Custom plug-ins are developed in order to satisfy the needs of a business when no suitable, pre-existing plug-in is available. Nearly every function imaginable is available in the WordPress plug-ins database. The need for developing a custom plug-in comes when a readymade plug-in is not available, or cannot be customized to adequately meet the business requirement.
Advantages of Building Custom Plug-ins
- Easy maintenance as it’s being built by the native developer
- Built to match the exact requirement of the particular business need
- Could become a contribution to the WordPress plug-in database
When Not to Build a Custom Plug-In
You shouldn’t build a new plug-in when there is already a standard plug-in available in the WordPress plug-in database. Why should time, energy and money to be wasted by building a new one when an suitable plug-in is already available?
When Should You Build a Custom Plug-In?
A new plug-in should be built when the WordPress plug-in database doesn’t exactly match the business requirements, or if the matching plug-in is too difficult to be customized in order to meet your needs.
Case Studies on When we Require Developing a Plug-in
Scenario: The client requires an FAQ feature on their site.
Action: The developer checked on the WordPress Plug-In database and found a number of FAQ plug-ins. But the developer decided to choose one plug-in e.g. “WP Super FAQ,” would best suit the client’s expectation.
Outcome: The developer downloaded the plug-in and integrated it into the project.
Scenario: The client required an item listing which went beyond a normal scope. It required a (restricted type) image upload and a file upload (again restricted types, which they wanted to be editable). It required a basic CK Editor for description, a popup date picker for and other fields which were related to the client’s business.
Action: The developer checked on the WordPress Plug-in database and found suitable plug-ins. But they found that a lot of customization time would be required in order to meet the client’s expectations.
Outcome: The developer decided to develop their own custom plug-in which could best serve the client and be easily maintained.
Standards to Follow During Plug-in Development
Can Your Plug-in Affect Other WordPress Functionality?
- Check to see if your plug-in name is duplicated with any other plug-in/feature names or function names
- Deactivate all plug-ins and then activate one by one to check which plug-in is causing the issue
- Switch to the Twenty Eleven theme to rule out any theme-specific problems
- Reset the ‘plugins’ folder by FTP or PHP MyAdmin. Sometimes, an apparently inactive plug-in can still cause problems
- Re-uploading freshly downloaded wp-admin and wp-includes folders from WordPress
Can The Developed Plug-in Become Outdated?
Yes, when WordPress version updates, it’s the developer’s responsibility to check if the plug-in is compatible for the latest version of WordPress. The plug-in may also fail because of the direct PHP code that’s used, if the newer version of PHP drops the usage of that code.
A custom developed WordPress plug-in can serve multiple purposes to meet different client needs. Clients and developers should be aware that such a plug-in requires maintaining WordPress version compatibility in order to meet various functionality requirements.