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Chapter 22. Integrating Payments into WordPress, Part 2: PayPal Plugins

In my previous article, I introduced WordPress (WP), provided links to documentation to help you get up to speed with it, and then showed you how to install and start using it.

This time I want to describe the WordPress plugin model. I’ll make some recommendations for plugins that are not only useful, but also instructive as you learn about what’s possible in WP. Then I’ll examine some of the most popular and highest-rated PayPal plugins according to WP users. I’ll also identify payments functionality that might be missing or lacking in currently available plugins; we’ll go deeper into that functionality in a future article.

Extending WordPress with Plugins

As the WordPress Codex succinctly puts it:

Plugins are tools to extend the functionality of WordPress.

That’s a high-level definition for WP users, but what about a workable definition for programmers and hackers? Here’s a better description from the Codex “Writing a Plugin” page:

A WordPress Plugin is a program, or a set of one or more functions, written in the PHP scripting language, that adds a specific set of features or services to the WordPress weblog, which can be seamlessly integrated with the weblog using access points and methods provided by the WordPress Plugin Application Program Interface (API).

The Plugin API page goes on to provide a lot of useful information on the hooks you can use to tie plugins into WordPress. These hooks falls into two ...

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