WordPress: Creating Custom Widgets and Plugins with PHP
Illustration by John Hersey
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Exploring WordPress plugins


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WordPress: Creating Custom Widgets and Plugins with PHP

with Drew Falkman

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Video: Exploring WordPress plugins

One of the main reasons why WordPress is so powerful and so well used is because of its extensibility. One of the key elements of its extensibility is its Plugin API. So let's take a look at what plugins are, what they can do for you, and why they are great for WordPress administrators, for developers, and ultimately for the end users of these web sites. The WordPress Plugin Directory is located at WordPress.org/extend/plugins. All of the plugins here are distributed through WordPress themselves, though they are made by independent developers like yourselves, and they are downloaded through the GNU public license, which means they're all open source.
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  1. 1m 49s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 23m 29s
    1. WordPress overview
      2m 32s
    2. Installing WPI for Windows
      3m 42s
    3. Installing MAMP for the Mac
      3m 25s
    4. Installing and configuring WordPress
      5m 51s
    5. Comparing WordPress 3.0 with previous versions
      2m 57s
    6. Setting up a PHP/WordPress development environment
      5m 2s
  3. 14m 47s
    1. Exploring WordPress plugins
      3m 42s
    2. Administering plugins from the WordPress admin
      5m 23s
    3. Exploring where plugins reside
      2m 51s
    4. Introduction to hooks
      2m 51s
  4. 39m 28s
    1. Creating the plugin PHP file(s)
      3m 12s
    2. More on hooks: Actions and filters
      3m 15s
    3. Installation and activation
      4m 6s
    4. Writing activation code
      3m 45s
    5. Writing an action
      5m 12s
    6. Writing a filter
      4m 15s
    7. About pluggable functions
      2m 1s
    8. Writing a pluggable function
      5m 30s
    9. Using template tags
      2m 46s
    10. Introducing shortcode
      5m 26s
  5. 26m 2s
    1. Widgets and the WordPress Widgets SubPanel
      2m 54s
    2. Comparing widgets and plugins
      1m 8s
    3. Using and customizing built-in widgets
      3m 18s
    4. Creating a new widget
      7m 21s
    5. Writing the constructor and registering widgets
      5m 20s
    6. Enabling configuration of widgets
      6m 1s
  6. 44m 59s
    1. Creating an admin interface
      5m 25s
    2. Saving data to the database
      5m 39s
    3. Securing form submission with nonces
      2m 25s
    4. Options editing post-WordPress 2.7
      4m 8s
    5. Integrating with the WordPress admin menus
      3m 34s
    6. WordPress admin dashboard API
      4m 5s
    7. Using existing options and option editing pages in WordPress
      5m 19s
    8. Using jQuery and AJAX for administration
      14m 24s
  7. 27m 13s
    1. Accessing the WordPress database
      5m 45s
    2. Using the built-in schema
      2m 21s
    3. Accessing data using $wpdb
      5m 15s
    4. Creating new tables
      7m 18s
    5. Inserting data
      6m 34s
  8. 26m 27s
    1. Introducing the Loop
      6m 22s
    2. Using WP_Query()
      3m 11s
    3. Custom filtering and sticky posts
      4m 58s
    4. Using jQuery and AJAX for posts and pages
      11m 56s
  9. 12m 9s
    1. Registering and promoting plugins
      2m 28s
    2. Creating an uninstall function
      5m 53s
    3. Backward compatibility issues
      3m 48s
  10. 15m 3s
    1. Understanding security issues
      11m 20s
    2. Internationalizing your plugin
      3m 43s
  11. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Watch the Online Video Course WordPress: Creating Custom Widgets and Plugins with PHP
3h 51m Intermediate Nov 04, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In WordPress: Creating Custom Widgets and Plugins with PHP, Drew Falkman teaches PHP developers how to create custom functionality for WordPress 2.0 through 3.0 using widgets and plugins. This course starts by installing and setting up WordPress 3.0 on both Mac and Windows, then provides an in-depth look at tasks related to these WordPress add-ons: installing and administering, building and customizing, creating editable options and database tables, working with posts and pages, and utilizing jQuery and AJAX. There are also tutorials dedicated to promoting a widget or plugin, adding security, and localizing the interface. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Installing WPI and MAMP server solutions
  • Administering WordPress plugins
  • Introducing hooks
  • Writing the PHP for a plugin
  • Using template tags and shortcode
  • Building a new widget
  • Creating an admin interface
  • Accessing the WordPress database
  • Using jQuery and AJAX for posts and pages
  • Registering and promoting plugins
Subjects:
Developer Web
Software:
WordPress
Author:
Drew Falkman

Exploring WordPress plugins

One of the main reasons why WordPress is so powerful and so well used is because of its extensibility. One of the key elements of its extensibility is its Plugin API. So let's take a look at what plugins are, what they can do for you, and why they are great for WordPress administrators, for developers, and ultimately for the end users of these web sites. The WordPress Plugin Directory is located at WordPress.org/extend/plugins. All of the plugins here are distributed through WordPress themselves, though they are made by independent developers like yourselves, and they are downloaded through the GNU public license, which means they're all open source.

So you can download these. You can use them. You can even edit them if you want to. And as you can see here, there are 11,000 plugins available on this web site that have been downloaded quite a few times. Some of the featured plugins you can see: WordPress.com Stats, which gives you statistics on who is viewing what posts, and pages, and things like that in a very intuitive way; BuddyPress is a great tool; Super Cache for caching your web site, helping for performance; and this Twitter Widget.

Let's go into one of these, like BuddyPress. So you can see for the plugin, we can look at the Description. It tells you what it is. Basically, what BuddyPress is is it's the ability to add some social networking into your blog or into your web site quickly and easily. Again, you do this at one click of a button, create some settings, and you are off in running. If there is any installation, it will tell you a little bit about how to do that, beyond the normal. There is an FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions, Screenshots, so if you want to see what it looks like.

You can see it's very much like Facebook-esque thing, integrated right within your web site. Then there is Other Notes, history of changes, and then maybe some statistics about it, how often it's downloaded. Here you can see we have a version number. It will tell you compatibilities of which version of WordPress it works well with, and sometimes you will even find the ability to make donations. Another one that I like is Recent Tweets, and there is quite a few out there like this. Recent Tweets is actually a widget plugin.

So you can see this is what it looks like on a user's web site. It just shows the most recent tweets that the owner of this blog made. Here is the configuration aspect of it that a site owner can use. So they can give it a Title, Recent Tweets. They put their Twitter username, so that it can go out and grab that information, how many tweets you want to show, if you want the Follow Me link and if you want to have a link for the Recent Tweets plugin. In addition to all of these plugins available at the WordPress Plugin Directory, there are also companies out there that are selling these plugins.

You can see Broken Link Checker, Events Manager; these are all located at wpplugins.com. So it's a little application store that you can download these and install them right into your WordPress. There are some larger ones that are independently distributed, like shop, located at shopplugin.net. This is a full ecommerce system that you can plug right into your WordPress installation. So all in all, there are a lot of plugins available to plug into WordPress. The WordPress.org Plugin Directory provides you access to a lot of different tools, and like I said earlier, all of these plugins are open source.

So you can plug these directly into your web site, and you can also access them, and modify them if you want to. So it's always a good start, whenever you develop plugins, to take a look here first and see what's available.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about WordPress: Creating Custom Widgets and Plugins with PHP .


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Q: Do I need a web hosting service for this course?
A: You don't need a hosting site to do any testing or development work that’s covered in this course. However, if you want to have your WordPress site available to the public, you will most definitely need a WordPress site. If you are hosting with an independent company, they will need to have PHP and MySQL installed, and there will be some configuration differences, but basically, you can upload anything on your local version to the web site. If you are hosting with Wordpress.com, you will need to add your plugins by uploading them manually through the WP Admin Plugin screen.
 
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