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Theme Unit Tests for WordPress Plugin Developers

2 MINUTE READ | March 16, 2012

Theme Unit Tests for WordPress Plugin Developers

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Christopher Davis

Christopher Davis has written this article. More details coming soon.

At it’s core, WordPress is a software designed to make it easy to write content for the web. A plugin developer might add some fancy new features, but often those features come back to the central focus of any website: the content.

If you write a plugin that deals with content in any way, do yourself a favor and have a look at the Theme Unit Test.

In a nutshell, the theme unit test is a bunch of dummy content, in the form of a WordPress XML export file, that can be loaded into a WordPress installation. It’s purpose is to give theme developers exposure to (1) a bunch of typographical and stylistic elements and (2) all the WordPress generated CSS classes.

Developing a theme is hard work because the end users might not make use of the theme in a way that you envisioned. Maybe you like short post titles, but your users end up using really long titles. Does your theme work okay with long titles? Maybe you never paginate posts, but your users do. Does your theme work with pagination? The theme unit test is meant to help theme developers answer those questions.

PMG has a WordPress plugin called SEO Auto Linker. As the name implies, the plugin automatically links certain words and phrases in your content to URIs you specify.

Yesterday a new version was released. And it was broken (it’s fixed now! don’t worry). Why? Because I did not test the plugin thoroughly with all types of content. Testing it with the theme unit test data installed on a WP install later on allowed me to identify the issue and fix it; with a few minutes a new, working version was up on the repo.

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Plugin developers often don’t have to worry about the impact their work will have on an end user’s site’s look. If your plugin deals with changing anything on the front end of a WordPress install at all, do your self a favor and install the Theme Unit Test data. Make sure your plugin works with a wide variety of content.

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