How to Create a WordPress Plugin from Scratch for a Web Application?

Feb 04, 2020
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  1. Why create a WordPress plugin from scratch and use WP?
  2. Create a WordPress plugin from scratch for WP
  3. How to create WordPress plugin from scratch FAQ

The WP platform is open and many developers create numerous plugins so you can easily add new features and make your website better. Plugins can make everything much easier – you can easily add a new element (for example an element that works with donations). The plugin processes all the input data automatically. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about anything. There are hundreds of plugins available to you, so you can find almost anything you want. However, at some point, you may need something special. That’s the time when you may wonder, “How do I create a WordPress plugin from scratch?”

This process isn’t very challenging, but you need to know how to code. Moreover, you need to know various aspects of the platform to make sure everything works properly. Creating a plugin may take some time. It depends on what you expect to get. It may take some months, especially if you create something complex. Another important factor to consider when you create a WordPress plugin from scratch is to make sure it works as it should. You need to test your plugin. It has to work always and it has to provide you with the correct data. You also shouldn’t ignore security.

 

Overall, if you decide to create a WordPress plugin from scratch, you need to be ready to deal with various challenges. The whole process may include such general steps as:

  • Getting the idea (what your plugin should do)
  • Work on the function's implementation (you write the code so the plugin performs the necessary function)
  • Testing
  • Delivering

The whole process of creating a plugin seems quite easy, but again, it depends on your task (it may be quite complex) and skill level.

 

If you want to create a personal WordPress web app that will have certain functions, then you may need to create a plugin. Again, it requires you to know how to code properly. The plugin has to be optimized – it shouldn’t negatively affect performance.


Why create a WordPress plugin from scratch and use WP?

The idea of using the WP platform as a basis for your web application is viable. Of course, it’s possible to create a web application from scratch. However, the WP platform already provides you with certain tools and solutions that can make the process faster and easier. The WP platform was not designed specifically for web application development, but it still has some important features:

  • Platform developers pay special attention to security and data protection.
  • The WP platform has different user roles. It also has user registration and login components.
  • WordPress works with databases.
  • You can customize pages by modifying themes.

You can turn a WordPress site into an app, but you still need to consider several factors. The WP platform may not be the best solution to build a web application – it depends on what you want to create and how complex it’s going to be. A web application made using the WP platform can perform some complex functions – you still may need to use additional plugins. However, it’s an option when you need something complex. Therefore, you can build a web app with WordPress, but you have certain limits. If you need a complex web app then you need to create everything from scratch, which may take some time.

 

Some developers prefer to use WP as a back end. The good thing is that WP already has the necessary tools – you can create custom fields or pot types. Moreover, you can store all the necessary information. All these features are enough to process the data used in your application. You can also find a good front end solution, “combine” everything, and voila – you have a web application. It sounds quite easy, but it may include various steps and you may need to install various plugins to make everything work.

 

Design is important both for pages and applications. That’s the case when you can also create everything on your own or take something and modify it to meet your needs. If you don’t want to waste your time creating a website theme, then you should consider visiting this page. You can find a huge amount of themes here – more than 2300 WP-optimized themes. The great thing about these themes is that they are super flexible and versatile – you can easily modify almost everything about the themes. You can easily add new components and customize them. Some themes are optimized for certain cases (for example, some themes are great for online stores). All the themes are optimized performance-wise. Therefore, all the elements will load fast providing visitors with the best possible user experience. It’s important to reduce the loading times. If a visitor waits too long, they may leave your page or your web application.

 

Of course, if you are an experienced programmer you can create plugins for WP that will do exactly what you need. Luckily, the platform is open and you can easily add new features.

However, developers work on their plugins and they can make the WP platform even more flexible and make it great for various web applications, like progressive ones. Unfortunately, many plugins have certain limitations – they help you create a web application, but they can’t provide you with limitless possibilities. Therefore, you need to stay within certain limits. The situation is quite simple here – a plugin helps you to create a web application, but you have some limits.

 

Creating it from scratch may be an option when you need something special. It’s an option when you can’t find exactly what you need. Luckily, the WP platform allows you to create a plugin.

If you still want to just get a plugin – consider visiting the official plugin page. There are many of them available. However, you should also check the Template Monster plugin page and this one as well. Please consider reading our short and useful article that shows different ways of installing a plugin.


Create a WordPress plugin from scratch for WP

The whole process includes several steps:

  • You need to create a folder – the name has to be unique, using lowercase letters
  • Create the main file – it should be a PHP file that has the same name as the folder does
  • Add information – it should include name, URL, description, version, author, etc.
  • Now you can start writing the code (in the main file)

It’s a quick and easy example that shows that this process isn’t too complex. However, if you want to know more about plugin development then please check the official WP page – Writing a Plugin. It covers various aspects of the process, including how to create and add them. It also has some suggestions that can be extremely helpful for developers. As you can see, the WP platform is quite open and creating a custom plugin isn’t a super challenging task. Of course, it’s all about code writing and you need to make sure it is completely optimized. You shouldn’t ignore security as well. WP developers suggest you protect the main PHP files (you need to add some code).

 

It still may be a good option to check the official plugin page to see if there’s a plugin that you need. It may happen that the solution you need already exists and you don’t need to waste your time creating anything. Developers may spend months or even years on their plugins. Moreover, a public-available plugin is tested by thousands of users. Developers are informed about any errors or bugs, so they try to update their plugin and fix everything. Therefore, it may be a better option to get a plugin tested by thousands of users. Such plugins may be quite powerful – they may include everything you need.

 

Moreover, you can save a considerable amount of time – you don’t need to create anything. You can just download a plugin, install it, and start using it right away.

Here are some plugins that can help you build a web app with WordPress.


Super Progressive Web Apps

This is the plugin that combines mobile web and mobile apps. It can “install your website” on the home screen of a mobile device. Therefore, a user can run it like a normal application, but they will interact with your website. It is super easy to use and configure. It comes with all the necessary features. It can generate a website manifest. The plugin can set the application icon and background color. You can also set the start page of your web app. It’s possible to set the default orientation. This is a truly powerful solution that has a great number of features and it’s easy to use.

 

Super Progressive Web Apps
Super Progressive Web Apps
Developer: SuperPWA
Price: Free

PWA for WP & AMP

Here’s another great plugin that can help you create a nice progressive web application. It also comes with a set of powerful features, like full PWA compatibility for AMP, UTM tracking, start URL, multisite support, etc. It comes with a service worker – a special component that gets installed automatically and it performs various actions to reduce the requests (it may cache external objects). It creates the manifest file automatically.

 

You can also customize the app banner (a notification to get the app version of the website). Your web app will be loaded in full screen, without any bars so it looks like a common application. You can also change device orientation. It has many other features. Developers work on the plugin and update it regularly.

 

PWA for WP & AMP
PWA for WP & AMP
Developer: Magazine3
Price: Free

PWA

Here’s a new solution, but it can help you create a WordPress web app. It is quite simple but it can help you create a nice web application. It includes various components, including experimental ones. It supports several caching strategies to provide users with the best possible experience.

 

PWA
PWA
Price: Free

WP-AppKit

This is another great option to build a web app. You can build a web app using such technologies as JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. It supports JavaScript-based PWA and app themes, but you can also create your themes. It allows you to send push notifications (but it’s not implemented by default). You can also use custom fields, but you may experience some performance issues. Another great thing about this plugin is that it works with WooCommerce – you can display some content (like products), but you need to implement certain functionalities on your own (like cart or checkout). Unfortunately, this plugin doesn’t support iOS anymore.

 


Here’s a quick table that includes the most important plugin information (it may change, as developers update their plugins).

Name Active installations Rating WordPress version Tested up to Multiple languages PHP version
Super Progressive Web Apps 30,000+ 5 3.6.0 or higher 5.1.4 Yes, 12 5.3 or higher
PWA for WP & AMP 10,000+ 4.5 3.0 or higher 5.3.2
PWA 20,000+ 4.5 5.2 or higher 5.3.2 Yes, 5 5.6 or higher
WP-AppKit 1,000+ 4 4.0 or higher 5.3.2 Yes, 2
WordPress Mobile Pack 8,000+ 3.5 3.6 or higher 4.9.13 Yes, 2

 

These plugins can help you build a web app with WordPress. Of course, you can spend some time creating your plugin, but it may take some time. Therefore, if you need to create a web application, then you should consider checking these plugins. Maybe some of these plugins can help you.


Business WordPress Themes FAQ

How do you update your plugin?

Please consider checking the “Updating your plugin” section here.

How do you make your plugin work with the administration panels?

You can use various methods; the list of the methods can be found here.

Should you use direct SQL or WP API when possible?

Use WP API where possible.

What are the WP coding standards?

Please consider checking this page.

Should you use <script> and <style> tags?

It’s recommended to use wp_enqueue_style() and wp_enqueue_script() functions.


Read Also

Non-Plugin Way of Creating XML Sitemap in WordPress

Pick Up the Best Redirect Plugin for WordPress

10 Best Google Analytics Plugins for WordPress

Top 10 WordPress Migration Plugins 2020

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Last Updated : Feb 05, 2020

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