If you are a regular WPMU reader you may have read my rant on plugin usability back in May. Whist I am no developer, I think it is safe to say that the kind of inconsistencies we see with in certain plugins’ user interfaces often walk hand in hand with poor coding standards.
Not only that, but poor coding standards can lead to a raft of even greater issues such as resource intensive processes, incompatibilities, and security vulnerabilities.
For some reason I have been stumbling across quite a few articles relating to coding practices recently, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to bring the best together as a list of resources. And for keen plugin developers out there, I’d love for you to share other articles/guides relating to plugin coding standards that you refer to, as well as your own advice, in the comments section at the bottom of the post.
Plugin Coding Standards Resources
Any plugin developer should start with the Codex’s own WordPress Coding Standards. Accomplished developer Tom McFarlin refers to these standards as “the foundation of writing professional-grade code for WordPress”.
You can typically rely upon Smashing Magazine to provide in-depth articles but they really outdid themselves with their Guide to WordPress Coding Standards. Although there is some overlap between this and the aforementioned Codex coding standards document, Smashing’s effort goes into far more depth on many elements of plugin development (and WordPress/web development in general).
Tom McFarlin put together some great tips in his recent article on Going Above and Beyond The WordPress Coding Standards. This is a list of what he does personally to make his code more efficient and readable. Even non-developer types can take some great tips from this (such as including a table of contents in your functions.php file).
In terms of more general directions, you should check out The Ten Commandments of WordPress Development. Much of the information contained within the links above is more focused on specific coding practices, but this article offers more in the way of general WordPress-specific coding advice rather than actionable tips.
Finally, prolific plugin developer Pippin Williamson published WordPress Plugin Development Strategies over at WP Roots. This is relatively brief resource with advice on keeping complicated plugins manageable.
What Do You Have to Offer?
So there you have it folks — a collection of resources I have recently come across relating to plugin coding standards. For the developers out there, please take a moment to share your own recommended resources in the comments section!
Creative Commons image courtesy of pvera