WordPress is a blogging platform and a CMS based on PHP and MySQL. It relies on a template system with a template processor and a plugin architecture. More than 23% of the top 10 million sites are based on WordPress, at the same time it is the most popular blogging system with over 60 million websites.
WordPress provides its users with the ability to install themes and switch between them. As a result, users can change the look of a website without altering the structure of the site. In addition, it is possible to edit HTML, CSS and PHP code to provide additional features.
In its turn, WordPress’s plugin architecture also allows users to add some extra features. With more than 30,000 plugins available, the platform provides a lot of functions designed to tailor every WP site to the specific needs of every user.
Another strong point of WordPress is set of native applications for Android, WebOS, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. These apps provide users with the ability to add new blog posts, work with comments, and view the stats. Other features include integrated link management; SEO with clean permalink structure; tagging; multiple categories, etc. In addition, you also get automatic filters. With WordPress, you also get the support for Trackback and Pingback standards, which display links to other sites linked to a post on your site.
There are different ways to become a good WordPressdeveloper. First of all you can use official WordPress Lessons. They consist of 4 parts: WordPress for Beginners, Designing Your WordPress Site, Lessons for Theme Development, and Website Development. Every part includes a set of detailed lessons about all aspects of the platform. The biggest drawback is a shortage of media content.
There is also the official Developer Documentation for WordPress. This provides useful guidelines for anyone wishing to extend, modify, or contribute to the platform. Developer Documentation includes lessons about plugin development, APIs, contributing to WordPress, forums, lists, blogs, etc. You can also find links to necessary external resources in Developer Documentation.
Tuts+ provides more then 470 video courses from the leading experts. Of course, there are lections about WordPress among them. With Tuts+ you will learn how to create WP themes with Underscores, customize and prepare them for ThemeForest. Additionally, there are WordPress guide for beginners and PSD to WordPress course.
A Beginner’s Guide to Using WordPress provides you with the information necessary for newbies. The course teaches how to use the platform from the ground up. In the end, you will be comfortable with installation, adding new content, themes customization, managing existing sites, etc.
WordPress Theme Creation With Underscores provides you with everything you need to know to go from Underscores starter theme to a fully fledged WordPress theme.
In its turn, The WordPress Theme Customizer tells everything about a feature that provides users with the ability to customize themes and see live previews without toggling back and forth between the dashboard and the public-facing side.
With Preparing WordPress Themes For ThemeForest, you will learn how to build a strong brand and promote your themes. This course shows all necessary skills from the most elite WP themes authors.
Last but not least is PSD to WordPress course. It provides information about custom theme building.
You can also learn how to use WordPress to create websites, e-commerce projects, and blogs with Lynda. The site provides video tutorials on different topics. In these courses, you will find out everything about WordPress installation and SEO configuration, WordPress themes creation, and content publishing. Lynda includes such lessons as: Create your own website using WordPress, Setting up WordPress for the first time, Learn how to build a WordPress theme, Optimize your WordPress site’s SEO. You can use different filters to find necessary lessons. For example, there are 31 tutorials for beginners, 20 lections for intermediate users, and 15 lessons for advanced WP developers.
If you don’t know what to do first, you should remember, that WordPress itself is the best place to start. Let’s look on the default Twenty Twelve Theme from the wp-content/themes folder in WordPress installation. Find a “page.php” file, which is responsible for displaying WP pages. Open it and go to a page on your site.
The ‘the_title()’ from line 3 is called a function. You should add the title of the page after <h1> (<h1>Title: <?php the_title(); ?></h1>). Use the aforementioned Developer Documentation to learn more. Don’t forget about tutorials WordPress dedicated blogs, forums and the community.
Chris Lema thinks, that it is impossible to become a hardcore WordPress developer within a short time. He says, that it is necessary to spend 3 years to achieve this goal. During the first year he recommends to check out theme frameworks, learn how to write child themes, and focus on things like actions and filters, metaboxes and templates.
The second year is the year of plugins. Start by writing something simple and read the Codex as much as you can. Year three is the time when you know the Codex and feel comfortable with themes and plugins. You can write your own posts and contribute to the core during this period. Before the beginning of the fourth year you will have enough experience to work on complex projects. Keep in mind, that you can reach this level faster!
Tips and Tricks By Jonathan Wold
There is a good post about how to become a WordPress developer by Jonathan Wold. He says, that becoming a top WordPress developer is a very hard work. It takes a lot of time and effort. Don’t look for the fast pass to the top – you will just waste your time.
Keep in mind, that installing the WordPress and customizing a few themes doesn’t make you a developer. These are basics, but a top developer must move far beyond them. Being a top level developer, you will be able to provide innovations and make contributions to the community. As a result, you will make the most money; get the best clients and the most interesting projects; have the influence on the community.
Start with one hour of reading or watching for each workday. You can use the aforementioned official documentation or video tutorials. Try to avoid all distractions while working. Keep in mind, that your basic skills are extremely important, and lack of some information can turn into a serious headache in future.
To understand the technology you should learn PHP and MySQL; explore the codebase; run nightly builds; and read Make WordPress. All this steps are necessary to understand the core principles and small nuances of the platform.
Don’t be lazy to do the homework – you will forget theory without putting it into practice. Build your own WordPress sites. First of all you should read and follow the tutorial. Then, you can start from scratch again but follow it on your own. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and break things down. WordPress APIs; Ajax; PHP Classes are created for experiments.
When you are ready with your education, it’s time to leave your own projects and get some real-world experience. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to work for clients. You can start with free projects to gain self confidence and all necessary experience. Building a theme is another great opportunity to become a good WordPress developer. Release it and listen to the feedbacks. You can also ask someone for the review. Writing a plugin that solves a real need will also provide you with the necessary experience, and don’t forget to release it and get feedbacks. Contributing a patch is another critical step in becoming a top WordPress developer. Last but not least is debugging. Learn how to write a bug-free code and take your place among the best specialists. Now you can join the WordPress community. You have enough skills to write your own tutorials, contribute to the Codex, participate in forums, and attend WordCamps.
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