Part II: Designing and Developing WordPress Themes in Java

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Part II: Designing and Developing WordPress Themes
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WordPress, or after it has finished loading. Plugin developers use these all the time, and I d imagine that any of the Web statistics plugins utilizing Google Analytics, pMetrics, Woopra, or whatever hook on to the wp_footer action hook and add their tracking code at the very end. That makes sense, since that particular tracking code usually should go just before the closing of the body tag, and that in turn is exactly where wp_footer should be if the theme is properly designed. You can add your own hooks as well, which is the primary way theme framework designers use them. They basically add a number of hooks to various parts of the theme, and then let the user or child theme developer alter the looks by hooking onto them. This can be anything from populating a menu or advert spot with proper coding, to actually removing elements from the design. In a sense, it is a good way to make a very complete design, and then let the users decide which parts of it should be used. Add an admin options page that does this for you, and you don t have to worry about hacking functions.php as a user, as naturally that s where all the action is. I tend to lean the other way, though. While it may be tempting to just add everything imaginable and then have the users check or uncheck boxes to decide what should be displayed, I find it is bloating the theme. In my opinion, a good framework is something to build on, not to cut away from. It is not a tree waiting to be made into a chair, it is a chair being used to reach the top shelf. Or something like that. Either way, with action hooks you can add functionality, either by adding your own (we ll get to that in a little bit), or by freeloading the WordPress ones. There are a lot of piggyback possibilities within WordPress, way too many to list here, so I ll just point you to the (hopefully up-to-date) Action Reference page in the WordPress Codex: codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/ Action_Reference.
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If you want to hook onto one of WordPress s action hooks, say by adding some Web statistics code to the wp_footer hook, you do it in functions.php. What you need to do is write a PHP function containing the stuff you want to add, and then you add it to the hook. Let s start with the function. The analytics code is just nonsense, so if you want to use this particular hook you should, of course, swap the code for your own. After all, even if I did put mine in it would just mess up things, now wouldn t it
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< php function my_webstats() { > <script for your web statistics tracker /> < php } >
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This gives you the my_webstats() function to use, loaded with the (obviously faulty) script tag. This is what you want to hook onto wp_footer. Notice how I cut the PHP tag to make it easier to manage the HTML. You do that by using the add_action function, and it should go before the actual function:
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6: Advanced Theme Usage
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add_action('wp_footer', 'my_webstats');
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You re telling add_action that you want to add to wp_footer (first parameter), and then you tell it to add the function my_webstats, which you define below. The full code would be like this, in your functions.php file:
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< php add_action('wp_footer', 'my_webstats'); function my_webstats() { > <script code for your web statistics tracker /> < php } >
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That would add the script at the end of your theme when loaded. Some excellent WordPress hookery right there.
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Creating Your Own Action Hooks
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Creating your own action hooks is easy. First, you just create your PHP function like you did before. It can be anything, really: a simple echo, or something way more advanced. The only difference between creating and using your own action hooks, compared to the built-in ones, is that you need to add them to your theme. Remember, wp_head and wp_footer already sit there, so no need to add them, but your brand-new action hook won t be so lucky. The code for adding action hooks is simple:
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