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WordPress development for the OOP Programmer

So what's the story?

WordPress is an excellent framework. It's secure, robust, extensible, and is fanatical about legacy support. What it's not, however, is strongly written using modern techniques. Please understand, that's not a sleight at the expense of the hard-working contributors. A lot of the code in WordPress was written years ago for versions of PHP that preceded the mass amounts of improvements made in PHP 5.3.x. The other side of it is that it's catered towards non-developers. That is, folks who want to make a website, and are willing to learn a little PHP, but have no intention of learning more than they need to for their site. And that's ok! But, for those who do want to develop in a stronger, more OOP manner, it can be a drag.

Enter WP Controllers!

The WP Controllers were developed by a developer for developers. It's an attempt to take the base objects in WordPress (posts, terms, users, etc.) and give a class for each one. Instead of memorizing a lot of obscure functions, you simply handle the object and use all its provided functions. Not only does it simplify things, but it also speeds up development. A lot.

Magic sucks

OK, magic is fun, but not when developing. At times something working, but not knowing why, can be just as frustrating as a bug. Gah! WordPress, unfortunately, in the name of being friendly for non-developers, does a lot of magic. For example, when inside "the loop" of a wp_query, you're meant to use all these crazy functions that iterate the loop, grab the post in the loop, display specific things based on the current iteration of the loop, etc.. Wow! What ever happened to a foreach loop!?

Ultimately, WordPress is a database-driven PHP framework. Nothing more, nothing less. The database is MySQL, and it operates using SQL. You can interact with the information like any other database, and the framework itself can be extended and amended like any other framework. No magic. The goal should be to be able to get all the benefits of the WordPress framework, without sacrificing the natural (and growing) capabilities of PHP and SQL.

In a nutshell

These classes make it possible to feel like you're working in PHP while enjoying all the benefits of WordPress. You lose nothing by using them, and it doesn't break anything in Wordpress. You're free to use as much or as little of these as you'd like. If you are (or aspire to be) a PHP developer, then you'll probably really like using this; if not, it may overwhelm you, and that's no problem.

How to use it

WP Controllers is a plugin, so just drop it in your plugins directory and activate it. From there you'll get access to all the base controllers.

To extend the controllers just create a wp-controllers/ directory in your root theme or plugin, and place your controllers in that directory. It is important that your naming convention for the controllers is that the name matches the file. So if your class name is Services then your file should be services.php.

Get a controller

Easy as that. Now, to get a controller (e.g. post), use the get_post_controller function. Simply pass a post id, slug, or object. Don't worry about type casting, it will figure itself out. Or, if you're inside a post single template (or page), just call

$Post = get_post_controller()

with no arguments and it will return the controller for the active post.

Use the controller

Once you have the controller, all the standard properties will be available minus the 'post_' prefix. So post_type, for example, would be

$Post->type

Meta is accessed via the Meta class, which is automatically added to every controller. You can retrieve single or all values and apply functions to the results

// Retrieves single meta
$Post->meta->sub_title

// All meta or empty array
$Post->meta->all_movies('all')

// The controllers for every value
$Post->meta->related_posts('controllers')
Familiarize yourself

The best thing to do from here would be to look through the controllers and check out the available functions. There's some pretty cool ones and they keep being added. For example,

$Post->terms($taxonomies)

returns all the term controllers for that post. Another one is

$Post->excerpt(50)

which would return either all the excerpt (if used and has actual content) or the first 50 (or however many you want) words of the content, with all the shortcodes and tags stripped.

Get Involved

Have an idea? Make a pull request!

Have a problem or question? Make an issue!

This isn't just to make WordPress more object-oriented, it's also to make development faster, less buggy, and more efficient. It's a fantastic way to fulfill the DRY principal.


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