FooCamp – How to Make a WordPress Plugin Series

FooCamp – An Introduction

FooCamp - How to Make a WordPress Plugin

FooCamp – How to Make a WordPress Plugin

Is this just another WordPress plugin tutorial? No way. There are plenty tutorials and blog series out there, but this will be different.

A few days ago, I was wanting to teach our support guru Matt Cromwell how to write his own WordPress plugin. So instead of just sending him a list of things to do and read, I thought it would be a really cool idea to blog about it. In that way, everyone can learn along the way (including me).

And so FooCamp Plugin School was born! Who knows, maybe when we are done, we can write a book about the whole experience :) Or Not!

Matt will also be blogging about his plugin building experience from the builder’s perspective on his site. We will be coordinating the publish dates of these two series to make it more of a “cause and effect” series. We highly recommend you follow along here and at Matt’s site.

What Will FooCamp Plugin School Cover?

That’s the beauty of this series, I have no idea really!

Obviously, I will start with the basics and build momentum at a pace that Matt (and you, the readers) can cope with. If something important comes up along the way, then I might focus an entire post on a specific subject. If something is not explained correctly, then I will update the post with more detail. If something is common knowledge, then I will simply link out to better posts on the subject.

One thing I do not want to do is reinvent the wheel here.

What I Want From FooCamp Plugin School

I want this series to be a source of excellent learning content about WordPress plugins. I want you to learn how to do things the right way, and at the same time, I want you to know why some other ways (even though they will sometimes work) are not so good.

Learning By Example

The reason we came up with FooCamp Plugin School in the first place was a need for a specific plugin. Matt and I will be building that plugin as we go through this series. The code examples we use will come directly out of that plugin, which we will be posting on our FooPlugins Github repo.

What is the plugin you may ask? A complete product documentation solution, that we will be using ourselves on

FooCamp Plugin School Terms And Conditions

These posts will be from my own personal experience, so they might not work for everyone. You might not agree with some of my chosen design patterns, or even the tools I use. That is fine, each to their own, but this is the way I do things after fumbling around with code for more than 15 years professionally.

These posts will also be strongly opinionated. For example, I believe that writing plugins without a class and just prefixing your function names is a very bad practice! More about that in a later post.

You will also need to read up on certain things that I will refer to along the way. For example, GIT, PHP and obviously the WordPress core.

What You Must Do

Ask questions!

If something is not clear, please leave a comment. If I am being stupid, and there is a smarter way to do things, please leave a comment.

After all, this is a learning experience for everyone, and as developers, we should be constantly improving ourselves. Also, if the comment will add value to the discussion, I will update the post to include it, and add in my own 2 cents if needed.

What’s Next?

Let’s start at the beginning. Do not even write a single line of code yet. Let’s look at your environment, your source control and some prerequisite reading. That will be my next post.

Happy Learning!

FooCamp Series Subscription

Follow along with our FooCamp Blog Series. This subscription only applies to posts in this series, not all posts on our site.
This post was written by
Brad is the co-founder and head code wrangler at By day he writes code until his fingers ache, by night he writes code until his eyes bleed. He has no life. His life is code. Geez, what a loser ;)

14 Comments on "FooCamp – How to Make a WordPress Plugin Series"

  • OMG! Great idea. Thanks so much, this is gonna be a very helpful resource. I’m really excited!

    • Thanks so much, the whole team here is really looking forward to learning too:)

  • Looking forward to the series. You have competition for the name though:

    Foo Camp is the father of all unconference camps.

    • Hi Jason, yeah we only learned of that earlier today:( Oh well, FooCamp isn’t a term we’re targeting though so I think we’ll be ok for now;)

  • Awesome! I’ve had ideas for simple plugins but didn’t know where to start so this will be great. Thanks!

    • Hi Courtenay, you’re quite welcome! It is our intention to take this step by step and answer all comments and questions along the way. When you finish your plugin, be sure to let us know about it:)

  • Excellent. Looking forward to the series.

  • Now I know why Matt was asking about how to set up git / version control in our favorite Facebook Group, Advanced WordPress (shameless plug). Can’t wait to see the result of your efforts!

    • Hey Ansel! Actually, that was totally unrelated, but I knew it would come in handy for other stuff as well.

  • from a technophobe… whats a plug in and what does it do??

    • Hi Jayne, plugins are basically pieces of code that enable WordPress to do more than it comes with out of the box. When you visit a WordPress site that has a slider on the homepage, or a sidebar that collects your email for a newsletter, or even has robust SEO techniques, those are all (most likely) plugins. Thanks for chiming in, hope this series is helpful for you.


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