A Free WordPress Development course – Part 1

Want to Learn WordPress?  There is no need to pay for a course that you may not ever finish it. You can level up your WordPress development skills for free. How? By watching some of the really great developers and designers of WordPress and by reading great examples of WordPress code. This isn’t a great intro if you don’t know code at all, but you will get better with code from this course. So, here are 30 hours of lessons for you.  That’s about equal to a 2 credit course in many colleges.

This is a Survey Course. All of the topics are things that an intermediate WordPress developer must know and a beginning WordPress developer should know/be learning.

Here are the first 10 hours of your course with the next 20 coming in the next few weeks:

Hour 1

Your first task is to watch this talk where Tracy introduces the Template Hierarchy, The Loop, Hooks and more.

Now that Tracy has laid out some of the concepts you need to know, you might feel overwhelmed.  To end our first hour, Beth and Courtney will help inspire you while also giving you some of the resources you need in order to be confident.

Hour 2

Moving away from things that are directly related to WordPress, Lauren introduces the command line.  It’s something that doesn’t need to be scary.  Don’t think of yourself as a designer?  Don’t let the title of the talk scare you away.

Continuing the second hour, Jeremy introduces Vagrant, a tool for local development.  Jeremy is the lead on Varying Vagrant Vagrants.  You have 10 minutes remaining for this hour, so go check out VVV.  Your homework is to get it started.

Hour 3

This hour, we are going to start looking at some of the functions inside WordPress.

Erick goes through how a URL becomes a WordPress page.  This is a quick intro to a complex topic.

The Loop was introduced in hour 1, but now Mitcho is going to go in depth with it.

Kailey points out some amazing WordPress functions that might come in handy.

For the final 20 minutes of this hour, it is time to read some code.  The current default WordPress theme is Twenty Sixteen. Spend 20 minutes looking through its code.

Hour 4

For the next two hours, the focus is going to be on some of the underlying architecture of the web and the instructor is going to be Zack Tollman.

Browsers need to talk to servers in order to show web pages and Zack introduces HTTP/2 to you in this talk.  HTTP/2 is the future of how it works.

Hour 5

Continuing the look at how browsers and servers communicate, During this hour, Zack explains how it happens securely by explaining HTTPS.

Hour 6

Security! Both of these talks are by members of the WordPress core security team.

Hour 7

One of the APIs in WordPress that can be incredibly handy is the Widgets API.  Let’s spend this hour reading about the WordPress Widgets API.

Hour 8

During this hour, the goal is to understand more APIs  that exist in WordPress. Two important ones that will be used in an upcoming code project are the Transients API and the HTTP API.

The plugin developer handbook section on the HTTP API is also a valuable resource, so for the rest of this hour, you should read it.

Hour 9

It’s important to know how to store your code, so let’s learn about Git, a version control system.

To start, Github has an excellent interactive tutorial for git.

You should also read through this git intro and browse the basics section of the git documentation.

Hour 10

Let’s spend this hour coding. Here is your assignment:  Create a WordPress Plugin that adds a Fuck Off As a Service widget. You’ll likely want to use the Widgets API, Cache API, and HTTP API explored earlier. And don’t forget Security.  Here are some requirements for you:

  • It should be possible to add multiple widgets.
  • It should be possible to specify both a “from” and a “to”
  • It should get the data from Fuck Off As a Service as JSON.

What’s Coming

There are a lot of topics I want to cover. Some of them that you should expect to see are: Sass, how to understand WordPress core, JavaScript, User Experience, caching, performance, WP-Cli, Heartbeat API, REST API and users/roles/capabilities.

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