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Author: RachieVee

Rachel R. Vasquez, also known as Rachie with a Vee, is a WordPress enthusiast who loves writing, drawing, animation, and a million other things. She hopes to at least share her WordPress joy with others.

Quick Tip: Not sure what template you’re in? Use the WordPress body classes.

Let’s talk about WordPress body classes! But first, an explanation of what this is. This is the first short post, from what I hope will end up being several short posts, called “Quick Tips”. It can take me weeks to write a “normal” sized post on RachieVee, and so, in an effort to keep myself active in 2019, and still pass on tidbits of knowledge, I’ve started this new category. I have also categorized these “Quick Tip” posts based on developer experience. This first post is geared towards “Beginners”. This level is meant for developers just getting to know how WordPress themes work.

What are WordPress body classes?

Back on topic! WordPress body classes are exactly what they sound like. They are HTML classes applied to the body tag of a WordPress site. WordPress themes use the body_class() function to apply these classes auto-magically.

If you’ve ever had an error show up on the front-end of your site, or if you’re looking to change something in a WordPress theme – taking a glance at these classes are a quick way to orient yourself. While these classes won’t tell you exactly what template to look for in a WordPress theme (unless it’s a custom page template), they can provide a clue about where you are in the WordPress template hierarchy.

Not sure what the WordPress template hierarchy is? I’ve linked to it above. It’s a flowchart of how WordPress decides what template file to display on the front-end, based on the type of content. It also differs depending on the theme.

There are only three required files for a WordPress theme: functions.php, style.css and index.php. Any other file aside from these required three, are for additional functionality and/or styling in a theme. The more template files that exist in a WordPress theme, the harder it can be to narrow down bugs or alter anything for those is still getting comfortable in said themes. Here is where the body classes can help.

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The Screen Reader Text Class: 5 Real Life Applications

One of my first exposures to accessibility in WordPress is the screen reader text class. When I was learning by tinkering around existing themes – it became a familiar sight. Now, the screen reader text class is an effortless addition to my daily development, and it makes a huge difference.

First we’ll go over briefly what this class is and how it can help make sites more accessible. Then I’ll review 5 real life applications of the screen reader text class in the wild. I hope that by reviewing these cases, it can become part of your every day workflow as well.

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10 Pre-WCNYC Developer Tips

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 is here in New York this weekend, clearly this is my rushed attempt to get something out there before then. Here are 10 pre-WCNYC developer tips that I hope level up your WordPress knowledge in some way. If you run into me this weekend, I’d love to hear if any of these helped you.

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10 Quick WordPress Tips for Front-end Developers

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.

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Escaping WordPress Template Functions. To do or not to do?

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?

By template functions, I mean functions that are regularly used throughout theme development to call content from the dashboard. Like the_title(), the_permalink(), and the_excerpt() to name a few.

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!

A power ranger teleporting.

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!

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