WordPress: A Beginner’s Guide to Coding
WordPress is one of the most popular CMS available today, powering over 40% of all websites online. If you are new to coding, WordPress may seem intimidating, but fear not – this article will guide you through the basics of coding WordPress and make it fun!
Setting up a development environment
Before we start coding WordPress, let’s set up a local development environment to test our code on our computer without affecting our live website. We will use XAMPP, a free and open-source cross-platform web server.
Step 1: Download and Install XAMPP
Download and install XAMPP from their official website. XAMPP includes Apache, MariaDB, PHP and Perl, and it runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Step 2: Start XAMPP and Start Apache and MySQL
Start the application and click on the “Start” button next to the Apache and MySQL processes to start them. Once these processes have started, you can access the default XAMPP page by typing “localhost” in your web browser.
Step 3: Create a new MySQL database for WordPress
Open your web browser and navigate to “localhost/phpmyadmin”. From here, click on the “Databases” tab and enter a name in the “Create database” field. Finally, click on “Create” to create the new database.
Step 4: Install WordPress
Download the latest version of WordPress and extract the files to the “htdocs” folder of your XAMPP installation. Then navigate to “localhost/wordpress” in your web browser and follow the prompts to install WordPress.
Customizing WordPress Themes
The next step is to customize your website’s theme. WordPress makes it easy to customize themes using child themes, custom CSS, and hooks.
A child theme is a theme that inherits all the features of a parent theme but allows you to customize its appearance and add custom functionality. It is always a good idea to use a child theme rather than editing the parent theme directly.
Custom CSS allows you to add or change the CSS styles of your theme without editing the files directly. You can add custom CSS using the WordPress Customizer or by adding code to the “Additional CSS” section in the WordPress Appearance -> Customize section.
Hooks are functions that WordPress calls at specific points in the execution of a page. Hooks allow you to insert your custom code without having to modify the theme files directly.
Action hooks are used to execute code at a specific point in the execution of a page. You can add your custom code to the “functions.php” file of your child theme using the “add_action” function.
Filter hooks are used to modify the output of WordPress functions. You can add a filter hook to the “functions.php” file of your child theme using the “add_filter” function.
Adding New Functionality with Custom Plugins
Plugins are a great way to add custom features to your site without modifying the core WordPress files. To create a custom plugin, create a new folder in the “wp-content/plugins” directory of your WordPress installation and add your custom code using “add_action” or “add_filter”.
Coding WordPress is not difficult when you have the right tools and resources available. Always use child themes, custom CSS, and hooks to ensure that your changes are not lost when the parent theme is updated. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with coding WordPress – the possibilities are endless!