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Looking to build a WordPress plugin or theme? Keep in mind that successful plugin and theme development includes some trial and error. Even the most experienced developers occasionally mess up their code, and even though it’s impossible to avoid mistakes altogether, there are some common errors you can easily avoid. To help you out, I’ve gathered nine common mistakes to avoid when developing your WordPress plugin or theme.

Mistake #1: Sacrificing quality in favor of quick solutions
Some developers try to find a shortcut when developing a small plugin or theme. They code inconsistently and try to find the easiest and fastest solutions.
However, the truth is that there is no easy way to develop an advanced, well-functioning plugin or theme. Some plugins and themes can be developed relatively fast and easy. For example, it won’t take a lot of time to develop a plugin that hides all admin notices or a plugin that injects a JavaScript snippet. However, when it comes to more complex plugins or themes, “cheating” or copying can result in poor functionality, as well as cause various errors and performance flaws.
It’s crucial to follow the best practices of organized coding even if you’re just building a plugin/theme prototype. Remember, many of the most popular products started as prototypes. If you go with a “quick & dirty” approach, you’ll start accumulating technical debt from day one.
Developing clean, well-written, and optimized code will increase your development time by 10-30%, but it’s definitely worth it for the long run. At the end of the day, you’ll get a maintainable, well-performing, and functional plugin or theme.
Mistake #2: Failing to track code changes
Failing to track code changes is another common mistake all WordPress developers should avoid. All themes and plugins should be managed under version control, regardless if you are the only developer of the project or not.

All themes and plugins should be managed under version control, regardless if you are the only developer of the project or not.Tweet

Version control systems help you by recording and keeping track of all changes. This allows you and other developers to work on the same project as a theme or plugin develops further. Also, version control systems, like Git, register all changes done by each of the developers, which is particularly convenient when working on a large project. If you choose to use Git, I recommend using GitFlow as a healthy branching workflow for release management.
Mistake #3: Failing to use namespaces
Namespaces are useful if you need to create separate regions for groups of variables, classes, and functions. This prevents plugin conflicts that were present before versions PHP 5.6 and higher that could not be controlled using namespaces.
Here is an example of a source code that illustrates the namespace called geometry for JavaScript. This definition of a package allows a way of differentiating the class Circle from other classes that could be defined by other programmers.

namespace Geometry;

class Circle {
private $radius;

public circle($r) {
$radius = $r;

public get_radius() {
return $radius;

public get_area() {
return pi() * $radius * $radius;

Mistake #4: Not utilizing WordPress nonces
Following modern security practices is just as important as ensuring the functionality of your plugin or theme. WordPress uses nonces to provide some level of protection to validate the authenticity of requests. Nonces are particularly useful in preventing Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks.
To create a nonce, use the following function.
$nonce= wp_create_nonce( ‘name’);
Check out this WordPress code reference if you’re not familiar with nonces.

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