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How To Become A Better WordPress Developer

What motivates you most as a WordPress developer? Salary? The feeling of completion? Relationship? Or fame? For any motivation, you will get the fruits for hard work only.

However, hard work is not enough for a genius, what you should do is how to learn in smart ways.

Today I am very glad to share with you some guides to becoming a better WordPress developer, which can help you polish your skills and attitudes to become succeed with your motivation.

This topic will be covered by four main points

1. Know WordPress core well

2. Practice to write clean code

3. Refactor your code

4. Expose yourself more to WordPress community

It’s sharing time. Enjoy our WordPress blog!

Know WordPress Core Well

In a CMS, “core” means the basic code you get when you download the program. WordPress “core” is the basic set of files you download fromwordpress.orgwhen you download WordPress. It is the very first thing you should be familiar with.

Here are key rules by Joey Kudish in WordCamp Montreal 2012 with WordPress core that helps you to become a better WordPress developer. In this video, he clearly pointed out the best practices for a good WordPress developer to have.

Rule 1: Never hack core

Every time you hack core. God kills a kitten.

Please think of the kitten and don’t hack core”. The truth is when you hack core, upgrades will break your site. So instead of hacking core, let override it. A well-designed CMS will let youoverridecore without touching the core files. All you have to make your changes are inseparate files.

Rule 2: Contribute to core

Contributing to core makes you feel good and helps others in WordPress community.

A lot of people are scared of the idea “contributing to core” because they think the codes are not good enough. However, WordPress is open source platform, the more you contribute to it, the better platform becomes.

Couples of ways you contribute:

  • Submit a ticket/ bug report
  • Write a patch: to submit fix for the bug you reported or some tickets that have patches on that.
  • Answer support forum questions: Answer questions for beginners and take references from advanced users. You can learn by process and everyone gains after all.
  • Help document something

The best source to learn how to contribute to core is: core contributor handbook.

Practice To Write Clean Code

So in order to continue leveling up your WordPress development skills, it’s important that you practice to write a lot of clean code. Practices make perfect. Put your own posts, plugins, and themes out there. Make some mistakes, learn from them and produce better work.

How to write clean code?

You can look for for advanced WordPress tutorials about code:

  • Code Racer: a site for both newbies and experiences. Newbies can learn to build a website using HTML and CSS, while the more experienced can test their adeptness at coding.
  • Tuts+ WordPress:. The site includes advanced WordPress topics such as object-oriented programming in WordPress and using WordPress for web application development.
  • Tom McFarlin: Tom McFarlin also contributed his WordPress tutorials to Tuts+. Also he has his own blog to share WordPress tutorials heavily geared towards programmers.
  • Otto on WordPress: Otto’s blog is where you can find advanced WordPress topics to deepen your WordPress’s knowledge. Otto is also a great proponent of internationalization, and some of his posts look at how to make themes and plugins translation ready.

Tips to write clean code:

  • Find those who have more experience with code than you and talking with them can help yield quicker results as you can learn from their mistakes and apply them to your work
  • Follow the WordPress Coding Standards define.
  • Keep a readable code format including documentation, function and filter

For more details, you can learn from the article by Tom McFarlin What Constitutes Clean Code in WordPress?

Refactor Your Code

Refactoring is about keeping a clean code-base and it is a task that is never finished. It’s kind of like cleaning a house, you do it repeatedly in your daily life.

However, only refactor when you will get advantage out of it, here are there rules for you to decide when to refactor:

  • Refactor when you want to add function: Firstly, it helps you to review the code before modifying. Secondly, the design that does not help you add a feature easily, you will add more features for it by refactoring.
  • Refactor when you need to fix a bug.
  • Refactor when you do a code review: Code review helps less experienced developers get more knowledge from more experienced ones.

If you want to learn refactoring from A to Z , a very good reference for refactoring is sourcemaking.

Expose Yourself More To WordPress Community

Here are some guides to take you to the right directions of becoming a better WordPress developer:

  • Develop a public theme/ plugin of yourself. Listen to the feedback you get from developers and end-users who use your theme/plugin. Update your theme as you get feedback and as your abilities improve. Work hard to make a theme/plugin that you can be proud of.
  • Participate in WordPress forums. Forums are the best way for you to learn, share and create your own brand. Actively participate in forums. Ask questions showing your deep research and knowledge. Also you can answer other’s difficult questions. Most forums have a voting system, so other users can vote for you if you are good enough. Finally, you can get your own brand well-known.
  • Start spending time with those at the top. Read their blogs, follow them on Twitter, give feedback on their thoughts and ideas,listen to their talks. Follow their examples, ask them for advice,follow their advice,and report back. To summarize, stick to their value works, communicate with them and learn from them as much as you can.

This is a small list of WordPress developers to get you started.

  • Join and make presentation at WordPress meeting-ups or WordCamp. If you are confident about some aspects in WordPress, register to become a presenter (WordCamp 2014 is in August). If not, listening attentively to other WordPress Pro also brings you very valuable knowledge.

Join or make a presentation at WordCamp

I hope that you enjoy our guides to becoming a better WordPress developer. Let’s make a summary: Know WordPress Core Well, Practice to Write Clean Code, Refactor Your Code and Expose Yourself More To WordPress Community.

If you find it useful, don’t regret a click like or share this post to your friends. See you again in our WordPress Blog!

by Scarlett Nguyen

I have a passion for writing and came to content marketing by chance but i love it and want to unlock my potentials for it!

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