Starting big project / first WP application with lots of custom coding

Hey everyone!

I’m investigating migrating an existing web project to WordPress 3. The website in question is built with a custom CMS we did some time ago.

Our client, among other things, offers courses and professional education tracks, for which we have built an extensive PHP app, that co-exists with the CMS. PHP5 OOP, Smarty templating, admin area, public area and live XML feeds. Lots of different classes, lots of conditionals for fetching just the right remote XML info (don’t get me started on the supplier’s datastructure!) via cURL. (With WP, we can ditch cURL, I’ve read.)

For all the obvious reasons, we would like to switch to WP and usually, when learning a new system, we undertake a project that seems ludicrous at first. You know, to get the blood flowing.

My questions are rather vague and broad, perhaps: what do I need to look out for? How do I get up to speed as quickly as possible on programming with WP.

Any pitfalls? What books/videos/courses do you recommend to get down with plugin development? Any specific RTFMs? Any groups, forums to join and follow?

Basically, I think, I want to use WP as a development framework. I’m proficitent enough with CodeIgniter and ExpressionEngine, besides doing custom PHP projects for the last 10 years or so, so I’m not afraid of diving in deep.

I’m reading up on stuff in the Codex in a big hurry, have the Devlounge “How to write a plugin” closeby, lynda.com at hand and soaking in anything I can find.

I really appreciate any thoughts, comments and “don’t do that!”s. :slight_smile:

Thanks!… Nico

  • Mason
    • DEV MAN’s Sidekick

    Hiya tveenstra,

    Whew! You are definitely diving straight into the deep end then! ;D

    Awesome. It sounds like you’ve already tapped into a lot of the best resources available. Early on, I found hanging out on wordpress trac and in the IRC chats helpful for quick answers as well.

    I’ll ask a few of our awesome developers to respond here with some suggestions they may have as well, and of course, welcome to WPMU DEV. Anything more specific with questions, don’t be afraid to write up a new post! :smiley:

    Thanks!

  • Barry
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    Yep, pretty much learn from other peoples work – make a list of what bits of functionality that you need, then go looking for plugins that either do it, or come close and go through their code – follow any filters and actions back to WP’s main source so you can see where it is being called from and what is being passed in.

    Eventually you’ll get to the point where you know, roughly, where you want to hook into the WP code on a page, and can then go looking for an action or filter near or around that area that you can use.

    Some of WP’s code is a bit of a maze though – so make sure you have a decent coding / editing app that allows you to search through the entire code base / project and also see the functions that are in a particular file – Textmate for the Mac has saved me hours and hours of time I’m sure.

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