WordPress is one of the most popular CMS in the world. It is an open-source and free solution with lots of ready-to-use plugins and features. Thanks to its numerous advantages, about 40% of all websites are built with WordPress.
And it is still the fastest growing CMS in the world. No wonder that plenty of businesses and individuals are using it. It helps to build a powerful online presence and create custom solutions and plugins for specific purposes. Here are just some of the international giants that use WordPress:
- Coca Cola;
- Wall Street Journal;
- The White House, etc.
It is also incredibly popular among small businesses and creators as free and standard features are enough for a start. But any company that is willing to grow needs a custom solution that can satisfy their business needs.
Challenges of Professional WordPress Plugin Development
Plugins are building blocks that ensure specific functionality to a website. For example, if one wants to sell products directly, they can install WooCommerce. And there are numerous plugins for marketing, finance, billing, security, etc. But any IT expert will state that existing solutions are not always perfect for any company.
Why? Well, because they are very general and broad to meet the interests of a wide audience. But if one needs a tailor-made solution that works exclusively for their strategies, goals, and needs, they need to develop custom WordPress plugins.
Yet, this is not as easy as it seems. Here are the common challenges developers and SRE teams may face in such development.
An expert site reliability engineer will always take a holistic approach to such a project. It requires understanding the system as a whole as well as its components. Because in other cases, there will be compatibility issues.
A new plugin needs to be compatible with other ones as well as WordPress itself. It requires the usage of appropriate PHP and WordPress core versions.
Compatibility also doesn’t only arise in the issues with coding and languages. It is also essential to make sure that different functions do not collide or overlap.
2. Function Names
The fact that it is such a popular and open-source platform comes with its pros and cons. On one hand, there are lots of third-party solutions, a great community, and many resources. But on the other one, choosing a function name for a plugin can be a tricky thing.
Developers always prefer to choose something simple and straightforward. But while working with WordPress, the simplest names have probably been taken. It is crucial to make sure that other plugins do not use the same function names.
The other serious concern is security. It is not only about functionality, a developer needs to work on the code with safety in mind. It is especially crucial when working with sensitive data and payment info. Any security breaches or errors might result in financial and reputational losses for a company.
Advanced engineers always use WordPress nonces as well as other relevant tools and practices.
4. Compliance with Guidelines
Although it is an open-source CMS available to the general public, there are official guidelines for developers to follow. It is important to develop a plugin in such a manner that it doesn’t contradict these guidelines. This requires deep knowledge of the platform and all its intricacies. Otherwise, a plugin can be not accepted into the repository, and money and time are lost.
Also, custom plugin development needs to have a consistent backend as well as a high level of responsiveness. It needs to be flexible enough so any updates and adjustments can be made easily. And, of course, there should be an in-built backup system. So how can a business achieve that? Well, the secret is in finding the right professionals for such a project.
Site Reliability Engineers
So who are site reliability engineers and how can they help with custom WordPress plugin development?
The term, as well as position, is relatively new – it was born in 2003 at Google. The main goal is to make websites more reliable, efficient, and easily scalable. The concept of site reliability engineering was later presented in a book and adopted by many companies, such as Netflix and Amazon.
Site reliability engineers (SRE) act as a bridge between the development and operation teams. They also use a software engineering approach to solving system administration issues. Such a team takes responsibility not only for performance, but also for latency, efficiency, monitoring, and response. Hiring such a team allows a holistic approach to the development and management of websites with the use of automation and best practices.
The common responsibilities of SRE professionals include:
- Building custom software to help development and operations team;
- Automation of repetitive and manual tasks;
- Fast response and fixing any support escalation issues;
- Optimization of all processes in software development projects;
- Maintaining documentation.
The SRE team is exactly the type of professionals to make sure none of the risks mentioned above take place. They are knowledgeable both of the CMS platform, coding practices, and the optimization and automation tools. They work with algorithms and data structures to achieve highly reliable plugins and websites.
As the cost for site reliability engineers differs from country to country, many companies decide to outsource their projects. It makes sense for businesses that do not have these projects as their core functionality. This way they get expert development at a reasonable price while focusing on the main business activity.
To make the WordPress platform fit one’s business needs like a glove, it is important to apply a high level of customization and develop suitable plugins. As this can be a tricky project for someone lacking knowledge, it is always better to hire an experienced SRE professional or a team. They make sure that the website is always at the maximum of its performance.