Developer’s Guide: How to Contribute to WordPress Core

January 22, 2019 8:39 am 0

WordPress being an open source project enables anyone to contribute to it. If you are a developer or an enthusiast who is looking to contribute to the WordPress core, you are in the right place.

WordPress core contribute

In this article, we will be explaining the basic know-how on how to go around the WordPress source code and make a proper contribution to the core. If you do not know about coding or WordPress in general, then this article is not useful for you as it is mainly directed towards the PHP developer who has a basic understanding of WordPress.

Contributing to WordPress core is not as difficult as you might think. If you follow the guide, you will be equipped with enough knowledge to do a contribution. So without any delay, let’s get started.

Reading some manuals

Finding your first ticket is the right step, but you will feel stuck if you don’t know where to go from there. That’s why we recommend going through the following reading material before starting to solve any problem.

  • Core Contributor Handbook: The handbook can help you understand the core idea behind contribution. It covers PHP coding standards, contribution through the code, testing, docs, best practices, guides, and tutorials.
  • Learning about bug tracker: Bug tracker is where you will spend most of the time. We recommend learning about bug tracker and ensure that you can integrate it in the flow easily. This is where you can also learn about the terminology that is required to operate smoothly.

It is similar to a learner who is learning how to set up a blog. Reading is essential to learning. and that’s why we hope you read before moving into the next section of the guide.

Finding problems to solve

Now that you have some knowledge behind your back, it is time to find problems to solve. You can do it in many ways. Let’s go through them one by one.

Finding tickets

The first step that you need to take is to find tickets. Tickets hold the key to learn about the WordPress core and enable you as a developer to take on small challenges.

So, where do you start? You can start using the “Good First Bugs.” It is a curated list where you can find the tickets that are ideal for new developers who are looking to contribute to WordPress.

Great, you are now there. But which bugs you should pick up? Now, you need to check for the “unclaimed” ones. These means that the bugs or the issues are not yet picked up, and it is your chance to pick it up. You may also want to search out for the keyword, “good-first-bug.” These keywords are an indication that the problems are more accessible to solve and can be taken up by a newbie.

No patch/Needs patch

Another place you can search for things to do is the “Needs patch but has none” section. This is where you will great tickets to work on. Most of the tickets here need patch or improvement to a patch. You might have to work on an entirely new patch if you see the old patch broken.

Here you will also find the “Next Release” sub-section which list the important or more highly valued issues. If you can solve them, you will get the chance to get into highlight faster than solving other problems. It is because the problems listed here are scheduled to be released in the next release of the core WordPress. By solving the issue, you will come into the radar and gain more exposure as they are reviewed earlier compared to other tickets listed on the same page. If your solution is accepted, your name will be listed in the WordPress Core weekly posts. This can act as a great motivator and will encourage you to solve more tickets in the future.

Testing

Contributing to the core WordPress is just not about writing patches or solving a ticket. It is also about testing. Testing is an important part of software development and this is also true. Without testing, none of the features or modules will be ready to release to the public. If you are a testing person, then we recommend checking out their unit tests section.

Similar to the “Need Patch” section, it also consists of “Next Release” and “Future Release” categories. If you feel you want to make the most impact, choose any ticket from the “Next Release,” and you are good to go.

Other places to check

You can check other places such as Bug Reports to know more about tickets and handle them there.

Working in a local environment

Even though many novice developers use web hosting for their testing purposes, it is not a good idea as you will not be able to control the environment completely. It doesn’t matter how many web hosting reviews you read and try to find the best one for testing, nothing beats a local environment.

To set up a development site, you need to download the source, build WordPress, configure your local site, and experiment with it. If you can set it up correctly, you can run unit tests, do development, apply a patch and so on. The local environment can quickly become your playing ground and help you understand the complexities of WordPress Core. The rule here is to develop and test continuously and not settle for anything mediocre.

Once you develop a patch, you can submit the patch through WordPess.org and wait for the review. If your patch or solution is good enough, it will be accepted. If it doesn’t, don’t lose hope as you can always rework on your patch or try to solve other tickets.

Endnote

Becoming a core WordPress contributor is not an easy task. That’s why you need to get involved in many levels including communicating with live chats, be part of the slack team, forums, and so on. So, what do you think about contributing to WordPress core? Are you going to start soon? If you do, comment below and let us know. We are listening.

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