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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Five things a WordPress developer should be aware of in 2024

I want to quickly go over the most important abilities and resources that you as a WordPress developer should be aware of in this post.

I want to go over the requirements for WordPress in greater detail now.

Gutenberg + FSE (full site editing)

The Gutenberg editor may or may not be to your taste. However, as of right now, WordPress comes with a built-in page builder, so you must at least know how to use it. With all of the most recent changes they’ve made, it’s actually pretty powerful (like setting up custom paddings, margins, font sizes etc.)

WordPress also has a Site Editor tool, available as of version 5.9. It gives you the power to use Gutenberg blocks to construct and edit almost every aspect of your website. Page layouts, site headers and footers that are synchronized throughout your website, post grids, and libraries of block patterns that you can utilize again are just a few examples.

The latest WordPress Twenty Twenty-Four theme  is constructed utilizing FSE, therefore a modern WordPress developer must be familiar with both this tool and the creation and upkeep of block themes.

ACF + Custom Blocks

Numerous incredible WordPress plugins are in use on a large number of WordPress websites. But as a WordPress developer, I want to draw attention to the one I use frequently: it’s the  Advanced Custom Fields plugin.

Similar to how users may manage the website’s front end with the Full Site Editor, developers can create and manage custom fields, or the “back end,” with the ACF plugin. These custom fields are yours to use in any other area of the website, including page templates.

With the ACF plugin, creating your own Gutenberg blocks is considerably simpler than with the original method (using React). The ACF plugin is required to be purchased in its PRO edition, however it is well worth the investment!

Elementor and other page builders

Yes, it is still frequently used in the WordPress community. Since they are all fairly similar to one another, switching between Divi and BeaverBuilder is simple if you learn how to use Elementor, for instance.

My top picks for WordPress page builders are as follows:

Elementor  the most widely used WordPress builder, with more than 5 million installations currently. It contains dozens of extensions with more blocks, is free, and is simple for both users and developers to understand. Block creation is simple, and there is extensive guidance for developers.

DIVI The WordPress theme and plugin combination gives you complete control over your website. The builder features a user-friendly interface along with a number of pre-made pages, layouts, and even entire websites. There isn’t a free version, and making new custom blocks is difficult and requires React understanding.

Visual Composer / WPBakery are two extremely similar page builders; in fact, before October 2017, there was only one plugin called Visual Composer Page Builder. The primary distinction between the two is that WPBakery Page Builder handles the content, whereas Visual Composer offers solutions for creating the entire website (much like the Full Site Editor). Additionally, Visual Composer is available in a free version, but WPBakery is not.

One of the earliest WordPress page builders that I used was called Visual Composer. Its interface was not particularly user-friendly back then. However, as it develops, its front end becomes more user-friendly. Its lengthy history also contributes to its continued popularity and widespread use in WordPress websites.

WP REST API

A collection of ideas and guidelines called REpresentational State Transfer for Application Programming Interface allows you to manage and retrieve the data in your applications. The REST API allows any programming language, including PHP, Node.js, Go, and others, to communicate with WordPress by means of HTTP requests and JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) objects.

For example, you can receive data to change the content of your postings or send data from your website to external applications. For your plugin or theme, you can make your own unique REST endpoints (URLs) and manage it with external apps by simply submitting queries.

It serves as the cornerstone of the  WordPress Block Editor,

Therefore, knowing how to use the REST API is essential if you work as a WordPress developer.

Start with this resource if you have no prior experience with the WP REST API or would like to brush up on your knowledge: https://developer.wordpress.org/rest-api/

You can use a free app to test REST API calls. Postman.

Animations (GSAP, Three.js…)

I realize this has nothing to do with WordPress, but I frequently work on projects that require me to make a scrolling website or some sort of contemporary, hip animation for a page.

GSAP is one of the most amazing and potent JavaScript libraries available for making animations. All you have to do is check out their website to see what I mean. Animations of any complexity can be made, including ones that follow SVG paths, scroll, are sequences of animations, and a ton of other very awesome capabilities. Once you’re comfortable with the GSAP library, your webpages will look like  AWWWARDS winners.

Three.js is a library for JavaScript that lets you make 3D animations. When you get the hang of it, your websites will be on an entirely new level.

It’s harder to learn than GSAP, for me at least. Three.js also requires knowledge of creating 3D models in Blender or other apps, but you can use free models at the beginning.

BONUS — Git, NPM, Webpack, Vite

These are essential for any contemporary developer. Furthermore, you should understand what they are and how to utilize these technologies even though WordPress programming is a little different from, say, React/Vue development and has its own unique requirements.

Although assets (scripts and styles) are still frequently included as distinct files by WordPress developers, I advise making the switch to bundlers.

Bundlers (like as  Webpack and Vite) enable you to deal with languages (such as SCSS, JSX, TypeScript, and others) that browsers don’t support by default. This implies that you may use React, for example, to design your own plugins or custom Gutenberg blocks, and then simply integrate them with WordPress. The output JS file will be created by bundlers handling all necessary tasks; all you have to do is include it in your plugin or theme using the wp_enqueue_script() method.

Also with bundlers you can use Node Package Manager (NPM) to maintain your external scripts up to date and to incorporate them into your theme or plugin with ease.

And don’t forget about Git — even when working on a project as a lone developer. You can backup and secure your code with Git. Don’t panic if something goes wrong following your most recent update or the removal of legacy code! Simply get your prior Git commit.

Please feel free to applaud, subscribe, and share your ideas in the comments section if you found this article helpful. 😊

I appreciate you reading!
Peace and safety to you!

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