic WordPress development strategies may prove to be beneficial later. Do not ignore common rules and standards if you do not want headaches later.

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