Guide to Hiring a Freelance WordPress Developer Part II

5 Questions to Sort the Pros from the Con-Artists and Bodgers

1: Which Files of {Insert Theme or Plugin Name Here} Should you modify in order to {Insert Desired Result}

A developer should almost never resort to modifying the actual files of a plugin or theme, unless that plugin or theme is custom developed in the first place, or no longer supported by its developer(s). I have done 300 WordPress tasks in the past year, and in only 3 of those tasks I have modified the core files of a plugin or theme, and in all 3 of those cases I created an action hook or filter and had it added to the next release.

Too many developers are selling their services as professional but going around hacking and ripping at plugins and themes when there is no need to. So first, check to see if the plugin or theme you are customising is still supported, and if it is ask developers this question – if they come back with a filename or a list of such then the alarm bells should be a ringing. If you are looking to modify a theme then their answer should contain the words “child-theme” and if it is a plugin then you are looking for someone to extend the base plugin either in a new custom plugin or in a child theme’s functions.php if the changes are cosmetic in nature.

2: What is the difference between a filter and an action hook?

The answer: very little. In fact for any hook name In WordPress you can use either add_action or add_filter to attach your function. The vital difference is that filters usually require something to be returned, and usually if the right thing is not returned it will break the surrounding functionality.

3: What is the correct way to insert code into a core WP file in order to apply a needed fix

FTP

SSH

Or Other

The answer: You should never ever ever (and about a hundred more ever’s) edit the core files of WordPress. I have already said that editing the core files of plugins is a last resort, but there is never a good reason to modify the core files of a WordPress install. If the developer you asks come back with any answer but that then you should stay away from their services – stay far away.

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