In WordPress communities, whenever someone asks for something that relates to adding functionalities and design to a website, there’s always gonna be someone saying “there’s a plugin for that”.
Whether it is through generating dynamic content, creating automatic backups, managing SEO or making drag and drop page builders, WordPress plugins shaped a significant portion of the web development industry.
WordPress plugins come in many forms, whether for security, design or content, “there’s a plugin for that”. Other types of plugins can be “addons” that expands upon an existing plugin. Such as in the case of Elementor, which currently have 700+ plugins available in the WordPress repository alone.
As such, we contacted our partner Jeffrey Carandang, developer of WidgetOptions, EditorsKit, and CoBlocks which got recently sold to the hosting giant GoDaddy, and asked him some interesting questions regarding WordPress plugin development.
We started our roundup interview with the most obvious one:
What drove you to develop WordPress plugins?
I discovered WordPress in 2010 when I was still in college. I created a few websites back then when I worked as a freelancer. After finishing college, I got into a full-time job. I became a backend developer, converting HTML to WordPress for a real estate company. For every website I had to make, I had employed the same set of tasks until I thought of creating code snippets to ease my workload. It turned out great, as it got me into plugin development — I ended up having a lot of free time which I used for research and some other things.
So, mostly for Jeffrey, plugin development started for him as a way to improve his daily repetitive work. Most WordPress plugins will give you that benefit; improve the existing features of WordPress, and add features that currently don’t exist.
Any major roadblocks you’ve encountered along the way?
At first, there are lots of walls to overcome when pursuing plugin development back in the early WordPress days. Several actions and hooks were not documented and even unavailable yet. You had to do several hacks in order to gain access to some processes.
Jeffrey’s answer is very relatable. The earlier days of any software will have those drawbacks, such as in Webflow.
What inspired you to make Widget Options and CoBlocks?
Let’s first talk about what inspired me with Widget Options. I believe it started when widget was the star in terms of theming. It’s such a wonderful experience back then to use widgets when it comes to website elements. And there were limitations on the free plugins available to control widgets back then, so I decided to create one and added the features I needed — pretty much scratching my own itch at that time.
With CoBlocks, it’s a different story. It started when I was trying Gutenberg out with another plugin, which is now rebranded to EditorsKit. I thought of an idea that I believe nobody thought or at least was doing at that time. I created something that I could use as a demo; then, I reached out to Rich Tabor, who was also active in Gutenberg development back then. I asked him on what he thought about my idea, and we hit it off right at the bat. I sent him what I did; then, we worked it out and laid out the features we needed. We actually developed it as another plugin but decided to merge with his CoBlocks plugin to get the advantage of the existing plugin users.
CoBlock’s history turned out to be interesting. Most plugins probably have the same history, where the original idea got lost as more people interact with the plugin and add features.
After asking some questions regarding the past, we then asked Jeffrey about the future.
What do you think of the future of Elementor?
I’m probably one of the few developers who do plugin integration with Elementor. I still recall asking for some documentation in the early days. Elementor was great back then and it’s still is, and evolving right now. I think it’ll still have a huge chunk of WordPress users in the Gutenberg world.
What do you think of Gutenberg?
As you might know already, I’m a Gutenberg fan. Not a fan-fan but technology advancement fan when it comes to WordPress. I believe Gutenberg pushed boundaries and gave us a way to move forward to the modern web. I’ve been extending Gutenberg since 2017, and it’s pretty impressive and has come a long way now.
Do you foresee any plugins that will dominate the market sometime in the future?
I think Gutenberg plugins will continue to rise because the new block editor is improving quite a lot. This is also the main reason I’ve created EditorsKit — to be able to continue to grow it alongside the changes in WordPress.
Before ending the chat, we decided to ask him about some tips for plugin development, since that’s one of the ventures we’re considering here at Elementor Resources.
What are your tips for aspiring plugin developers?
Jeffrey is truly an amazing developer. Not only he carved his name as the 120th author in Envato, but he also passionately contributed free plugins for the WordPress Community to use.
Thanks for making this far! 🙂
Let us know what you think about this article in the comments section below 🙂