How to Learn WooCommerce Development

When I first started learning WooCommerce development I was struck by the lack of resources that took you through what you need to learn in order to become a competent WooCommerce developer.

If you search for WooCommerce development tips online you’ll mostly find code snippets which solve a specific problem but don’t really give you a good idea of the bigger picture.

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This article is an attempt to point you towards some resources that will help you on your WooCommerce developer journey.

I’ve written a book about learning the basics of WooCommerce development, click here to find out more.

WooCommerce Development is very similar to WordPress Development

As the heading to this section suggests, there is a lot of overlap between WordPress development and WooCommerce development, and that is maybe why when you use search engines to search for WooCommerce learning resources a lot of  the results mention WordPress instead of WooCommerce development.

It is true that there is a lot of overlap between WordPress and WooCommerce development and I would certainly recommend that you get a good overview of the following WordPress  topics if you want to be good WooCommerce developer before

I’ve linked to a few good resources in the list above but if you wanted to a get good overview of everything in one place I would recommended the following resources

Zac Gordons Complete WordPress Theme & Plugin Development Course – This is a Udemy course and it’s an excellent primer to WordPress development
Brad Schiff’s Become a WordPress Developer Course – This also a Udemy course but it’s another excellent course on WordPress development
Professional WordPress: Design and Development – This is the book a I found the most useful when looking for an overview of WordPress development as a complete beginner
JavaScript for WordPress – This is Zac Gordon’s site, it’s more advanced than any of the resources mentioned so far, but it’s an excellent resource if you want to look at more advanced topics that use JavaScript and Word Press (such as Gutenberg development)
Know the Code – This is another site with excellent WordPress information, some of the content is behind a paywall but I’ve paid for access to the WordPress content and although some of it has been updated for a while to does provide an excellent overview.

What resources should I use to master WooCommerce Development?

In my WooCommerce learning journey I’ve used the following resources

  • Books
  • Blogs
  • Tutorials

I’ll go through what I consider to be the best resources in each category in the sections following this one.

What are the best WooCommerce blogs

Blogs will probably be where you end up getting the most useful information, it can sometimes be a bit of laborious process double checking the information you find to see if it’s still relevant, but there is a lot of useful information to be found on blogs.

I normally use the following work flow when using blogs

  • Come up against a problem
  • Use search engines to look for as solution – this normally leads to me finding a code snippet
  • Check the solution works locally
  • If I’m still feeling a little uneasy about the snippet logic I’ll double check the logic used in the snippet  against the WooCommerce plugin codebase to make sure it’s a sensible solution

Here are the blogs I would recommend you take a look at, this list isn’t ranked in anyway

Business Bloomer – When I first started searching for WooCommerce content online, this site came up a lot. There’s a lot of good stuff on this site including a visual hook guides and a lot of code snippets.
Do the Woo – Bob WP hosts an excellent WooCommerce podcast, on which he often interviews WooCommerce developers. He has a load of WooCommerce content on his blog too. – I only found this blog recently but some of the WooCommerce tutorials on it are extremely good. I would highly recommend this blog.
SkyVerge – SkyVerge are a software house that write WooCommerce plugins but they have some really excellent WooCommerce tutorials on their blog. The link points to the “Ask SkyVerge” series of posts on their site which I have found very useful in the past.
Kathy is Awesome – Another excellent WooCommerce blog from an established WooCommerce (and WordPress) plugin author.
Stack Overflow – Stack Overflow isn’t strictly a blog but there is a lot of very good WooCommerce content on there, I’ve pointed the link at the best WooCommerce answers on the site by vote, I found this a very helpful resource when learning. Stack Overflow also has a sister site that just deals WordPress development, I’d also recommend that for WordPress development, although they appear to have banned any new WooCommerce questions. You can find the best WooCommerce answers on WordPress Stack Exchange site here.
The WooCommerce Official Forum – As you can see from the title, this isn’t a blog, but it’s a very useful resource where you can ask development questions or lurk and learn about WooCommerce development.
Hard Working Nerd – 😉  where would we all be with out a little self promotion

What are the best WooCommerce Books for Developers

I’ve already written a post where I go through the best books to learn about WooCommerce (and WordPress) development. If you don’t want to wade through all of that though, here are my top three WooCommerce development books

Learning WooCommerce Development by Example – I wrote this book, but I think it’s the best overview of WooCommerce development currently available (although, to qualify that, there are very few books available that cover WooCommerce development). You can find more about the book here.

The WooCommerce Cookbook – Another great book that covers some WooCommerce development content, written in a cook book format

WooCommerce Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide to WooCommerce  – This book is light on code samples, but it’s a great option if you want a solid overview of how to set-up and use a WooCommerce store

What are the best WooCommerce tutorials and Online Courses

I was going to try and cover video tutorials in this section but there isn’t a great deal of video WooCommerce developer  tutorials available, you can find a number of how to set-up WooCommerce tutorials on YouTube but there isn’t much in the way of developer level content there.

Rodolfo Melogli has a number of free developer tutorials on his Business Bloomer blog (also mentioned in the blog section) he also has three paid courses which would be worth looking at if you wanted do go down the video tutorial route.

What is the best Code Editor (IDE) to use for WooCommerce development

Before I go through the Code Editor option available it’s worth mentioning that going through the code of the WooCommerce plugin itself is a really excellent way to learn about WooCommerce development.

I think just sitting down to  read all of the code might be a bit overwhelming, but I would certainly recommend going through any code in the WooCommerce core that touches  the problem you are looking to solve. I’ve found that over time my knowledge of the WooCommerce core code has gradually improved.

Code Editors can help you to quickly navigate through code as they generally provide functionality that allows you to click on a functions name and navigate to it instantly.

These are the two main code editors/IDE(integrated development environments)s that you can use with WooCommerce\WordPress.

Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio Code is free code editor developed by Microsoft, it has support for WordPress but via a plugin architecture it also able to support multiple other languages as well. Visual Studio Code supports debugging so you are able to step through your WordPress\WooCommerce code and view the state of variables as you step through your code.

Php StormPHP Storm is a PHP specific code editor that is written by JetBrains. You have to pay to use PHP Storm following an initial 30 day trial, at the time of writing, for a single developer it costs GBP 6.90 per month, there are further discounts available if you switch to a yearly plan.

PHP Storm provides full debugging support and has a number of functions that allow you to easily navigate around WooCommerce and WordPress codebases.

It’s hard to pick which is the “best” between the two tools, and I would advise you to try both and see which you prefer. If your put off by the cost of PHP Storm then  I guess that Visual Studio will be the best option for you.

For what it’s worth I tend to use PHP Storm on a day to day basis, but I would highly recommend trying both (using the PHP Storm free trail)  and seeing which one suits you best.

What if I’m interested in WooCommerce Plugin Development?

This was one of the questions I  had when I first started looking into WooCommerce development, and there are very few tutorials that deal with writing a WooCommerce plugin. If I was to go back in time and advise myself how to write a WooCommerce plugin I’d say to focus on the following things

  • Learn how to create a WordPress plugin (there are a lot of good resources for this in the “WooCommerce Development is very similar to WordPress Development” section of this article)
  • Get a good understanding of the WooCommerce codebase (or at least a good understanding of the area you want your plugin to impact)

Once you have these two things covered off, it should be relatively easy to create a plugin.

I also go through the basics of creating a WooCommerce plugin in this article How to add a Code Snippet to WooCommerce

Another thing I found useful was to install free WooCommerce plugins and look at their code. Although things have changed slightly with JavaScript Gutenberg plugins, most existing plugins are installed as PHP code files on a machine or server so you can easily have a read through their code base and pick up hints and tips of how thing are done.

How do you learn about theme development in WooCommerce?

The answer to this is going to be very similar to my answer to the plugin question above, I think the best way to go about this would be to get an understanding of how WordPress themes work and then use your knowledge of the WooCommerce code base to bring your them to life.

Once again, I’d recommend the resources in the “WooCommerce Development is very similar to WordPress Development” section of this article to get up to speed with theme development.

If you’re looking for further information, WooCommerce provides a theme developer handbook for developers which you can find here.

I also have also written a basic guide to creating a WooCommerce child theme based on the “Storefront” theme.

Do you have a favourite training course or class, or any recommendations that we didn’t list?

Hopefully you’ll be able to find something in the resources above that will help you, I’ve based most of the recommendations on my own personal experience, so if you do think that there’s anything I have missed please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments.

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If people recommend genuinely useful resources (I don’t think there’s an SEO ulterior motive) I will happily add them to the article.

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