Theme Customization VS Plugin Development!

Theme Customization VS Plugin Development!

A few years ago, WordPress’ popularity was limited to the blogger community. Later, as developers took an interest in the power of content management systems (CMS), WordPress became the go-to space for complex website creation.

Nowadays, we can develop any kind of website using WordPress. In fact, through continuous evaluation, WordPress came up with advanced plugin customization and themes to curate an indispensable website.

Today, over 30% of the websites are powered by WordPress due to its flexible and simple features. The unparalleled level of customization that WordPress provides helps a lot of developers by making their lives simple and easy.

In a developer’s journey, there are multiple junctures where they might have to choose one between the many options laid out in front of them. In one such case, a developer ponders over the choice between plugin development and theme customization. Both these choices are equally important and beneficial, but sometimes, a developer might have to choose just one.

Let’s take an example if you want to add a custom price to the checkout page based on some product quantity using dynamic calculation using the Woo-commerce plugin. Also, there is no plugin available which can fit your requirement. There are often two ways to achieve this functionality. You can either add the code in the activated theme or you can develop a new plugin that will have all the functions that you need.

Some developers think that adding the code in functions.php is easy and the right way to go. However, this is not true; you can also develop a plugin depending on your needs. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of Plugin Development functions.php file, and find which method is better.

Write Custom Code In functions.php File

Writing code in the theme’s functions.php file is always simple and easier to do when compared to developing your plugin. Some developers often use custom code in themes.

While this File can work as your plugin, but the bottom line remains that it is not a plugin.

We know that themes are mainly used for design, fonts, and layout. We can also use themes as some basic customization.

Let’s now discuss the advantages and disadvantages of adding code to functions.php file.

Benefits Of Adding Code To functions.php Or In Theme

Challenges Of Adding Code To functions.php Or In Theme

There are many ways you can customize the code into your site. However, it will never replace the WordPress Plugin. A plugin and adding code snippets to your functions.php file will have the same result on performance.

Plugin Development

There are many plugins available in WordPress to make a developer’s life easy. However, it is not possible to get plugins for some complex functionality. In such a case, we can develop our plugins.

Let’s take the above pricing customization example. For these kinds of requirements, you may write code in functions.php. However, if the functionality is complex, I would recommend developing your plugin.

Plugins can be used in any of the websites, whereas theme customization will work for the particular theme. The main benefit of developing the plugin is that you can always use the hooks to extend functionality to the plugins.

Benefits Of Developing Plugins

Challenges Of Developing Plugins


So, as we discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages above, we can get the idea of both features. If there are some theme-related changes like excerpt length change, image size, etc., you can use functions.php file to add the code.

On the other hand, if some complex customization needs to be added to your website, it is recommended to develop a plugin instead of writing code in the theme. It is easier to manage plugins instead of changing large files.

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