What is WordPress Plugin: Discover it Yourself Anew
All WordPressers must have felt that WordPress is the most influential CMS (Content Management System) platform and one of the strong reasons for this is that WordPress is a Plugin-based Web-building System. WordPress Plugin expands WordPress Core Structure with additional structural scopes to add new functions.
Basic WordPress is like a high-rise building with only Foundation lying under ground. WordPress theme makes it visible with only Columns and Floors with probabilities to add all the facilities to turn it livable. Plugins adorns the building with walls, bathroom, kitchen, water-system, power-system, veranda, fuel-system, hot-water system, stair, lift etc.
Each plugin has one definite function. The more plugins, the more facilities, the more expansion.
WordPress has unlimited probabilities to get extended by the help of Plugins.
However our aim is to explore deep into WordPress Plugin applying our own attitude which means discovering it as our own. So, let’s proceed.
What is this Plugin?
Accept this idea. We plug a cord into socket on a switchboard and perform a single task. From this concept, the term Plug-in came into being.
In computing, a Plugin is a software or a package of Code that extends functionality and features to the existing Basic Program. Frankly speaking, we plug a small piece of software into the Original Software aiming to adding additional function. Plugin is also called Add-on or Add-in; and with a slight difference Extension.
Mozilla Firefox is a Web Browser. Its main function is to browse web page. But there are thousands of Plugins that you can add with Firefox. One of such plugins is Adblock Plus which helps you blocking annoying video ads on YouTube, Facebook ads, banners and so on only when you browse with Mozilla.
Again Vysor is a Chrome extension (plugin) that lets run your Android mobile as an window from Desktop computer.
Usually such globally outstanding programs have their own Directories to download plugins from. You can download all of the Mozilla’s plugins from its Directory Firefox Add-ons and Google Chrome’s extensions from Chrome Web Store.
Then what is WordPress Plugin?
WrodPress is the most popular website builder. To web developer and designer community, it is the most acceptable CMS. WordPress has about 18 million installation and currently 33% of all the websites around the world are powered by WordPress. The most credits of WordPress’ ultimate success story goes to WordPress Plugins. From the very core level, its structural flexibility and capability to adapt with thousands of plugins that are easily available have made WordPress unparalleled.
As Plugin is illustrated, we can state that WordPress plugin is a piece of software or a package of codes that expands the core functionality of WordPress. Each plugin adds a feature or characteristic to the basic WordPress structure and performs a group of tasks.
How is WordPress Plugin interrelated with WordPress Core Structure?
Again, total WordPress is built up of basically 3 folders and many files—
- wp-admin Folder
- wp-content Folder
- wp-includes Folder
- A number of files including wp-config.php, .htaccess, index.php, licence.txt
However, we needn’t go to illustration here. We must clarify WordPress Directory structure in another post. In this tutorial briefing on these must server our purpose—
- Wp-admin mainly builds WordPress Admin Panel and also serves functions of connecting to the database, loading the dashboard, permits users’ access etc.
- wp-content includes all of the Themes, Plugins and other uploads made by you over time like images, audio, video etc.
- wp-includes contains WordPress Core Files. It is composed of the files that make all the programs function.
- wp-config.php file contains all the configuration you made from Setting option in Admin Panel.
- .htaccess file is the configuration files of your Hosting Server running on Apache.
- index.php file functions loading and initializing all your WordPress files responding to users’ request for a page.
- license.txt file is the WordPress license file published by the Free Software Foundation.
Now question— Where are Plugin files? How do they function with WordPress Core Structure?
You may answer: obviously Plugin files are under wp-content folder. Yes, all the plugins you install are stored here. But to understand its relation with Core structure, we have to focus on another file called Function File which is usually named as function.php file.
Function File or function.php file in WordPress
Function file executes and control functions of a dynamic program. Function file is written in PHP. For a definite function to implement, a package of php code is written and added in function.php file. There is no limit how many such code’s packages can be added.
However, in case of entire WordPress installation, you can find function.php file among many others by clicking wp-includes folder. It is the largest file in WordPress. It contains numerous important supports functions for the Entire WordPress.
But our aim is not to refer to wp-includes/function.php. For this tutorial purpose, we are going to highlight the function.php file that resides in Theme subfolder. Every theme has function.php file which you can get to the following ways-
wp-content folder→ Theme subfolder→ Definite theme folder→ function.php file
This function.php file contains different php code packages that performs different functions. These packages of codes are called plugins.
Easily speaking, Theme functions or function.php file in WordPress Theme and the WordPress Plugin are the same.
To perform the same function, say Creating Table in WordPress, you can use both code snippet in function.php file or use an available plugin which will be stored in wp-content folder→ Plugins subfolder.
Those who are unwilling to pile up their site with Plugins, opines that theme function is better. Similarly others argue in favor of plugin as plugin is not theme specific and consequently, is not lost, in case, theme is updated or switched.
However both the process have pros and cons. I personally feel easeful with plugins. If you have expertise in php coding, you can add big or small function in theme by writing code. Again you can use the same code package to build up a plugin. There are lots of WordPress plugin tutorial to help you building plugin and submit it to WordPress plugin Repo.
As you can download WordPress plugin free, so can you collect function.php snippets from around internet.
Yet, ultimately, there are obvious differences between these two. If you’re a serious WordPress blogger; don’t fight shy of this knowledge. Here is our arrangement for you—
Have you ever experienced using functions code? Which function? Or, which method do you prefer most. Hope you won’t forget to share your experience by comment.