The core WordPress software has all the right features in place to deliver basic content management system functionality. Typically, when you need access to advanced features, you go looking for plugins since they are the best way to extend the basic functionality.
From a coding standpoint, the main reason why WordPress can be extended in the first place has a lot to do with hooks. Hooks are a design pattern that allows developers to build upon existing code and are spread all over the source code.
If you’re working on a WordPress plugin (or even a theme for that matter), you may want to make it easy for yourself or others to extend the existing functionality later on. Or you may just want to leverage WordPress’ event-driven architecture. For this reason, we’ve assembled this code snippet generator that helps developers create custom hooks for their WordPress plugins or themes.
What Is the WordPress Hooks API?
Have you ever opened up a plugin’s files and found a snippet of code wrapped in the apply_filters() or do_action() functions? Those are hooks, and they’re found in WordPress’ core files, plugins, and themes. Hooks let you attach additional functions to a segment of code so that they are pulled in from the outside instead of being placed (over and over again) inline. This makes it easy for users to execute custom functions from within the core files without altering them.
Hooks are provided by WordPress to allow your plugin to “hook into” the rest of WordPress; that is, to call functions in your plugin at specific times, and thereby set your plugin in motion. – WordPress Codex
Since you’re not making changes to your site’s core files, hooks allow you to future-proof your site. The changes you make won’t be overwritten whenever a new update rolls out. Any customizations you make will survive the upgrade given that your hooks aren’t deprecated. In this sense, WordPress hooks are similar to APIs in that they give you a framework to work with.
What Are Hooks: Filters and Actions?
Hooks are essentially the events that take place during execution. There are two main types of hooks:
- Action Hooks. Actions simply add some code to the function they’re hooked into.
- Filter Hooks. Filters take arguments from the code, modify them, and then return the altered parameter back to its predecessor.
For some tasks, using either action hooks and filter hooks will give you the same results. They key difference between the two is that action hooks don’t have to return a value, while filter hooks are required to do so. Additionally, when an action is hooked to a placeholder, that action is executed in addition to any functions that may already be present there. On the other hand, filter hooks are used to modify existing functionality.
In terms of implementation, action hooks can modify the database data, alter the front-end page that’s sent to a browser, or send an email message. Filter hooks are able to modify code that is passed between the database and the browser.
How Do I Use This WordPress Custom Hooks Snippet Generator Tool?
This custom hooks code snippet generator tool is designed to help developers make plugins and themes easily extendable for themselves and other users. To use this tool, all you have to do is enter the required arguments in the tabbed sections and let the tool compile it together into a fully-functional, custom code.
Let’s go over the individual fields one at a time:
- Theme Slug: The theme’s slug should be in all lowercase letters, numbers, and/or underscores. It’s used to prefix any functions or variables that could potentially cause incompatibility issues with the WordPress core, themes, or plugins. In most cases, the theme slug is the same string as the text domain, with underscores replacing hyphens.
- Text Domain: The text domain is a unique key that will be used to identify translatable strings in your theme or plugin. It should be the same string as your theme’s name in all lowercase letters, numbers, and/or hyphens. Typically, the text domain matches the theme’s directory name in your site’s root directory.
- Hook Type: Select the type of hook you want to create: action or filter. If you want your hook to return a modified value, then select filter hook. If not, go with the action hook.
- Hook Name/Slug: Enter a descriptive name for your hook here in all lowercase letters, numbers, and/or underscores. The hook slug will be used to prefix functions and variables to avoid incompatibility with the WordPress core or any installed themes or plugins.
- WordPress Hook Target: This value represents the name of the function where the custom code should be executed.
- Priority: Enter a value between 1 and 999 (1 being highest priority and 999 being lowest priority). If a number of functions are hooked to the same placeholder, the priority will determine the order in which the code is executed. The default value is 10.
- Number of Arguments: This value determines the number of parameters passed by any function. The default value is 1.
- Accepted Arguments: This denotes the arguments supplied to the functions that are hooked to the hook target.
PHP Function Tab
- Code: Enter the custom code that you’d like to have executed when the hook is encountered. The code should be in PHP.
- Once you’ve entered all the fields, head over to the Code tab. You’ll see that the Your Custom Hook area is populated with custom code snippets for adding a custom hook to your WordPress site.
How Do I Add the Code Snippets to My Website?
The quickest way to add the generated code snippets to your site is by pasting them directly into your current theme’s functions.php file. You can edit it directly by navigating to Appearance > Editor from the WordPress admin panel.
Alternatively, you can download the theme’s functions.php file to your desktop via an FTP client. Next, open it up in a text editor and paste the code at the bottom of the file. Hit the Save button and re-upload it to your theme’s directory.
WordPress is open source software and one of the best ways to extend it is through the use of plugins. Making it easy for developers to build on your work using hooks promotes customizability and makes your solution more flexible. We hope that this code snippet generator helps you create custom hooks – both action hooks and filter hooks – without having to code them by hand.
Do you have any questions about the Custom Hooks code snippet generator tool? Let us know in the comments section below!