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How to Create Your First WordPress Plugin

How to Create Your First WordPress Plugin
Do you want to create your first WordPress plugin? That turns out well. Together we will see how to create a WordPress plugin. WordPress has the distinction of being the most popular CMS in the world. In fact, more than 40% of websites use WordPress. It's also easy to find a plugin for virtually any task you want to accomplish. However, the ease of finding plugins comes with some problems. In this article, we will start by seeing how to create a WordPress plugin, taking a contact form as an example. Next, we will see why it may be interesting to create a plugin. Finally, we will talk about some recommendations from the WordPress community to create a powerful and secure solution.

1. Why create your own plugin?

Creating your own WordPress plugin can offer several advantages:
  • Customization: You can create specific features tailored to your particular needs.
  • Learning: Developing a plugin helps you better understand the inner workings of WordPress.
  • Performance: A custom plugin can be lighter and more efficient than a generic plugin.
  • Security: By controlling the code, you can minimize the risk of vulnerabilities.

2. Prerequisites

Before you begin, make sure you have the following:
  • A local or online WordPress site where you can test your plugin.
  • A code editor (like Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, or Notepad++).
  • Basic knowledge of PHP, HTML and CSS.

3. Basic Structure of a Plugin

Any WordPress plugin starts by creating a folder in the wp-content/plugins directory. In this folder you will need a main file for your plugin. For example, if your plugin is called "Contact Form Plugin", you can create a folder called contact-form-plugin and a contact-form-plugin.php file inside that folder.

Example of main file:

 <?php
/*
Plugin Name: Contact Form Plugin
Plugin URI: https://example.com/
Description: A simple contact form plugin.
Version: 1.0
Author: Your Name
Author URI: https://example.com/
License: GPL2
*/

// Plugin code here
?>

4. Creating a contact form

For this tutorial, we'll create a simple contact form that sends an email to a specified address. We will divide this into several steps:

4.1. Added contact form

Add a function to display the contact form in the main plugin file:
 function display_contact_form() {
?>
<form action="" method="post">
<label for="name">Name:</label>
<input type="text" name="name" id="name" required>
<label for="email">Email:</label>
<input type="email" name="email" id="email" required>
<label for="message">Message:</label>
<textarea name="message" id="message" required></textarea>
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit">
</form>
<?php
}

4.2. Form processing

Add a function to manage the data submitted by the form:
 function handle_contact_form_submission() {
if (isset($_POST['submit'])) {
$name = sanitize_text_field($_POST['name']);
$email = sanitize_email($_POST['email']);
$message = sanitize_textarea_field($_POST['message']);

$to = '[email protected]';
$subject = 'New contact message';
$body = "Name: $namenEmail: $emailnnMessage:n$message";
$headers = array('Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8');

wp_mail($to, $subject, $body, $headers);

echo '<p>Thank you for your message!</p>';
}
}
add_action('wp_head', 'handle_contact_form_submission');

5. Recommendations for a powerful and secure plugin

Here are some best practices to ensure your plugin is efficient and secure:
  • Sanitize user input: Use WordPress functions to validate and clean data.
  • Optimize queries: Make sure database queries are optimized to avoid slowness.
  • Security: Avoid SQL injections and XSS vulnerabilities by using WordPress query preparation and escaping features.
  • Documentation: Comment on your code and provide clear documentation to help other developers.
By following these steps, you will be able to create a basic WordPress plugin and understand the fundamentals of creating plugins. Happy development! You can check out some plugins we developed here. We've also published a few on WordPress.org .

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