You’ve probably heard of ChatGPT. People are using this AI tool to create everything from business plans to websites and even software. If you’re a web developer, you may be wondering how to use ChatGPT for WordPress development.
Fortunately, ChatGPT can help you produce code in a matter of minutes. These may include plugins and basic themes. While the code might not be perfect, it can save you a lot of time. 🕒
📚 In this article, we’ll talk about whether it makes sense to use ChatGPT for WordPress development and discuss several ways to do so. Let’s get to it!
Can you use ChatGPT for WordPress development?
Yes, you can indeed use ChatGPT for WordPress development! For example, you might ask the tool to generate a piece of code for a specific function or to provide an outline of steps for creating particular programs.
If you’re feeling lucky, you could even ask it to troubleshoot a coding issue for you:
In practice, it’s important to remember that using ChatGPT for WordPress development won’t always return the best possible results (or even accurate ones). If you rely solely on the software to complete a project, you may run into a scenario where a piece of code does not work.
Having a background in web development is invaluable here, as it enables you to spot errors in the responses you get from AI software. Likewise, you’ll be able to see if the code follows best practices and if it meets industry standards.
In an experiment carried out by a WordPress developer, ChatGPT was able to produce a working plugin but it didn’t sanitize user inputs. That is a basic best practice, and it’s something you could easily miss if you don’t have coding experience.
It’s also worth noting that ChatGPT is not tailored to provide WordPress code. The tool is trained on old data, which means it might not provide up-to-date information or solutions. The more complex the project is, the less likely ChatGPT will be able to help you carry it out.
Overall, ChatGPT can be an invaluable tool to speed up WordPress development. With the right prompts, you can create complex functions and plugins in a matter of minutes. Of course, you’ll need to double-check, test, and probably customize some of the code, but it’s still much faster than starting from scratch.
Ways to use ChatGPT for WordPress development
Now, let’s look at how to use ChatGPT for WordPress development. It’s important to note that your mileage might vary when using the tool for any of the following tasks.
Plus, the way you phrase your prompts and what you ask ChatGPT to do will greatly impact the results you get. If you’re not happy with a response, we encourage you to try rephrasing the prompt to be more specific.
- Create basic WordPress plugins
- Generate new code for a starter WordPress theme
- Generate new functions
- Create new WordPress blocks
- Ask ChatGPT to help troubleshoot development issues
1. Create basic WordPress plugins 🔌
This is perhaps one of the most popular requests from WordPress developers using ChatGPT. If you look online, you’ll find several WordPress users sharing their experiences with AI-generated plugins.
We did a little experiment and found that ChatGPT is capable of helping you create basic plugins. However, it struggles to provide valuable information as the projects become more complex.
Let’s look at an example. We asked ChatGPT to help us create a plugin for displaying author boxes in blog posts:
It explains the basics of how to set up a WordPress plugin folder and provides the code that you can use. Here’s what the rest of that code looks like:
The code in that example works but it assumes you’re including the social media links as author metadata. In this case, if you’re not familiar with WordPress functions, you wouldn’t know how to add that metadata so it appears in the author box.
If you’ve never created a plugin before, you could ask ChatGPT to break it down into steps for you. During our tests, that prompt resulted in the software guiding us through everything, from setting up the plugin structure to enqueuing styles and activating the plugin.
As we mentioned earlier, the more complex the project is, the more likely you are to run into errors with the code. If you’re struggling to get ChatGPT to deliver working code for a plugin, we recommend breaking down the core functions into different prompts. This way, you’ll increase the chances of getting better results.
2. Generate new code for a starter WordPress theme 🎨
ChatGPT is not going to help you create a theme that looks exactly the way you want it. Even if you use a prompt such as “Create a WordPress theme that looks like X,” it won’t be able to look at the code of that theme and reproduce it for you.
What the software can do, however, is help you streamline the process. Namely, you can use it to set up the basic structure of your theme, including essential files such as style.css, index.php, header.php, and footer.php.
Asking ChatGPT to help you set up a basic theme will return a set of instructions similar to this:
In our case, the exact prompt we used was “Help me create a basic WordPress theme” and ChatGPT ran with it. The result is a theme folder with all the basic files you need, including a base code that you can copy and paste for each file. Naturally, the theme looks like a blank slate, but it saves you some time.
3. Generate new functions 👨💻
Perhaps the best way to use ChatGPT for WordPress development is to create functions that fulfill specific needs. If you’re a developer, you’ll constantly be thinking about which new features you want to implement in a plugin or theme. ChatGPT can help you develop Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) of these functions in a matter of seconds.
Imagine you want to create a simple function to display the latest images you’ve uploaded to WordPress. This could be the core of an image gallery plugin and you can ask ChatGPT to help you create it:
We’re not including the full extent of the code to keep things tidy. However, you can easily test ChatGPT by asking it to create basic functions that you want to implement on your website.
One advantage of using ChatGPT in this way is that the tool usually explains what each code snippet does and how you need to implement it. This is particularly useful if you’re new to WordPress development as it can act as a type of coding aid.
4. Create new WordPress blocks 🚧
A lot of WordPress development now revolves around blocks. There are block themes as well as hundreds of plugins for adding custom blocks to WordPress.
If you want to use a specific block but can’t find a plugin that fits that need, you can ask ChatGPT to help you create one. For our test, we asked it to create a paragraph block where the editor increases the size of the first letter only. In other words, we asked for help creating a drop capital block:
As you might know, you need to use plugins to add new blocks to WordPress. We’ve already talked about using ChatGPT for creating plugins, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the software can also help you develop new blocks.
The base prompt we used was “Create a WordPress block that…“. You can finish the prompt with the function you want the block to fulfill. ChatGPT will generate a list of instructions, plus the code you need to add for the block to work.
5. Ask ChatGPT to help troubleshoot development issues 🤖
While working on a WordPress project, you may run into issues with code that doesn’t work. However, unless you’re collaborating with other WordPress developers, you might struggle to figure out what’s wrong and identify a solution.
Earlier, we talked about using ChatGPT as a type of coding buddy. One of the best aspects of the software is you can input code and ask it why it’s not working.
In our experience, ChatGPT is fantastic at troubleshooting simple issues such as syntax errors:
As with other examples, if the code is complex, ChatGPT might not be able to troubleshoot it. However, it only takes a second to copy and paste the code and use a prompt such as “Help me troubleshoot this code:,” so there’s no harm in trying.
Plus, ChatGPT will typically explain what the error is and what you need to correct. It will show you the “improved” code as well. If you’re new to using a programming language, this type of feedback can be invaluable.
There are a lot of ways to use ChatGPT for WordPress development. However, we recommend that you take the time to review any code the software produces and make sure it follows best practices. You may also need to customize the code you get, but ChatGPT can save you a lot of time to get an MVP.
📌 To recap, here’s what you can ask ChatGPT to help you with:
- Creating basic WordPress plugins 🔌
- Generating the code for a starter WordPress theme 🎨
- Generating new functions 👨💻
- Creating new WordPress blocks 🚧
- Troubleshooting development issues 🤖
Do you have any questions about using ChatGPT for WordPress development? Let us know in the comments section below!