WPDK, the WordPress Development Kit for Plugin Developers

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WPDK is a rather new development kit for WordPress and promises to enable the simple creation of easily maintainable plugins and themes. It’s supposed to improve the WordPress kernel and extends its core features and classes. WPDK is fully object-oriented and guarantees easy usability.

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WPDK is the acronym of WordPress Development Kit. It’s an easily installable PHP framework that was written for the plugin and theme development with WordPress.

The WPDK – WordPress Development Kit Framework

Nowadays, developing plugins and themes is not an easy task anymore. The code is becoming increasingly more complicated, and more and more features have to be implemented. This is the best time for a development plugin that promises to stand for an easily maintainable code base.

Due to its object-oriented infrastructure, WPDK encapsulates many aspects of the development of a WordPress plugin or theme and automatically executes tasks that generally are supposed to precede the right approach of a developer.

The developer should focus on his idea, and not on the infrastructure. Thanks to the expansion of the WordPress objects with the WPDKWordPressPlugin object, the developer can access a bunch of advantages with a simple action.

Further Information:

WPDKWordPressPlugin Class Reference

WPDK – Examples of the Most Important Advantages for Developers

Many important things are quickly accessible to ease the development of plugins. A few examples:

  • The immediate availability of your plugin data; like name, version, and text domain.
  • The immediate availability of useful paths related to your plugin, like the plugin folder, the plugin main file name, and so on.
  • The automatic creation of hooks to WordPress filters in connection with the activation, loading, and the deactivation of the plugin.
  • A clear cut between the necessary code for the admin area and the frontend for WordPress is also made. This lets you implement the code in the correct spot fast and efficiently.

The readability and the plugin performance are supposed to be increased as well. This would already be a very helpful thing in itself. Especially in very large plugins, the readability is a real problem for some developers.

A Brief Presentation of the Most Important Features:

  • Simplicity
    Your WordPress development should become easier, thanks to the steadily growing amount of WordPress objects that WPDK provides: fast generation of a plugin infrastructure, shortcode manipulation, file system, DateTime helpers, and so forth.
  • More Productive
    The development becomes more productive and faster, as you can stop writing the same code for the same purpose over and over. Basic infrastructures for the development of WordPress plugins and themes are embedded in WPDK.
  • Integration
    The framework can be integrated into the most important IDEs (PHPStorm, Eclipse, Netbeans and others), and supports you with an internal documentation in PHPDoc format. Direct help during development is also offered inline.
  • Improvement
    The WordPress UI is improved and allows for better user friendliness of your creation. This way, faster and more efficient results can be secured.
  • Maintainability
    Your WordPress creations should be easier to take care of now, due to the object-oriented internal infrastructure, as well as the MVC pattern compatibility.
  • Swiftness
    Thanks to the WPDK autoloading technology, your WordPress creations will get up to 50% faster. You only write the PHP source code that is necessary for the fulfillment of the client’s HTTP request load, analyze, and execute. Every other WPDK PHP source code that is not related to the HTTP transaction is not loaded, which drastically increases the speed during loading and running the code.

Further Information:

The Complete List of WPDK Features

The Installation of the Framework and its Requirements

Before the installation, there are requirements to be met, however, almost all hosts should meet them by now.

  1. At Least WordPress Version 3.4
  2. At Least PHP Version 5.2.4
  3. At Least MySQL Version 5.0

Next up is the installation which works just like a manual plugin installation.

  • Download of the framework from the official Github page
  • Unpacking the file to the desktop
  • Loading the folder wpdk-production into the WordPress plugin index using FTP

The framework is installed now. It does not appear in the list of plugins, as it does not need to be activated.

The skeleton of a plugin created with WPDK:

Here in this code example, you’re able to see that a plugin with the WPDK framework is very well structured. The strict division of frontend and admin features is also exemplary. There are classes for the activation and deactivation of plugins as well.

Important Links For the WPDK WordPress Development Kit:

Conclusion

Inevitably, the approach of a strictly object-oriented development means following the right track. The fast availability of UI elements that don’t need to be explicitly defined is well thought out. I also like the separation of code blocks for the admin, and for the front end area of the plugin.

An in-depth look would be required to find out if the plugins developed using this framework are significantly different from the “default” plugins that were developed following the WordPress requirements. Getting used to the controls of WPDK is only worth it for developers that deal with the creation of plugins on a daily basis, however.

The framework is also being praised for the development of themes. I dare to doubt that working with an additional PHP framework in this area is advantageous. The WordPress Coding Standards certainly are more than sufficient here. It would already be a real advantage if the theme developers stuck to them. This would give a real boost to the readability and performance of developed themes.

Andreas Hecht

Andreas Hecht is a journalist and specialist for WordPress and WordPress Security. He roams the web since its inception. He has published an ebook on WordPress Security, which you might want to take a look at.

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