WordPress Documentation Decoded, WordPress Codex Vs Code Reference

WordPress has many different online resources that are extremely useful when starting to learn WordPress Development and working with WordPress. WordPress has a vast community and various sources you can seek help from, but WordPress has its extensive documentation, WordPress Codex, and Code Reference.

These official WordPress Documentations are probably the best places for “WordPress Dummies” to make a beginning. These are by far the best WordPress Manual coming directly from WordPress itself. Almost all WordPress developers, be it a seasoned or a beginner WordPress developer, depend on WordPress Codex as well as WordPress Code Reference while developing for WordPress and continuously access these resources for reference to various functions during the development process.

Though these WordPress manuals are used almost on a daily basis by most of the WordPress developers, there are very few WordPress developers out there who know the difference between WordPress Codex and Code Reference. There is a primary difference between the two, due to which these are two very different sources of information and as a WordPress developer, you should be aware of how to use them optimally to your advantage. Let’s just dig deep into each of these to understand better how they are different from each other and how to make the best out of these extensive WordPress developer resources.

WordPress Codex

To explain what WordPress Codex in simplest of words, “The WordPress Codex is an online wiki for WordPress Documentation.” The WordPress Codex is a wiki-based website, which means anyone can make edits to it and make a contribution to it. WordPress Codex is full of useful knowledge regarding references to various WordPress functions and example code explaining these functions. On WordPress Codex you would be able to find topics ranging from “Getting Started With WordPress” to more advanced topics useful for WordPress Developers. WordPress Codex is an essential resource for anyone starting with WordPress Development or WordPress in general.

WordPress Codex

Function Reference In WordPress Codex

WordPress functions in WordPress Codex are described on an individual Function Reference Page for each WordPress API functions available. Think of the Function Reference as an online and expanded version of a function’s inline documentation. The reference has a description explaining how the function works and how it is used. The individual parameters are listed along with data types and a description of each.

WordPress Codex Function Reference

The majority of the WordPress API functions are well documented, but not all functions have a Function Reference page in the Codex. Any function displayed in red on the Function Reference home page currently has no documentation. WordPress Codex is an ongoing community project so expect all functions to be fully documented in the Codex eventually.

The Controversy Behind The WordPress Codex

Since WordPress Codex is a wiki and the content on it is posted by the community, and like any other wiki, there will be controversy about the accuracy of the information that exists on WordPress Codex. The code samples that that are there on WordPress Codex are posted by various developers and hence limited by the skill of the developer who is posting them on the Codex.

WordPress is being developed at a decent pace, and thus the Codex needs to keep up that pace to be accurate. Unfortunately, since WordPress Codex is a community project, that doesn’t always happen, and some material is outdated. Hence, when using information from WordPress Codex, you need to cross check it and be sure that have the up-to-date and accurate information.

WordPress Code Reference

The WordPress Code Reference is a newer online resource for WordPress. Launched in the spring of 2014, the Code Reference is an auto-generated online resource to help developers find more information on WordPress functions, classes, hooks, and more.

WordPress Code Reference

The Code Reference content is generated using an open source project called WP Parser. This program parses through all WordPress core files and generates the reference entries from the WordPress core inline documentation. WordPress Code Reference is a more accurate and up-to-date resource as compared to WordPress Codex.

There are a few different ways you can use the Code Reference. As with all WordPress online documentation, a robust search option is available. Searching the Code Reference can help you find a particular function you may be looking for if you don’t know the name. Alternately, you can browse various topics, including functions, hooks, classes, and methods. Filtering by subject will list all items in alphabetical order and is an excellent way to learn about topics you may be less familiar with.

WordPress Code Reference Function

Codex Versus Code Reference

The biggest benefit to the Code Reference over the Codex is accuracy. The Code Reference is automatically generated from the WordPress core files. This ensures all content in the Code Reference is entirely accurate and always up to date with the latest version of WordPress. The WordPress Codex, on the other hand, is a wiki that is manually updated by contributors from all over the world. The biggest benefit to the Codex over the Code Reference is the additional amount of content and examples provided. Because WordPress Codex is a wiki-based website, there is a lot of useful information, examples, and tutorials for a lot of WordPress functions. This can make understanding how to work with a particular function in WordPress much easier to understand initially. The WordPress Codex and the WordPress Code Reference have their pros and cons, but ultimately they are two excellent resources for learning to develop with WordPress.

Originally published at Uneebox.

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