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[How To] Use “Action Hooks” to Customize your WordPress Theme

(Last Updated On: April 16, 2013)

When you expect your website to look and feel great, you must consider incorporating a theme that will best suit the purpose of your website. WordPress theme is an essential component that not only determines, but also defines the look and feel of your website.

With the popularity of WordPress, WordPress theme development has also become popular and developers are putting great efforts to make it a profitable business. In fact, all the WordPress developers must ensure they know how to customise the themes, if not build a quality one.

customizing action hooks in wordpress themes
customizing action hooks in wordpress themes

Image Credit : http://creativedev.in

There are ample of premium WordPress themes for professionals in the market which have in-built features and elements that define the functionality of the website. However, what we need is to be able to make these themes customisable and extendable, so that they stand out from the crowd.

This is when “Action Hooks” comes into picture. They provide an amazing mode to extend WordPress themes. This article is a short tutorial on how to effectively use Action Hooks.

What Action Hooks Do?

Designers and developers put in great effort to build WordPress themes. For a matter of fact, even you may think that you are capable enough of designing a perfect theme. Although you include all the necessary features, some people may still want your theme to have additional capabilities and certain modifications to the design, before they actually use it to their website.

Suppose that you like most of the features and design of a WordPress theme but don’t really like the bold social networking menu. You would rather prefer to use your own design for that particular section. Every user, similarly, will have his own set of requirements.

There is such theme developed which can completely satisfy the user. So, you need to adapt and extend the themes to build a unique design, which act as an add on for the basic design and feature. Action Hooks make the entire process of extending and adapting theme simple. It helps you in removing the existing components and making additions as required. An experienced WorePress developer can easily customise the existing features using Action Hooks, just by modifying and adding custom codes using plugins.

Indispensable Action Hooks

It is totally the choice of the developer to decide whether to opt for Action Hooks or not. If you decide to go with Action Hooks, you can choose from three different hooks, which are built into almost all the themes. Almost any WordPress theme would be substantially restricted without these hooks:

  • · wp_head

Allows plugin developers to add their own scripts, styles and necessary information in the heading.

  • · wp_footer

Allows plugin developers to add scripts, styles and necessary display information just before the closing body tag of the HTML document.

  • · comment_form

Allows plugin developers to modify the design and fields of existing comment form for posts and pages.

Building Custom Action Hooks

The true capability of the Action Hooks comes with developing custom hooks because you can determine and specify any number of custom hooks anywhere in the theme.
To develop your own custom Action Hooks specific to the theme, you will first have to consider the following code.

Most of the websites today, have section on their websites, where they post blogs and articles about the product and service offerings to attract readers. In fact, most websites do this to market their products too. Various articles related to the product are posted on the blog section and you will also often notice promotional ads placed just after the title. These scenarios all you to use the preceding code to implement the feature required for your WordPress website.

The add_action function allows a custom action as well as function name which is unique to the application. You can then add the do_action after the title of the post for displaying the promotion ad like in the below code.

When you have Actions Hooks in important positions, it helps the plugin developers to swiftly add the custom features minus getting into details of the core theme codes.

Single Action Hooks – Multiple Execution

After you custom action hook is significantly defined and made public, it can be implemented by any developer using several plugins. If there are two or more In situations where more than two developers implement the same hook in their plugins, priority of the actions are of prime concern.

Consider the following code where two plugins implement the same action.

<?php
function wpr1_after_post_title() {
// Plugin 1
}
add_action(‘wpr_after_post_title’,’wpr1_after_post_title’);
function wpr2_after_post_title() {
// Plugin 2
}
add_action(‘wpr_after_post_title’,’wpr2_after_post_title’);
?>

In such scenarios, it is better to prioritise your Action Hooks with values so that precedence of other actions can be adjusted accordingly.
You can feel free to comment on the post if you have anything additional to share, or if you think anything significant has been missed out in the post.

About the Author

Jack Sutton works with VITEB – an wordpress development Company offering services in London and all across UK.His passion for upgrading his knowledge puts him to research on topics relevant to his industry. Besides, he also likes to share his findings by writing about them in his free time. Read some of his bestsellers on different guest blogging platforms.

About the author

Sidharth Pk

Sidharth. Professional Blogger. Android dev. Audiophile. Find us on Google+
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