After 8 months, I have finally finished with WordPress development. I definitely learnt a lot, especially in terms of how the back end works and some more PHP.
The most important one:
know more PHP than I did.
Admittedly, I knew very little. While I have some experience programming, I only took a 2 day course in PHP. Not having to look up every little thing would have saved me invaluable time.
The other big one was definitely:
know more WordPress.
The documentation is obviously written for programmers (in most cases, those familiar with WordPress). So once again, I spent a lot of time looking things up. In this case, it was even more difficult because I usually had to rely on a couple of different tutorials and piece things together, making things work through trial and error.
Of course, I didn’t have much choice. And if there is one really good way to learn something is to be thrown into it, and make it happen.
WordPress could really use some improvements though. One area is definitely in the plugins area. There is little to no cooperation between plugin authors, so there may be anywhere from zero to fifty plugins that do similar things, but all work differently and are of varying quality.
One of the reasons I’ve been posting a lot of plugins review is not only for my own records, but in the hopes that it’ll save other people time from looking through the mass amount of plugins. Unfortunately, because plugins come and go like the wind, plugin reviews become out of date very quickly.
The one other thing I wish WordPress would improve is their search. While the site search uses Google, the plugin search is pretty bad and so is the internal built-in WordPress search. For the plugin search, you cannot refine your search in any way, and the sorting doesn’t seem to work properly.
The built-in WordPress site search (and dashboard pages/posts search) is also pretty bad. It’s organized by date and there is a plugin that allows you to sort by title, but it does full text searching and does no relevance ranking whatsoever. If it even did the minimum of “do these words match words in the title, if yes, put those higher” then that alone would be a huge improvement.
While I think WordPress is a great platform (and it’s open source!), there is definitely room for improvement and may not be the right platform for everyone. In comparison, for example, I get the impression that Drupal has a more cooperative and supportive community with better plugin support and development. On the other hand, I find WordPress easier to teach users.
If I had to do it again, I would definitely have taken the time to learn more about the overall WordPress framework and how different parts fit into the puzzle before diving into making the theme.