An Introduction to the WordPress PHP Coding Standards

An Introduction to the WordPress PHP Coding Standards • WPShout

Coding makes you follow rules – every language has its own syntax to which you have to adhere if you want your code to compile or run.
But there is another set of rules, that while isn’t essential for the actual running the code, helps in peripheral parts of coding. These rules are called Coding Standards.

Coding standards are recommended conventions for writing code. Every language has its own, and WordPress, as a system, has its own version for each of the languages used to build it. WordPress has coding standards for PHP, Accessibility, CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

This article will focus on the PHP coding standards. Before we dive into the coding standards, you might want to brush up on the PHP language through the PHP for Beginners tutorial, The Essential WordPress Tutorial for PHP Developers, or specifically Understanding PHP’s echo.

Why Follow the WordPress Coding Standards

You might be asking yourself: why would I want to commit to a whole set of new rules that aren’t absolutely needed for writing working code on WordPress. Well, that’s a great question, and one that The WordPress Coding Standards documentation has answered in its introduction:

Coding standards help avoid common coding errors, improve the readability of code, and simplify modification. They ensure that files within the project appear as if they were created by a single person. Following the standards means anyone will be able to understand a section of code and modify it, if needed, without regard to when it was written or by whom. If you are planning to contribute to WordPress core, you need to familiarize yourself with these standards, as any code you submit will need to comply with them.

The WordPress Coding Standards documentation

The Logic Behind the Rules

In this article, we’ll look at some of the coding standards, and try to understand what problem they’re trying to solve, i.e., what the motivation is behind those rules.
The categories of motivations that appear in this article are:

Error Prevention

When writing code, we want our habits to keep us away from errors as much as possible. The following rules help in that.

  • Brace Style – The most important convention regarding Braces is that they should always be used, even when they are not required. This is in order that if in the future code is added to the statement that is executed in the case of the condition, you won’t have to remember to add braces around the whole statement – the braces will already be there, and all you have to do is add your code inside them.
  • Remove Trailing Spaces – As per the PHP docs, “If a file contains only PHP code, it is preferable to omit the PHP closing tag at the end of the file. This prevents accidental whitespace or new lines being added after the PHP closing tag, which

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This article was written by Lea Cohen and originally published on WPShout.

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