A Message to Budding Developers Using WordPress

I’m a noob. There’s no doubt about it. I still run to Twitter for help with what most developers consider basic. I’m cool with that, though, because I know something that other budding developers don’t.

You don’t have to know shit to build an application for WordPress. All you have to do is be resourceful.

Before going any further, understand that I am not supporting crappy work. This is not an excuse to slap something together without any thought just to make a quick buck.

What I’m basically saying is that you don’t even have to know PHP to build something for WordPress.

The WordPress Codex, as hard as it is to navigate, is full of information. Other sites like WP Tuts provide a great deal of information about WordPress as well.

All you need to do is have a solid idea of what you want to build in WordPress. If you know it’s possible to create, Google will be your new best friend.

“How to build a WordPress theme”

“How to create a WordPress plugin”

“How to create a WordPress options page”

Simple searches like these will lead you to more resources than you can handle. The key to getting through everything is reading the Codex page plus 3 or 4 other tutorials from other sources.

You want to see what WordPress has to say about it first. From there, compare what they say with what 3 or 4 other reputable sources have to say.

You’ll eventually find a common denominator in the other sources that are in line with the Codex.

Take the code (and your new understanding of what the code does) and run with it.

Learning to build in WordPress is not about knowing everything. It’s about being resourceful and creating a little muscle memory by completing tasks one by one until the big picture starts to come together.

Those close to me know this already, but before I built Volatyl, I didn’t really know PHP. In fact, I had never built anything for WordPress. All I had done was design sites with CSS.

Pick a task that’s outside of your perceived reach and give it a try. I would suggest building a WordPress theme. (Try starting with my variation of _s by Automattic)

Don’t worry about releasing it. Just build it for yourself. As you go through the process, you’ll quickly realize that developing with WordPress is more about how you think than it is knowing PHP.

From there, you’ll learn to speak through your code to communicate your intent through functionality. The Thesis theme by DIY Themes is a perfect example of Chris Pearson’s thoughts on what makes a WordPress theme builder.

It’s your turn… whenever you feel like it.


Author: sdavis2702

I'm a simple guy. I like to code and I like to workout. I'm all about growth and just about everything else is nonsense in my book.

4 thoughts on “A Message to Budding Developers Using WordPress”

  1. Hey Sean, isn’t it surprising when there was no Google and people STILL wrote code and created programs?

    As doing research from actual books, flipping pages and skimming through content, I really can’t believe high school or even college kids complaining today that in order to do learn how to do something (not only WP coding) things can be so “hard”…

    Great to see you’re pushing people into coding man, sometimes I still can’t believe your background comes from being in the US Army and not from some IT past.


    PS. Maybe you were a math genius in a previous life? 😉

    1. Lol… I’m not a math genius but I’m pretty fascinated with math and patterns. My entire childhood, I wanted to be an architect. And in the Army, I was an automated logistical specialist. I managed a software program responsible for tracking the movement and financial information of equipment related to weapons, vehicles, communications, and chemical warfare. Before joining the Army, I ditched architecture to study accountancy. I’m a college senior in that field… but the traditional education system itself depresses the shit out of me… so I quit that mess and turned my web hobby into a living. So I guess my history leads to this point. 🙂

  2. Good article,

    I hate the fact that I have a bit of a ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude and every time I sit down to do design/development work it’s like I am planning on finishing 3 projects in one day.

    I am working on laying out my work & building piece by piece like you say but it’s tough as shit.

    Also, you aren’t a noob…. You CAN’T be a noob because that means I am just pathetic. Let’s call me a noob+ and you can be a professional noob lol

    1. Haha I hear you man. It can be tough to dedicate yourself to projects that take a month to complete but those are the best ones. You learn so much along the way. Pick a bigger task than you’ve ever done and give it a shot.

      Hahaha okay we’ll upgrade everyone a few levels. If we’re making that argument, though, I’d have to say you’re above noob+ for sure. I’ve seen your work!

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