I’ve put together a quick survey/bunch of questions about how people use WordPress (from a plugin/theme/management perspective). I would greatly appreciate anyone who took the time to fill out the survey so I can use the results in an upcoming iThemes Training class along with some future focused writing/work. Thanks.
The moment you start digging the tiniest bit under the surface of WordPress in your attempt to either tweak your website or create a theme or plugin, you will come face-to-face with WordPress action hooks. The common question among people who are going deeper with WordPress is what are action hooks and how do I use them? So this post will answer those two questions, plus give you a boost up in your WordPress development pursuits.
What are WordPress Action Hooks?
At the very basic level, action hooks are placeholders. They are specific locations in your WordPress theme that allow functions/code/etc to hook into. The most basic examples of a action hooks, that normally exists in every single WordPress site, are the
wp_footer action hooks. Both of these are placeholders that are located at… (you guessed it)… inside the header of the theme and in the footer of the theme. Typical uses of these two action hooks are to place analytic tracking codes or to add some additional CSS files to a WordPress page.
In a nutshell, an action hook is a predefined place on your site left open by the developer of the site where the user/developer can insert specific code to expand the capability of the site.
How do you use an Action Hook?
Let’s use an example of adding some additional meta tag descriptions to the
section of our WordPress site. Because an action hook is just a placeholder, we need to create a function, a piece of code that will run in that action hook location. Our sample function will add a meta tag description to our WordPress site.
If you are like me and you use Panic’s Coda as your main IDE for all your WordPress-based development. You are really missing out if you haven’t added the following functionality to your Coda installation. Once you install the syntax file you will have the benefit of “auto-complete” while you are working with your WordPress-based files.
It’s very easy to install, you just need to do three things:
- First download the syntax file from HitchHackerGuide, and then unzip the file.
- Copy the unzipped folder (PHP-HTML-WP.mode) to the Coda Modes folder. ~/Library/Application Support/Coda/Modes/ (If your computer doesn’t have this folder, you can simple create it.)
- Now go the the Preferences of Coda and change the “Default File Type” to PHP-HTML-WP. And now you are good to go.