Key Mistakes Developers Should Avoid When Building WordPress Plugins

Key Mistakes Developers Should Avoid When Building WordPress Plugins

Do you want to make a successful career by building plugins for WordPress CMS platform? Well, as WordPress is the leading CMS with unlimited scope of modularity by using appropriate plugins, quality plugins will always get good traction. Most of the WordPress Development Company India offers WordPress Custom Plugin Development services to help startups companies to enhance their websites with essential functionalities. But building quality plugins also requires a meticulous approach and avoiding common mistakes committed by other developers.

Here we are going to explain top mistakes developers of WordPress plugins commit. 

  • Building Plugins With Borrowed Codes 

Many plugin developers try to vote with a quick solution and end up building a small plugin with borrowed codes. Most of these plugins actually end up with bad user experience and flawed features thanks to their botched up codes. This is why developers need to follow the time tested practices and code the functions themselves. In addition to their coding efforts developers can make use of many ready to use tools for building WordPress plugins. 

  • Non-Compliance With WordPress.org Guidelines 

The WordPress.org official guidelines represent all the rules developers need to follow for publishing the plugin from the WordPress.org plugin store. This is why developers need to understand the WordPress guidelines correctly and do everything to maintain compliance with them throughout the project. 

  • Giving No Attention To Compatibility 

For every developer when writing code, they must make sure that the code perfectly works with the particular intended version of WordPress and underlying PHP code.  Since it is nearly impossible to know which WordPress version the users are going to use, you need to take a call on targeting the version based on the target market.

For better understanding, we can explain this with an example. As a developer if you are intending to provide support for PHP 5 and above, you should not use namespaces in the code since it is introduced long after and became available with PHP 5.3 or later. On the other hand you must remember that WordPress is not compatible with various filters or functions or hooks. Since PHP 5.2 is only used by 15% of users of WordPress, by using namespaces in the code of the plugin you can easily build a plugin that works for 85% WordPress users. 

It is always advisable to have a precise understanding of your target market and the market segments along with compatibility challenges. To address the needs of most WordPress users, use WordPress 3.0 and at least PHP 5.0 or above.

  • Not Keeping The Debug Mode On 

This is a common mistake committed by many WordPress plugin developers. Many developers just keep the debug mode off during the development. If you want to build a high-performance plug-in, you should avoid this mistake at any cost. This comes as a helpful configuration for staying clear off the bugs and errors in plugins. When you keep this mode on, you can easily see PHP notices to avoid mistakes at the development projects. 

On top of that, WP_DEBUG mode also helps in generating debug messages from WordPress as well as messages regarding usage of deprecated functions. As depreciated functions always appear with dates of expiry, this debug mode turned on can help developers find their replacement before they reach their date of expiry.

  • Absence Of A Method To Avoid The SQL Injection Threats 

Almost all seasoned developers know the security threats created by the SWL injections. Developers of WordPress plugins always need to pay attention to the risks of SQL injection as it is known to create opportunities for hackers to access the data handled by the plugins. This is why plug-in developers should have a strategy to stay clear of such security vulnerabilities. 

To prevent hacking efforts utilising SQL injections WordPress plugin developers should not use any parameter received from the user input as it is. The developers should make use of the core prepare() function of the WordPress that can easily cleanse the SQL queries from parameters.

  • Avoiding The WordPress Nonces

To understand this guideline, we must understand what WordPress Nonce is.  It is nothing but an imperative that ensures strong URL protection only to prevent the misuses. In case any WordPress user wishes to carry out actions such deleting posts, posting reviews etc, this imperative helps identifying the user behind such actions. 

This imperative is tremendously helpful in minimising various security risks for WordPress websites. For example WordPress Nonces can easily prevent attacks such as Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF). This can easily be done by appending this nonce to the website URLs. The same can be added to forms just as a hidden field. This helps identify where a specific URL request was made for malicious intent. 

It is important to know that WordPress Nonces are created by using a hash along with the user’s ID. Thanks to this protocol each and every user has a precise nonce and so every user request or specific action can easily be identified with almost no additional efforts.  

  • Going Ahead Without Function Prefixing 

If you have any experience as a plugin developer, you probably already have an idea of the naming convention of the plugins or the plugin functions. Plugin developers actually can identify the functions with the same names. For example, if a function name is like copy_file() or save_data(), those names can be used by plugins from other developers as well. 

The rationale behind this is quite simple:. Actually, all these functions of all plugins are accommodated in the same space of execution. Naturally, when a WordPress plugin is activated, all the functions accommodated in the execution  space are loaded by the PHP. PHP just cannot separate these functions from different plugins. 

Question is how to solve this problem. To avoid such confusion with function names when PHP loads, each function can be given a specific and unique name by using a prefix. With the use of a very particular prefix for each function of the plugin, you can completely avoid this problem. Otherwise, in case of prefix for plug-in function naming you can also use PHP classes containing the particular functions. 

Conclusion 

All the mistakes we mentioned above are quite common across too many underperforming WordPress plugins. As a budding developer, by just following these mistakes and their respective remedies you can easily deliver the best output. 

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