WordPress Plugin Development

A few weeks ago I was commissioned to create a WordPress plugin for a client. This plugin needed to take a feed on news from my clients website and display it on their clients dashboards.

After a few searches of the WordPress directory, I couldn’t find anything suitable, to either use as as a complete tool, or as a base top develop on top of. As such, I decided that learning the basics of WordPress plugin development couldn’t be a bad thing. After all, I make my living developing websites and a large proportion of that is now WordPress sites.

After reading a few tutorials (One, Two, Three, Four) I managed to knock together an admin plugin to create a custom post type and a client plugin to read a JSON feed of the custom post type, into a widget on the dashboard. This was alright and worked for my client but I realised that there was still a whole in the WordPress directory for plugins to do this. This is when I decided that I’d re-write the plugins and publish them in the WordPress directory.

I played around a bit and seemed to spend a lot of time on Stackoverflow researching the best practices of plugin design. In the end, I went with two OOP plugins. Again, one for the admin side, this time with a settings menu, letting you choose how many posts to show to your clients and the name that will show up on the dashboard widget:

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and also one for the client side. This has a settings menu allowing you to point the request at your parent site, supplying the feed!

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Below is the widget on a test dashboard:

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Although fairly simple, I feel it’s taught me a fair bit about plugin development and has allowed me to progress my WordPress knowledge, something I know I can always improve upon.

For anyone that’s wondering, you can find the Admin plugin at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/dashboard-custom-feed-admin/  and I will update this post with the client side plugin as soon as it’s through review and into the WordPress directory here is the client plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/dashboard-custom-feed/.

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