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A snippet is basically a term given to a small region of re-usable source code, machine code, or text. It is a copy and paste programming done on a small-scale. In the WordPress development, a snippet is a small piece of PHP code that can be used to extend the functionality of a WordPress-powered website. It is a mini plug-in that puts negligible load on a site.
Snippets are extensively used to minimize the use of repeated code that is common to other functions. It is managed by program source code editors, IDEs, text editors, and related software. These managers allow the user to repeatedly use snippets during routine edit operations. Snippets can be transferred to other sites, either in XML where it can be imported by appropriate snippet plug-ins later, or in PHP where one can create their own plug-in or theme.
Unlike abstraction methods which do abstraction within the language and are processed by the compiler or macros, snippets can be included in its concrete form. This also means that snippets cannot be modified afterwards thus is vulnerable to all of the problems of copy and paste programming. For this reason snippets are primarily used for simple sections of coding.
It is clear that one need to have incredible amount of software and programming knowledge so as to work with WordPress snippets. Thus you can take help from various snippet-hosting websites so as to get optimum solutions for your business needs. There are several snippet-hosting sites doing exactly the work you want.
Traditional snippet-hosting sites might ask you to add snippet code to your active theme's functions.php file, thereby making the process rather long and messy. More advanced snippet-hosting sites, on the other hand provides a GUI interface for that purpose. This makes the process of adding snippets easy by running them on your site itself, thus making you think as if they were in your theme's functions.php file.
It allows you to create fixed areas within your theme for a text to be displayed, and can easily be updated through the WP admin. You can also use the snippet content in your posts and pages with a simple tag. For theme developers there is a functions.php file that allows you to create hardcoded snippet areas in the themes which can be updated by the user later. They present a graphical interface, one similar to the Plug-in menu, to activate, deactivate, edit and delete the snippets designed by you.
These snippet hosting sites can enable you to organize your snippets by adding a name and description easily using the visual editor. You can use various built-in syntaxes that highlight other features to assist you in writing your code. These snippets can be designed to be used easily and its interface can be made to look and act in such a way that it was a native part of WordPress.
Although it is the least explored part of WordPress theme Development , snippet undoubtedly presents is a huge opportunity for its developers and users.