Better Plugin Recommendations for WordPress

Nick Hamze, a collaborator and friend goes into detail about why the WordPress plugin ecosystem needs some proper curation. I couldn’t agree more, the new user experience for WordPress users, in this regard is just not that great. That’s why I was eager to work with Nick on building out a very simple plugin + API to power a better “Recommended” tab for the plugins page in your wp-admin.

The current API is pretty simple and simply pulls a curated list of plugins (literally powered by a text file) and fetches data for those plugins using the WordPress.org plugins API (which was probably the hardest part of this project, as it’s very poorly and sometimes inaccurately documented — perhaps I should blog about the pieces I was able to figure out on my own). However, if the idea is well received in the community, I’d love to expand on it further and include some plugins from outside the WordPress.org plugin repository in our recommendations, as I think there’s some great third-party plugins that new users should definitely know about.

If you work for a WordPress hosting company, Nick’s inviting you to get in touch and discuss adding the plugin to your customer’s installations. Both the plugin and the small API server that powers the recommendations are fully open source as well, so feel free to fork them to create your own set of recommendations.

Read more about this on Nick’s Secret Pizza Party blog post

Let me know if you have any thoughts in the comments 💭👇

Geneva WordPress Meetup

I’m currently on a fun little tour of Europe and I got invited to speak at the WordPress Meetup in Geneva, Switzerland this evening. I joined a group of about 20 developers, of all levels and talked about WordPress plugin development. We then opened up the floor for questions and had a great ongoing conversation about development in general, the WordPress ecosystem, the open-source nature of the project, multilingual solutions and I even taught the group some Quebecois swear words 🙂

The presentation is almost identical to one I gave in Winnipeg in the spring, the slides are available as a PDF from here.

WordCamp Victoria: Plugin Development 101

Today I’m giving a presentation at WordCamp Victoria 2013 where I’m showing power users and novice developers how to get started with plugin development. I think a lot of people don’t realize how easy it is to get started with plugin development or just how small and simple can be. It doesn’t require 100s of lines of code…

Many WordPress tutorials out there talk about copy this or that to your functions.php file in your theme. However, it’s just as easy to create your own functionality plugin; which makes for easier to maintain code in the future that isn’t theme dependant. I begin this talk with the basics of what a plugin is and how it’s structured. I then explain the hooks (actions and filters API), followed by a very simplistic demo. I then give some pro tips and talk about some of the most commonly used WordPress APIs in plugins, as well as promote coding standards. A second more in-depth demo is then presented. Finally, I discuss security in plugins and share some resources for developers and users to further learn from.

Here are the slides from the presentation:

Let me know if you have any questions, using the comments below. And if you’re at WordCamp Victoria while you view this, come say hi!

WordPress Plugin Development Cookbook

WordPress Plugin Development Cookbook Book Cover

Last march, Yannick Lefebvre, fellow WordPress developer from the Montreal WordPress community asked me if I would be willing to be a technical reviewer for a book he was writing. I was delighted by the opportunity and decided to take part in the project. And so for a few months, Yannick worked incredibly hard on getting a chapter ready every few weeks while I was giving him feedback on the code samples and explanations provided within his writing. It was definitely a unique experience since I don’t typical review literature in my day-to-day work.

The book has just been published, and you can grab a print or ebook copy over at Packt’s website. I received my copy today, and it looks great:

WordPress Plugin Development Cookbook Book Cover

WordPress Plugin Development Cookbook Technical Review

Thank you Yannick for asking to participate in the making of this book. It was a great learning experience and a true pleasure to be part of the project.