WooCommerce is an increasingly popular plugin for adding robust ecommerce capabilities to WordPress. As more and more WordPress stores use the platform, you’ll need to be on the ball to develop quality WooCommerce solutions.
As with WordPress, there are two ways to build your own solutions for WooCommerce. You can build custom store themes, or extend its ecommerce capabilities with plugins – and WooCommerce provides in-depth documentation to help you along the way. To keep up with the growing platform while producing custom solutions, you’ll need to stay attentive to coding standards and updates.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to four best practices for developing high-caliber WooCommerce solutions. By the end, you should feel ready to take your first steps towards becoming a superstar WooCommerce developer. Let’s get started!
1.Use WooCommerce Hooks Wherever Possible
WordPress hooks enable you to manipulate or override code written elsewhere in the platform. This functionality comes in handy for themes and plugins, as it enables you to create custom output without needing to hack into the core code. Hooks are divided into actions and filters: actions can essentially help you to carry out any custom functionality, while filters simply modify existing content.
WooCommerce extends this concept by making generous use of custom hooks to simplify the customization process. These hooks are made available so you can consistently modify WooCommerce’s output when using themes and plugins across multiple unique installations.
Simply put, actions and filters are one of the secret ingredients that make WordPress so extensible! By also letting you manipulate registered hooks later on in the process, WooCommerce is nearly as customizable and flexible as its parent platform, WordPress.
2. Base Custom Themes on Provided Templates
WooCommerce themes work much like other niche solutions, only with additional templates. Before developing or customizing a WooCommerce-specific theme, you should feel confident about how the overall process works. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to start with the regular WordPress theme documentation.
Each theme relies on a template hierarchy, and it’s a fairly straightforward process. In short, each type of page in WordPress looks for the most specific version of itself available. For example, you might have a default page.php, alongside a more targeted page-contact.php. The page with the contact slug will automatically load the latter, while all other pages will fall back on the default.
3. Become Familiar With the REST API
WordPress offers a built-in REST API, which WooCommerce extends with custom endpoints to offer access to products, orders, and more. In other words, you have full remote access to your WooCommerce data through JSON objects. Any WordPress project built using the REST API can have e-commerce functionality added with WooCommerce’s expanded version of the REST API.
4. Follow the WooCommerce Core Development Team
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin backed by Automattic. As such, a large amount of well-organized content is published about both its direction and recent updates. To truly supercharge your WooCommerce development, you’ll want to have your finger on the pulse of the project.
Additionally, be sure to keep up with the WooCommerce development blog. There, you’ll find detailed updates on changes within the project. Keep an eye out for updated functions, completely reworked approaches, and deprecated features. To stay ahead of the curve, look for beta release announcements, which will give you the chance to test your themes and plugins against new versions of WooCommerce before they are publicly released.
WooCommerce is a popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress, with a bright future given its owners. As it continues its ascent skyward, staying up-to-date with the plugin’s development will enable you to develop quality solutions, and better serve your clients’ e-commerce needs.
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