Modular Web Development and You

Modular Web Development and You

Creating custom base theme is a great starting point, but there is still a long way to go to the finished project. You can use the same principals behind the base theme, however, and apply them to specific sections and functions of your website. Here at goBRANDgo!, after using the go!-Theme for a few weeks, it became apparent that we were coding the same types of functions on multiple sites.

By creating a library of commonly used chunks (we like to call them “modules”) of HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript, you can save yourself hours of re-researching, redeveloping and re-troubleshooting.

 So, whether it’s something simple like adding testimonials, recent posts, or a twitter feed, or something more complex like a javascript-sortable portfolio or a custom bio post type, we can harvest the code needed to create these functions and store them in PHP files for later use. These modules are kind of like plugins that you build specifically to fit your base theme. They can be as simple or as complicated as you want.

...organization is the name of the game.

…organization is the name of the game.

The idea behind Module development was the easy part…cataloging and documenting the the modules is the hard part. Like any information repository or library, organization is the name of the game. There are four things that are a must-have: the module name, description of the function of the code, the code itself, and instructions.

If you really want to make solid resource for team development, you will also want to include Author Name, Date Created, Date Update (if applies), a link to the wordpress codex that is associated with this function, and a link to any blogs or tutorials that helped you in developing this module the first time. This way, if someone comes in later they will not be walking in blind.

Finally, you’ll need a place to store your code snippets. We at goBRANDgo! are big believers in Google Docs. With a handy little Google Drive app called “Drive Editor,” you can create, store and share any type of code file: from HTML to PHP to JS.

Google Drive is searchable, and you can link back to it from anywhere on the web, so if your company has a wiki, you can create how-to posts and link out the the code snippets. This is great for onboarding, training, and development in general. And keeping all the files in one place allows easy updating.

Some might say that using the same modules may lead to less creative work, but I would say just the opposite. Not only are there a seemingly endless amount of module combinations, but the time you will save by not having to redevelop the same code over and over will allow you to add to that code and to continuously build on what you already know.

Do you use a code repository for anything? How do you feel about this method for systemizing creativity and custom-work? Let us know in the comments.

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