WordPress Coding Standards are there to create a baseline for review and collaboration within various aspects of the WordPress open source project and its community. This includes everything from the core code to plugins and themes. Think of it like WordPress is the car, and the rules of the road are the coding standards. WordPress actually has its standards in a variety of handbooks. They are there to help developers and contributors stick to the same rules.
Why Does WordPress Have Coding Standards?
The various languages used to make WordPress are pretty flexible. As a result, there are many ways they can be used to achieve a goal. Having everybody use the code in the same way makes it easier for people to work together and to review each other’s work.
Think of it like the English language. Using the words and language structure of the English language, we can create sentences that all English speakers can understand. However, one could write a poem with the language, another person may create a haiku poem, and another person may create a Shakespeare play with the English language.
Thanks to coding standards, not only does the whole process of working with WordPress coding become easier, but it also helps avoid mistakes and confusion. Coding standards will:
Help people avoid common errors with their code
Simplify the modification and evolution of the WordPress program
Make later changes and edits a lot easier
Improve how readable the code is for long-time WordPress developers
Thanks to the standards set out by WordPress, it is possible for different people to work on the same sections of code and each have a reliable and understandable input. If one were to look at the code, one would have a hard time telling where one person’s contribution started and where the other’s ended. People who contribute to the core need to understand the rules and standards.
The Rules and Standards
This article is much too short to cover all the rules and standards set out by WordPress. Nevertheless, if you wish to work as a WordPress developer, and if you wish to update or improve the WordPress core, then you need to know the rules and coding standards. Here are links to the various handbooks on offer by WordPress.
The rules consist of mostly what you would expect. They tell you a bunch of things you shouldn’t do, they offer up rules to make your code neater and to make sure your code is written correctly. In a weird way, they are also offering help on how to write better and more efficiently for WordPress. Bringing back the car example from earlier. By setting out roads and rules for the road, they have made it so people can drive faster because everybody is using the same rules and the system operates well within those rules. WordPress gives you the rules and snippets of help to make coding more efficient, and as a result, it makes you a better WordPress coder.
The WordPress Accessibility Standards
At the moment, WordPress is working towards achieving Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at level AA for updated and new code. WordPress has also offered a guide to accessibility issues. They are the sorts of things you should be concerned about if you are building patches or creating feature plug-ins.
When to Hire a Developer
The rules and standards are not too difficult to understand. They are not too restrictive, but they are something that you should be aware of if you wish to create plugins, to alter the core of WordPress, or to operate on WordPress in a collaborative coding fashion. If you hire a developer, it is important that you hire a WordPress developer like WP Masters. This is because they understand the rules and standards set in place by the people who run WordPress. They understand how it works and so are able to operate comfortably within the system.
If you are hiring a web developer and you are looking to make a few changes to WordPress or your plugins, then make sure they have WordPress developers on their team. They will understand what is needed better than regular web developers and coders.