- Introduction to WordPress Plugin Development 101
- Plugin Development 101 – What Makes a Plugin?
- Plugin Development 101 – General Best Practices
- Plugin Development 101 – An Intro to Filters
- Plugin Development 101 – Intro to Actions
- Plugin Development 101 – Registering a Custom Post Type
- Plugin Development 101 – Intro to Short Codes
- Plugin Development 101 – Intro to Loading Scripts and Styles
- Plugin Development 101 – Introduction to Adding Dashboard Menus
- Plugin Development 101 – Separating Your Plugin into Multiple Files
- Plugin Development 101 – Your First OOP Plugin
- Plugin Development 101 – Dissecting the Featured Comments Plugin
In this first real part of the Plugin Development 101 tutorial series we look into what makes a plugin. How is a plugin different than any other .php file? How do you make WordPress recognize your code as a plugin?
A plugin in WordPress is really nothing more than a PHP file (or multiple PHP files) with a very specific piece of information included at the top of the file that has been placed in the wp-content/plugins/ folder.
There is no minimum or maximum for what a plugin can or must do. Plugins can be a single line of code, or 50,000 lines of code. Regardless of the size of a plugin, it is defined as a plugin in exactly the same way: by a piece of meta data placed in the main file.
At the top of every WordPress plugin is a comment block that contains information about the plugin:
- The name of the plugin
- A brief description of the plugin
- The URL of the plugin’s homepage
- The author of the plugin
- The author’s website
- The plugin version number
The meta data is always placed in a comment block, so like: