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How to Prevent Common WordPress Theme Mistakes

Have you been meaning to create a WordPress theme? Well, if you are then that is lovely. New themes are always welcomed and appreciated in the growing repository of WordPress themes. In fact, some people even perform rigorous WordPress theme customization and come with more innovative and creative designs than the original theme. These modifications are so intricate and high-level that one fails to identify that the base of the theme was already present on the internet.

There is a catch when you create WordPress themes. The odds of making irreversible mistakes (or hard-to-modify mistakes) are never in your favor. How much ever clean code and versatile functionality you add, the probability of a loophole is always high. Thus, one must perform rigorous checks and rechecks to avoid mistakes. Besides, as a theme creator, you do not want to lose your credibility, do you?

Here are few common mistakes that you must avoid, hook or by crook:

  •  Premature optimization

 Avoid optimizing code unless you are sure of its need and actual purpose. If you do, this leads to unnecessarily heavy and over-optimized code. For example – you may assign a value to a variable only because it is used twice or thrice in your code. This would lead to a negligible amount of saved time when the request is cached. In no way does this benefit you, in fact, it only burdens your theme’s code.

 If you hired a WordPress developer who has significant experience, then he/she would only perform such actions in case of database query storage or highly valuable functions.

  • Refrain from reinventing the wheel

 Coders often desire to beautify their code. They want to organize things to a level that may look visually appealing. But guess what? Only they see the code and this “visually-appealing” achievement only provides them satisfaction. The side effects are visible in the theme when you notice that there are two separate functions performing the exact same action.

 Remember, the main criteria that describes a good coder is the number of keystrokes per minute or per hour. Higher the number of keystrokes, the more evident an indication that the coder is taking lesser shortcuts. If you try to make your code extremely easy then when you realize after a year that there is some catch, it’s too late. Going through your entire code and identifying the root cause can be the worst nightmare of your theme-coding journey.

  • Stay up to date with WordPress practices

 WordPress has a lot of updates and modifications regarding theme creation that can seriously benefit theme creators. It would be wise to stay in the loop and be aware of the best practices. As a theme creator when you dig-deeper you will notice that WordPress has created several functions that are prioritized over otherwise complicated lines and snippets of code.

Even WordPress theme customizationfor already created themes is no joke. Stay on the top of their codex and analyze whether you can choose a better route for your theme requirements.

  • NEVER build your personalized framework

 It is inevitable to not face maintenanceissues, plugin territory problems, and a number of complex loopholes in your theme’s code – provided you have made the framework yourself. Every theme developer wishes to build a product with code that is 100% original, reusable, and performance-oriented. Upon completing your code you may think that you have done a good job.

 But sooner or later you will wish that you had chosen an alternative already-ready framework (Sage or Genesis). Remember that all theme developers will have to consistently nurture and make their framework adaptable to the ever-evolving functions and theme features. Even worse, you will have to update each of your themes from your /inc/me-framework directory before you release them.

 Consider using your coding expertise to build your own plugins that can customize the style of your themes. Last but not the least, if another coder needs to access your theme code they would have to study your entire framework. Guess what? Frameworks are generally undocumented. This rest is up to you!

  • Include maximum native WordPress functions

 WordPress has created a broad spectrum of WordPress functions to simplify the job of theme developers. In fact, this also helps 3rd party users who want to access your theme – either from a child theme or plugin.

Remember, WordPress theme development mistakes can cost you time that you do not have. Even if you do have the time, the amount of back and forth will turn you crazy and leave you wishing that you did things right the first time around. Consider reading up on experiences that other theme developers have gone through. If you can avoid a mishap then it is better to get an idea of how to do it.

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