You never know what experiences will lead you down a path. This one lead me to develop my first software product: the WP Stripe Kit Lite Wordpress plugin and I had no intention of ever writing one.
Bad Code and Bad Support Spells Trouble
I was working with a client recently who wanted to integrate the Stripe payment platform into their WordPress website. What they experienced was costly trouble.
In locating help they found me from my Stripe PHP Developer Courses.
Initially their requirement appeared to be a simple item product purchase like an eBook and a monthly subscription to their printed newsletter.
They already had selected a few plugins available at the Wordpress plugins website. For most plugins they had to purchase the “pro” version to get the features they wanted. Often this involved uninstalling and reinstalling.
Plugin after plugin they tried created either erratic results, you know working and then not working, or they broke their WordPress theme, a theme that had a high user satisfaction record in the marketplace.
After analyzing each plugin I found bad programming practices as the cause for the problems. In fact, some of the plugin support pages admitted possible conflicts with other plugins and themes. Image that!
And it gets worse, some plugin developers were nowhere to be found getting back on support questions and often blaming their own users. I even sent the them code fixes they needed to implement to make their plugin more stable.
The Truth Will Set You Free
Often a you need to report the truth to a client and risk ending the engagement need.
Unfortunately I had to report to the client all the plugins they tried would not work with their WordPress site, a site they already put lots of hours into setting up.
At that point the engagement changed from helping them fix broken software to finding a solution. As it turned out by listening to their needs a more robust ecommerce plugin was needed and then they found one, installed it and tested it. Even it had a problem, but fortunately the plugin developer fixed it and provided fast support.
A Better Mouse Trap?
As I was working on the engagement I learned how WordPress plugins were built. I thought I should create a plugin like all those that had problems but with better software programming practices.
It started out as a learning exercise and quickly grew into a product.
This is my first effort at creating a software program that anyone could use. I was pretty nervous about the exposure and the whole process but managed to navigate through the tricky WordPress developer documentation to getting one approved and released.
I first went out to find the best practices for writing WordPress plugins and found plenty of information that apparently the plugins that failed my client were ignoring. I even improved on these best practices by adding one of my own called namespaces (programmers will understand what that means).
A Better Plugin World Perhaps
Hopefully WP Stripe Kit Lite will help those WordPress website owners who need to quickly integrate checkout buttons into their WordPress pages and posts for single item orders or recurring billing subscriptions.
Since it is open source, other plugin programmers may benefit from the best practices I put into place.
Where to go next?
Now I am hooked on developing for WordPress and begun looking at updating this plugin with more features ( I cut a lot out to get it released) and even started looking at building WordPress themes.