Are you pretty familiar with WordPress by now? Feel like you know all WordPress has to offer yet? Well after many years of WordPress development, I’m proud to say that I am still discovering new functions I’ve never used before or new capabilities behind functions I thought I knew. Since WordCamp here in New York is this weekend, clearly this is my rushed attempt to get something out there before then. Here are 10 WordPress dev tips before going into WCNYC this year. If you run into me this weekend, I’d love to hear if any of these helped you in some way.
We don’t always realize how much we’re actively learning in our day to day work. We’ve gotten so used to the daily grind of web development, that perhaps finding answers to “gotchas” or successfully troubleshooting a problem, is something we celebrate with a fist bump in the air before we move on to the next thing. What helps me keep this blog going is taking a few seconds to write those discoveries down in a draft. While small, each new bit of knowledge levels me up. I want to share some of those with you today as quick WordPress tips.
The great thing about these 10 quick tips, are that they can be absorbed in this one read. No in-depth tutorials, no lengthy explanations – just small bits of knowledge that hopefully help you grow the same way they’ve enabled me to grow.
Half of these tips are for HTML or CSS, the other half, WordPress functions that I’ve found handy during front-end development. Let’s start from the quickest tips down to ones that require a little more explaining.
Sanitization, escaping, and validation have become a regular part of my WordPress theme development within the last year. If those words confuse you, don’t worry, I’ve got another draft in my dashboard waiting to be finished. Eventually. 😉
But for those of you that do have a general idea of what these terms mean, perhaps you’ve faced the same nagging questions I had when it came to escaping WordPress template functions. At first, I was just applying escape functions mechanically, while not truly understanding what it was that I was doing, I knew that it was a best practice. Just like WordPress hooks, over time, my understanding became less fuzzy, but until these nagging questions could be answered, I couldn’t feel confident that I was escaping correctly.
Which WordPress template functions should be escaped? Which functions already have this built into core?
This becomes harder to figure out if, like me, you hadn’t truly dived into WordPress’ mysterious core files for browsing. Or maybe you have, but found it overwhelming to follow the rabbit hole and chain of functions while simultaneously trying to make sense of how WordPress does just one thing. It doesn’t help if your code editor doesn’t make the task any easier. I’m a huge fan of Sublime Text, but have recently been exploring PHP Storm. I won’t lie to you, I still prefer Sublime for my daily development needs, but PHP Storm has a feature that has made learning about WordPress core so much easier.
You can Shift (PC) or Command (Mac) click on any function, WordPress or not, and it will take you to the file and line where that function is written. So for WordPress core, instead of being overwhelmed by all the files in the wp-admin or wp-includes folder, PHP Storm teleports you instantly!
And so, via PHP Storm, I narrowed down which core functions actually needed escaping. I threw together a reference until it’s something I commit to memory, and thought it would be useful to share said reference with a blog post. In this post, I’ll also briefly review what escaping does for us, and how we would know if a template function needs escaping. Let’s get to it!
Are you a web developer who doesn’t write code outside of work hours? One of those web developers who don’t have active Github account and loads of side projects? Have you ever felt less valuable than other developers due to not staying after hours or weekends for your job? Less valuable because you haven’t tried all the latest and greatest frameworks/languages? And finally, have you ever been told or made to feel that you “lack passion” due to the above mentioned points? Then this post is for you. Let’s chat about the feeling of passion in web development.
What’s a girl to write about after so long? Why, things that she loves of course – WordPress and Accessibility. I’ve been getting to know WAI ARIA in recent months, specifically using ARIA landmark roles in WordPress. This seemed like a great place to start as it was a handful of markup to memorize in an otherwise vast amount of ARIA to learn. It’s also familiar to developers if they’ve browsed through WordPress.org themes even if they haven’t realized it yet.
Before we move on, if you’re unfamiliar with what WAI ARIA is ( ARIA for short ), I’ll direct you to W3.org’s reference first.
Now if you’re like me, and stopped reading by the second line of that massive intimidating wall of jargon, I’d advise reading something easier on the eyes ( and brain ) like the A11y project’s, “Getting Started with ARIA“. I also found this lengthy article recently, “Introduction to WAI ARIA” written by Gez Lemon, and although it’s from 2008, it cleared up a lot for me. I’d recommend giving it a read through.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what ARIA is ( not the pirate Queen of Omega* ), let’s go over what ARIA landmark roles are and how they can make our WordPress themes more accessible.
* A Mass Effect reference that I couldn’t help, but take advantage of.