I gave an introduction to automated WordPress deployments at WordCamp Miami 2017. This is the companion article that I wrote for it. If you’re just looking for the slides, click here.
How do you feel when you have to update the code on a client’s WordPress site? Do you feel confident that everything will be ok? Or are you filled with dread as if you were about to play a round of Russian roulette?
For a lot of us, it’s a lot closer to the Russian roulette! We press the upload button of our favourite FTP client. We then spend the next minute refreshing the home page in our browser hoping not to see a white screen of death. (Followed by a sigh of relief when everything loads as it should!)
This is a pretty stressful way to work. You shouldn’t have to feel this way each time that you want to update the code of a WordPress site. It should be something that you can do as often as you want without worrying that you broke your site in the process.
And that’s where the idea of automated WordPress deployment comes in. As the name implies, it’s all about automating this process of updating a WordPress site. This, in turn, makes this risky process safer. (But keep in mind that this isn’t a bulletproof solution!)
Gone are the days where you’re playing Russian roulette each time that you want to make a change! You can now update your client’s WordPress site with a lot more confidence. This lets you focus on shipping bug fixes (yay bugs!) and new features.
That said, there are a lot of different ways of automating your WordPress deployments. We’ll go over what makes a successful automated WordPress deployment workflow. We’ll also look at a lot of different tools that you can use to achieve it.
Continue reading Introduction to automated WordPress deployments
A concept that comes up a lot while doing object-oriented design is coupling. We use it to describe how connected the different parts of your code are to one another. But, even explained like that, the concept of coupling can still be a hard to grasp.
On top of that, we often pair it with another concept called cohesion. We use cohesion to describe how well the different parts of your code fit together. This tells us whether everything was well-designed or not.
In fact, this is why coupling and cohesion are so important. There’s a strong relationship between them and the quality of your code. Code that doesn’t have any major coupling or cohesion problem is more often of higher quality. It’s more maintainable, reusable and less prone to problems.
That’s why you want to keep these two concepts in the back of your mind when programming. But that’s easier said than done when these concepts aren’t well understood. That’s why we’ll demystify them today.
Continue reading Coupling and cohesion in WordPress and beyond
This site has a lot of object-oriented programming articles. Most of them focus on solving WordPress problems using object-oriented programming. This is great when you’re comfortable with object-oriented programming.
But most WordPress developers aren’t that comfortable with it. (You’d think there’d be a book on that or something.) It’s one thing to read about basic concepts like encapsulation and inheritance. It’s another to put them in practice. There are a lot of obstacles that you have to overcome.
One of these obstacles is the proper use of the static keyword. Static methods are a great object-oriented tool to use. But, like all good things, we can also abuse it if we’re not careful.
This happens a lot more in the WordPress development world than anywhere else. And there are good reasons for that. We’ll look at why that is and what you can do about it.
Continue reading How to use the static keyword with WordPress
Being a plugin developer isn’t easy. You have to get your plugin to work with WordPress. But more often than not, you also need it to interact with other plugins.
This interaction can take various forms. For example, you might need to modify another plugin’s behaviour using the plugin API. Or you might want to help customers migrate away from another plugin (or product) to yours.
This second scenario is the one that we’re going to look at in this article. It’s a good opportunity to introduce a new software design pattern. We call it the strategy pattern.
Continue reading Importing data into WordPress using the strategy pattern
Alright, it’s time to continue our journey building our awesome
WP_Query_Builder class! So far, we’ve only designed it to build simple WordPress queries. But not all WordPress queries are simple or easy to model using just a cascading method.
It’s even possible that you’ve run into the limits of the
WP_Query_Builder already. The class that we created then wasn’t a complete solution. It had some serious limitations if you were a
WP_Query expert. You couldn’t use it to perform complex WordPress queries.
What do we mean by complex WordPress queries? We mean queries that use a complex
WP_Query query parameters. At the moment, there are three of them:
So, for this article, we’re going to back to our
WP_Query_Builder class. We’ll add support for one of these complex
WP_Query query parameters. We won’t go over all three due to how complex they are. But you can apply what you’ve seen for this one query parameter to design a fluent interface for the other two.
Continue reading Designing a class to create complex WordPress queries
In a previous article, we looked at how you could create a class to manage WordPress posts. We ended creating a class who’s job it was to interact with the WordPress database. And it did that quite well!
As part of its job, our class also had to be able to query the WordPress database. To do that, we made it easier to reuse code around the
WP_Query class. We achieved that by creating methods that used predefined query arguments.
But have you ever looked at the codex page for
WP_Query? Holy Moley, there are a lot of query parameters in there! It’s pretty intimidating and not always easy to use in practice.
That’s the problem that we’re going to look at in this article. We’ll design a class to simplify how we build
WP_Query objects. It’ll handle all the complexity around
WP_Query query parameters for you. The result should be an easier way for you for you to create WordPress queries.
Continue reading Designing a class to build simple WordPress queries
This site has grown a lot in the last year or so. We’ve spent a lot of time going over object-oriented solutions to WordPress problems. So much so that, we have a small library’s worth of material that you can refer to.
With any type of growth, criticism will arise. This is a good thing. I’m a big proponent of “Strong opinions, weakly held“. But this can’t happen without discussion and debate. In the long run, I always feel it leads to a better outcome. (Well, that’s as long you don’t get stuck just debating!)
Recently, there was a debate on the nature of the solutions that you’ll see on this site. They’re over-engineered. I think this is a valid criticism and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the whole thing.
Continue reading Thoughts on teaching object-oriented programming with WordPress and over-engineering
Learning object-oriented programming with WordPress is a lot like embarking on an epic journey. You’ll experience some lows, some highs and some downright frustrating moments. But it’s all part of the learning process.
And, so far, we’ve done quite a bit of progress on our journey. We’ve looked at various WordPress problems. And we then solved them using a class or combination of classes.
We call this process “object-oriented design“. It’s been the focus of a lot of the articles on this site. Because of that, there’s a good chance that you’ve begun using it in your own projects. (And if you haven’t, you should try it!)
When that happens, you’ll start to notice that your project has a lot of classes. This tends to become a problem for a lot of developers. They wonder, “How do I assemble all these classes together!?” It’s not unusual for them to revert back to the standard WordPress way of doing things when that happens.
This is the problem that we’re going to explore in this article. We’ll look at how you can solve it using a dedicated class for it. To do this, we’ll start thinking about the job of the main plugin class.
Continue reading Designing a class to assemble plugin classes
I gave a talk at WordCamp San Diego 2016 on the modern WordPress server stack. This is the companion article that I wrote for it. If you’re just looking for the slides, click here. It was also later republished on Smashing Magazine.
Do you remember when you could run a “fast” WordPress site with just an Apache server and PHP? Yeah, those were days! Things were a lot less complicated back then.
Now, everything has to load lightning fast! Visitors don’t have the same expectations about loading times as they used to. A slow site can have serious implications for you or your client.
As a consequence, the WordPress server stack has had to evolve over the years to keep up with this need for speed. As part of this evolution, it’s had to add a few gears to its engine. Some of the older gears have had to change as well.
The result is that today the WordPress server stack looks quite different from a few years ago. To better understand it, we’re going to explore this new stack in detail. You’ll see how the various pieces fit together to make your WordPress site fast.
Continue reading A look at the modern WordPress server stack
It’s not too far-fetched to see WordPress as a library. You write a post and publish it. Meanwhile, WordPress classifies it and puts it away on its shelves.
But how do you find your post again after WordPress shelved it away? You need someone to help you navigate this huge library and find what you’re looking for. You need a librarian!
That’s the job of the
WP_Query class in a nutshell. It’s the librarian of the WordPress database. You talk to it when you want to search through the WordPress database. It’ll help you find the information that you need!
It does this without requiring that you know how WordPress stores that information. That means that you don’t have to know how to write MySQL queries.
WP_Query takes care of all that for you. (Yay!) It’ll transform your search request into a safe MySQL query and process it for you.
But how does the
WP_Query class do this? That’s what we’re going to look at today. We’re going to explore how it works and what it can do for you. This will help you leverage it to the maximum in the future.
Continue reading WordPress for the adventurous: WP_Query class