Getting started integrating WordPress with other APIs

WP Tips


Integrating WordPress: The Background

I'll get back to my Platform series later today, but I just thought I would publish this email I just wrote to my developers.

For some background, our developers at Emphasys Software work on several different platforms:

  • System Builder (green screen)
  • Cobol
  • Delphi
  • FoxPro
  • and some WordPress

As you can imagine, because we focus on enterprise software for vertical markets (a lot of them in the public sector / government space), more of our code isn't WordPress than is.

But in one division (real estate), we build a website solution for real estate brokers (in certain parts of Canada and the US) that leverages WordPress, multisite, and some MLS integration.

Architecturally, our MLS integration is in the cloud, not in WordPress, and we use a plugin and set of services to bring data from our cloud service to the sites. Among its many benefits, it allows us to write all the cloud components in languages other than PHP.

We've recently brought on new developers and are tasked with teaching them not only about WordPress, but to help them think about integrating it with external APIs.

So I gathered a set of resources today and sent off this email (I took off the intro for you).

Integrating WordPress: The Resources

The following resources help you understand the core of how WordPress works. That said, I find that one of the best things you can do is to walk thru the code itself, as following its calls and references will end up giving you a strong picture (when mixed with a bit of curiosity) of what’s going on, and in what order.

If you're going to develop any externally-facing, API-calling plugins, then you’ll want to watch, read and learn from these resources.

The first video is from Jake who founded – a serious enterprise agency in the WordPress world. The point of his video is to walk you thru the idea that behind all the abstractions are real system components.

The second resource is a post from Tom in Atlanta. He’s a serious WP developer with a great blog. On there is this post about the lifecycle of a WordPress page.

While I personally know the first two folks, I don't know the author of this three-part series. I also know it’s a bit outdated, so you'd have to check on certain orders of calls here, but that said, it’s a great articulation of what is called and what it does, in order.

To write a plugin that does stuff, you’ll likely need to be introduced to the concepts of actions and filters and my friend Jeff, over at Crowd Favorite, is the right guy to do it.

Alison is a former Automattician who goes even deeper into WordPress hooks.

And as if Aaron was talking directly to you, here’s how to make use of what you've learned so far to make calls to external APIs.

At this point, you’re likely going to want to get deeper into calling your own stuff, and using javascript, so there are two additional references that are worth watching – one from Jeff (again) and another from two guys who are fanastic.

As you start putting text on screens, you will likely use the content filter to do it. Here’s some tips on that by Pippin:

And since I’ve just introduced you to Pippin, you'll likely want to read and learn from two awesome tutorial series (pay for them if you don't have access already):

I leave you with two final resource you might like:

Integrating WordPress isn't for everyone

So that was the email I wrote – filled with specific resources for a specific task – and I think they'll do well in picking it up and getting what they need from them.

But what about you? What if all this stuff is too complicated or just not something you want to spend time learning? No problem.

Integrating WordPress with other systems using APIs isn't for everyone. Thankfully, if you need it, but don't want to do it, I know some folks I can recommend you call. Use my contact form to hit me up and tell me about what you're up to, and I'll send you some suggestions.