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🌟 Complete WordPress Plugin Boilerplate using new web technologies TypeScript, SASS, and so on... on top of a local development environment with Docker and predefined GitLab CI for continous integration and deployment
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.vscode ci: use another git clone path and copy cache Jul 20, 2019
assets ci(deploy): added deploy stage to Jun 17, 2019
build ci: split docker-compose contexts in different files Jun 29, 2019
cypress ci(e2e): use own cypress dind docker image Aug 2, 2019
languages feat(i18n): use wp cli to generate .pot files for frontend and backen… Jul 11, 2019
public feat: added hooks example Aug 23, 2019
.babelrc build(deps): removed unnecessery dependencies and .yarn cache folder Jun 5, 2019
.gitlab-ci.yml ci: do not rely on host specific volume, use docker cp Aug 23, 2019
.prettierrc refactor: lf line endings, dcompose to docker-compose alias Jul 15, 2019
LICENSE Initial commit Nov 2, 2017 feat: added hooks example Aug 23, 2019
README.wporg.txt ci(deploy): added deploy stage to Jun 17, 2019
composer.json chore: last adjustments before create-wp-react-app testing Jun 15, 2019
composer.lock #umc5f Use phpDocumentator instead of ApiGen Apr 29, 2019
package.json feat: added hooks example Aug 23, 2019
postcss.config.js First experiments within VSCode May 8, 2019
renovate.json First experiments within VSCode May 8, 2019
tsconfig.json build(version): yarn release allows you to update package.json and in… Jun 9, 2019
webpack.config.js feat(i18n): use wp cli to generate .pot files for frontend and backen… Jul 11, 2019
yarn.lock feat: added hooks example Aug 23, 2019

WordPress ReactJS Boilerplate 💖

This WordPress plugin demonstrates how to setup a plugin that uses React and ES6 in a WordPress plugin (Frontend Widget, WordPress backend menu page) - within a fully customizable Docker development environment.

🆕 🔥 Instant no-config plugin creation with create-wp-react-app

GitHub tag license Slack channel

Client-side features: Familiar React API & patterns (ES6) with TypeScript

  • ReactJS v16 with Babel v7 env preset + hooks
  • mobx-state-tree for Model Driven State Management
  • webpack v4 build for assets
  • CSS and TypeScript Sourcemap generation for debugging purposes
  • SASS stylesheets compiler (.scss files)
  • PostCSS for transforming SCSS (including autoprefixing) to CSS
  • Generation of minified sources for production (JS, CSS)
  • Grunt for automation tasks
  • TSLint predefined configuration for proper linting
  • Automatic generation of .pot files for translating (i18n) the frontend plugin
  • Admin backend components, in this case an own page with a button (public/src/admin.js)
  • Frontend components, in this case a simple widget (public/src/widget.js)

Server-side features: OOP-style for building a high-quality plugin.

  • PHP >= 5.3 required: An admin notice is showed when not available
  • WordPress >= 4.4 required: An admin notice is showed when not available with a link to the updater
  • Namespace support
  • Autloading classes in connection with namespaces
  • WP REST API v2 for API programming, no longer use admin-ajax.php for your CRUD operations
  • SCRIPT_DEBUG enables not-minified sources for debug sources (use in connection with yarn build-dev)
  • Cachebuster for public resources (public)
  • Automatic generation of .pot files for translating (i18n) the backend plugin
  • phpDocumentor for PHP Documentation
  • TypeDoc for JavaScript Documentation
  • apiDoc for API Documentation
  • WP HookDoc for Filters & Actions Documentation

Other features: Providing the right development environment for a quality plugin.

  • Built on top of VSCode (extensions are automatically installed)
  • Prettier for automatic code beautifying on save (VSCode IDE)
  • Prettier PHP for PHP beautifying (needs manual installation)
  • Husky integration for code beautifying (PHP, TS) before GIT commit - never have ugly code in your repository
  • Husky is also used for commitlint to become a common commit message style in your repository
  • webpackbar so you can get a real progress bar while development
  • Predefined GitLab CI example for Continous Integration, read more here
  • Predefined Review Apps example for branch deployment, read more here
  • Docker for a local development environment
  • Within the Docker environment you have WP-CLI available
  • Cypress for End-To-End (E2E) tests


  • Node.js as JavaScript engine
  • Yarn yarn command globally available in CLI (alternative to Node's npm)
  • WP-CLI wp command globally available in CLI
  • Composer composer command globally available in CLI
  • Docker docker and docker-compose command globally available in CLI

🚵 Getting Started

The brandnew create-wp-react-app allows you now to create your plugin with a single command!


$ yarn add -g create-wp-react-app

Create plugin

$ create-wp-react-app create my-plugin

generate cli

Legacy Note: Since this starter plugin relies on a complete local environment with Docker, TypeScript and so on you can checkout the legacy-wo-docker branch without such technologies. You can use create-wp-react-app create my-plugin --checkout legacy-wo-docker to generate your plugin without Docker and TypeScript.

📖 Documentation

  1. Folder structure
  2. Available commands
  3. Local environment
  4. Make the boilerplate yours
  5. Available constants
  6. Activation hooks
  7. Add hooks and own classes
  8. Add external PHP library
  9. Add external JavaScript library
  10. Using the cachebuster
  11. WP REST API v2
  12. JavaScript state management
  13. Localization
  14. Building production plugin
  15. Using CI CD

Folder structure

Available commands

Command                           Context Description
yarn start-development Docker, .tsx Starts to watch the public/src folder for file changes and automatically runs the build-dev script. Additionally the npm script webpack-build-done is executed after each webpack build. Before the watcher is started the Docker container gets created and started, see also Local environment
yarn stop-development Docker Stops the docker services
yarn rm-development Docker Removes the docker services. This does not remove any volumes so if you start the development again all is as before (installed plugins, uploaded files, ...)
yarn purge-development Docker Removes and purges the docker services compoletely with volumes included
yarn docker-compose-name-wordpress Docker Print out the dynamically generated container name of the wordpress service
yarn wp-cli <command> Docker, WP-CLI Run a WP-CLI command within the WordPress environment, for example yarn wp-cli "wp core version". Use --silent to suppress the output of yarn itself
yarn i18n-backend Localization, .php Generate .pot files from extracted localization strings of your backend coding
yarn i18n-frontend Localization, .tsx Generate .pot files from extracted localization strings of your frontend coding
yarn wp-wait WordPress, Docker Waits and continues with process when the WordPress instance is ready
yarn db-snapshot <file> Docker, WP-CLI, DB Make a snapshot of the current defined database tables (see below how to configure) and safe to a file
yarn db-snapshot-import-on-startup Docker, WP-CLI, DB Make a snapshot of the current defined database tables (see below how to configure) and save them in that way, that the next WordPress install will import that snapshot
yarn db-snapshot-import Docker, WP-CLI, DB The installation snapshot taken with yarn db-snapshot-import-on-startup is imported to the current running Docker instance. This can be useful for tests for example
yarn release Source files A wrapper for yarn version. You should avoid the original command and use always yarn release. For example you can run yarn release --minor to create a new minor version
yarn serve Source files Bundles all the plugin files together and puts it into the dist folder. This folder can be pushed to the SVN. See Building production plugin.
yarn build .tsx Create production build of ReactJS files. The files gets generated in public/dist. This files should be loaded when SCRIPT_DEBUG is not active. Learn more here: Building production plugin
yarn build-dev .tsx Create development build of ReactJS files. The files gets generated in public/dev. This files should be loaded when SCRIPT_DEBUG is active.
yarn lint .tsx Prints out errors and warning about coding styles.
yarn phpdocs .php Generate PHP docs in docs/php of inc.
yarn jsdocs .tsx Generate JS docs in docs/js of public/src.
yarn apidocs .php Generate API docs in docs/api of inc.
yarn hookdocs .php Generate Actions and Filters docs in docs/hooks of inc.
yarn docs Source files Generates all docs at once.
yarn test Tests Run all available tests (currently only e2e tests are available)
yarn test-e2e Tests, Cypress Runs the test files in cypress/integration in your current running localhost
yarn cypress open Tests, Cypress Opens the Cypress Test Runner as GUI
yarn prettier-write Source files Iterate all available source files (.tsx, .php) and pretty print them.
yarn docker-ci-image-build Docker Builds docker/container/ci/Dockerfile so it can be pushed. Usually you do not need this
yarn docker-ci-image-push Docker Pushes the built docker/container/ci/Dockerfile to the docker-hub-username/docker-hub-image-name from package.json. Usually you do not need this
yarn grunt public-cachebuster Libraries Starts to generate the cachebuster files inc/others/cachebuster.php (including public/dist and public/dev hashes) and inc/others/cachebuster-lib.php (including public/lib). Note: Each build with webpack triggers a cachebuster generation.
yarn grunt copy-npmLibs Libraries Copies the defined public libraries in Gruntfile.js to the public/lib folder. See Add external JavaScript library.

Local environment

When running yarn start-development a local development environment with Docker Compose is started and you can start development with TypeScript and your PHP files. If you have a look at docker/development/docker-compose.yml you can see that services are registered with the following exposed ports:

Host / Port Description
localhost(:80) The webserver with WordPress installation itself
localhost:3306 The MySQL database server
localhost:8079 The phpMyAdmin interface

Initializing database tables

Running the above command the docker/scripts/ file is called. There you can define actions which should be executed to prepare your local environment so you have to for example not activate your plugin manually. If you want to initialize specific database tables after WordPress installation you can do the following steps, in this scenario we create a new blog post:

  1. yarn start-development so WordPress is installed in localhost
  2. Login to your WordPress instance and create a new post
  3. Define the tables which you want to snapshot for the startup in package.json#db-snapshot: "db-snapshot": ["wp_posts", "wp_postmeta"]
  4. yarn db-snapshot-import-on-startup to export the defined database tables into a file in docker/scripts/startup.sql
  5. yarn purge-development removes your current WordPress installation completely
  6. yarn start-development again and you will see that post is immediatly available after creation

Make the boilerplate yours

Make it yours?! Sounds crazy. Yes, it means it can automatically change the constant names (PHP), namespace prefix (PHP) and the language .pot filename. All the magic is done by the module create-wp-react-app. It will ask you a few plugin details in the CLI prompt and fully automatically generates the files for you. When the generator is finished just have a look at the index.php file and all is setup for you.

Available constants

After generating your boilerplate you should have a look in the generated index.php file. There are several PHP constants available for your plugin coding:

  • YOURCONSTANTPREFIX_FILE: The plugin file (__FILE__)
  • YOURCONSTANTPREFIX_INC: The plugins inc folder with trailing slash
  • YOURCONSTANTPREFIX_NS: The namespace for your plugin
  • YOURCONSTANTPREFIX_DB_PREFIX: The Base.class.php offers a method getTableName() which returns a valid table name for your plugin
  • YOURCONSTANTPREFIX_OPT_PREFIX: If you want to save options you should use this constant for option names prefix
  • YOURCONSTANTPREFIX_TD: The text domain for your plugin. See Localization
  • YOURCONSTANTPREFIX_VERSION: The version of the plugin
  • YOURCONSTANTPREFIX_DEBUG: If true the Base.class.php::debug() method writes to the error log

Activation hooks

There are four types of activation hooks:

  • Activate: This hook / code gets executed even the plugin gets activated in the WordPress backend. You can implement your code in inc/general/Activator.class.php::activate().
  • Deactivate: This hook / code gets executed even the plugin gets deactivated in the WordPress backend. You can implement your code in inc/general/Activator.class.php::deactivate().
  • Install: This hook / code gets executed when the plugin versions changes. That means every update of the plugin executes this code - also the initial plugin activation. Usually you should implement your database table creation with dbDelta here. You can implement your code in inc/general/Activator.class.php::install().
  • Uninstall: This hook / code gets executed even the plugin gets uninstalled in the WordPress backend. You can implement your code in uninstall.php.

Add hooks and own classes

Your action and filters can be registered in inc/general/Core.class.php::init()/__construct().

If you want to create your own classes / interfaces / enums, ... please create them in inc with Classname.class.php or IMyInterface.interface.php. The inc folder hiearchy represents the namespace prefix. For example you create a class in inc/my/package/Class.class.php and your generated namespace prefix is Company\Plugin the full name for the class should be Company\Plugin\my\package\Class.

Add external PHP library

PHP libraries should be installed via Composer. If you want to use a PHP library in the plugin's production build (dist) then install the dependency as non-dev dependency. The dist build does not contain any dev dependencies.

When the composer dependency supports autoloading you do not have to worry about including. The boilerplate already includes the vendor autoload if exists.

Add external JavaScript library

When using external libraries or React components it is recommended to avoid bundling it with the plugin's source code (webpack). Because the WordPress community offers a lot of plugins you should enqueue the library files using the provided base\AssetsBase (which is based on wp_enqueue_script/wp_enqueue_style) to avoid duplicate JavaScript assets.

In this example we want to use this NPM package in our WordPress plugin: It is a simple tooltip plugin for jQuery.

  1. Run yarn add install jquery-tooltipster --dev to install the npm module.
  2. Add the library name to the Gruntfile.js so it looks like this:
clean: {
     * Task to clean the already copied node modules to the public library folder
    npmLibs: [
copy: {
     * Task to copy npm modules to the public library folder.
    npmLibs: {
        expand: true,
        cwd: 'node_modules',
        src: [
        dest: 'public/lib/'

Note: The src for your npm module can be different. You must have a look at the modules' folder tree.

  1. Run the command yarn grunt copy-npmLibs to copy the library and generate the new cachebuster for the library files.
  2. Go to Assets.class.php and enqueue the styles and scripts:
// This must be before your ReactJS styles and scripts so it can be used in ReactJS
$this->enqueueLibraryScript('jquery-tooltipster', 'jquery-tooltipster/js/tooltipster.js');
$this->enqueueLibraryStyle('jquery-tooltipster', 'jquery-tooltipster/css/tooltipster.css');

// Add the dependencies to the ReactJS styles and scripts
$this->enqueueScript('wp-reactjs-starter', 'admin.js', array('react-dom', 'jquery-tooltipster'));
$this->enqueueStyle('wp-reactjs-starter', 'admin.css', array('jquery-tooltipster');
  1. If you have a look at your browser network log you see that the plugin automatically appends the right module version to the resource URL.
  2. If you want to use the library in your ReactJS coding simply add jQuery to the webpack.config.js file as external:
externals: {
	'jquery': 'jQuery'
  1. And this in your ReactJS file:
import $ from "jquery";
  1. Now you can use the $.fn.tooltipster functionality.

Using the cachebuster

The class AssetsBase (inc/general/AssetsBase.class.php) provides a few scenarios of cachebusting enqueue (scripts and styles):

  • Scenario 1 (NPM library): Add a dependency to package.json > Copy to public/lib/{PACKAGE_NAME} (using Grunt) > Use AssetsBase::enqueueLibraryScript() to enqueue the handle public/lib/{PACKAGE_NAME}/{FILE}.js for example. The cachebuster is applied with the node module version. See Add external JavaScript library for more.
  • Scenario 2 (Dist and Dev): While developing the public/src is automatically transformed to production / dev code. Use AssetsBase::enqueueScript() to enqueue the handle public/dev/admin.js for example. The cachebuster is applied with a hash.
  • Scenario 3 (Unknown library): Imagine you want to use a JavaScript library which is not installable through npm. > Use AssetsBase::enqueLibraryScript() (or wp_enqueue_script) to enqueue the handle public/lib/myprivatelib/file.js for example. The cachebuster is applied with the plugin version.


The boilerplate needs a minimum WordPress version of 4.4. The WP REST API v2 is implemented in WordPress core in 4.7. The user gets an admin notice if < 4.4 to update WordPress core. If the user is > 4.4 and < 4.7 there is an admin notice with a link to download the WP REST API plugin. The boilerplate adds a localization key to provide the REST API url to JavaScript:

<Notice type="info">The WP REST API URL of the plugin is: "{window.wprjssOpts.restUrl}" (localized variable)</Notice>

Note: Using the WP REST API v2 is essential for high quality plugins, please avoid using admin-ajax.php.

JavaScript state management

The starter plugin uses the following packages to provide a easy-to use Model Driven State Management:

  • mobx@4: This dependency is needed for mobx-state-tree to work. It uses Version 4 because v5 is for browsers with Proxies supported. Not all browsers (e. g. IE) does not support this kind of functionality.
  • mobx-state-tree: The model driven state management built on top of mobx.
  • mobx-react: Easily create bindings for your React components for your models


The boilerplate comes with an automatically created languages/gyour-plugin-name.pot file. If you are familar with the __() translation functions you can use the constant YOURCONSTANTPREFIX_TD (see Available constants) as the $domain parameter. Languages are completely splitted between backend (PHP) and your frontend (JS).

To translate the plugin you can use for example a tool like Poedit. Just create a new translation with your-slug-de_DE.po and get started with translation. The pot file is automatically generated for both backend and frontend on save action while running yarn start-development. Also you can create language overrides so you can avoid duplicate language files, e. g. de_AT should be handled as de_DE (see Localization.class.php).

For frontend localization i18n-calypso is used for interpolate React components into your translation strings. Complex example from public/src/component-library/index.tsx:

import { __, _i } from "../util/i18n";

const NoticeExample = (
    <Notice type={ENoticeType.Info}>
            __("The WP REST API URL of the plugin is: {{a}}%(restUrl)s{{/a}} (localized variable)", {
                restUrl: pluginOptions.restUrl
                a: (
                    <a href="#" onClick={doTestAjaxCall}>

Awesome! Do no longer work with i18n keys in your frontend!.

Building production plugin

Before publishing a new version you should run yarn release. It is a wrapper to yarn version and you should always use that command instead the original one. The reason is that the boilerplate implementation also adjusts the index.php file. The release-command does not create a Git tag, you have to create it manually.

Afterwards simply run yarn serve and a folder dist gets created with a subfolder of the installable plugin and an installable zip file. It is recommenend to use CI / CD to publish the new version to or other marketplaces. An instroduction how to do this can be read below.

Using CI CD

This boilerplate plugin is built on top of GitLab CI and an own runner. The .gitlab-ci.yml is the entrypoint for the pipeline configuration. If you want still use your own GIT repository you navigate to "New project" and "CI/CD for external repo". However, you should make sure that your GIT repository has two branches:

  • master: If you merge something into master the CI/CD automatically pushes the changes to if you have activated that (see below). Also consider to "protect" this branch, this can be for example done in GitLab Settings > Repository > Protected Branches
  • develop: Your development branch. All commits will be linted and tested and can only be merged to master when all is successful. Here you should do your developments

Also you have to use your own GitLab CI Runner (I think it works also with shared runners, but I have not yet tested this). Here is a best practice how to do this:

  1. If you do not have yet your own server navigate to and order one (the cheapest Linux server should be enough)
  2. SSH into your server
  3. Install the gitlab-runner (see documentation here)
  4. Register the GitLab runner onto your GitLab repository (see documentation here)
  5. Navigate to your repository Settings > CI / CD and deactivate the shared runners
  6. You have to adjust some configurations within the GitLab Runner, so open the configuration file (see here) and diff it with the file build/gitlab-runner-config.txt in this repository. The main differences are concurrent, check_interval, cache_dir and volumes, so please do not completely replace this file.
  7. gitlab-runner restart and finish!
  8. Run also this container for garbage collection:

Initial release plugin to

In this section it is explained how to release a new plugin to For example this plugin wp-reactjs-starter is built on top of this boilerplate. Generelly the initial release needs to be reviewed by the team so you have to prepare the installable plugin as zip file locally. Later - when upading the plugin - the GitLab CI is used.

  1. Add functionality to your plugin
  2. Adjust CHANGELOG and README.wporg.txt files (you can use a README validator)
  3. Prepare you images (header, icon, screenshots) in assets folder
  4. When you think it is ready to release, run yarn serve
  5. Navigate to dist and you will se a generated zip file
  6. Upload that zip file to for review
  7. Wait for approval

Prepare SVN deploy via GitLab CI

When the above initial review got approved you can go on with deployment via CI/CD:

  1. Navigate in your repository to Settings > CI / CD > Variables
  2. Add the variable WPORG_SVN_URL: When the plugin gots approved you will get a SVN url, put it here
  3. Add the variable WPORG_SVN_USERNAME: The username of your user
  4. Add the variable WPORG_SVN_PASSWORD: The password of your user. You have to protect and mask it. Note: If you password does not meet the requirements of Masked Variables it does not work. It depends on you: Change your password so it works or leave it unmasked
  5. Put some changes to develop branche and merge it to master
  6. The CI/CD automatically deploys to

Review applications

When commiting to a development branch (non-master) you can automatically setup a complete virtual server with the complete WordPress installation. This is a so-called "Review application". This boilerplate is preconfigured to create such dynamic environments on the same server as your GitLab CI Runner. Here a step-by-step guide how to activate review apps for your plugin together with the Traefik router:

  1. Note: When talking in the next steps about to replace the server IP then put your IP of your GitLab CI Runner server and replace . with -, for example 192-168-1-250. Also, if you add new Traefik frontend hosts consider to not use . because it will break Let`s Encrypt SSL certificates
  2. SSH into your GitLab CI Runner (see above how to configure that runner)
  3. sudo apt install apache2-utils: This package is necessery for the next command
  4. htpasswd -nb admin secure_password: Create a password for the Traefik dashboard, replace secure_password with your password
  5. cd /opt/ && sudo nano traefik.toml: Create a Traefik configuration file, see build/traefik.txt. Copy that file and replace your_generated_htpasswd with the output of the previous command. Also replace your_email and your-server-ip
  6. sudo docker network create traefik: Create an unique network for Traefik which is used by all containers which should be available to the web
  7. sudo touch acme.json && sudo chmod 600 acme.json: This file simply should be empty, Traefik is storing SSL certificates here
  8. sudo docker run -d -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock -v $PWD/traefik.toml:/traefik.toml -v $PWD/acme.json:/acme.json -p 80:80 -p 443:443 -l traefik.enable=true -l traefik.frontend.rule=Host:monitor-<your-server-ip> -l traefik.port=8080 --network traefik --name traefik traefik:1.7.12-alpine: Create the Traefik container which handles all the routing. Replace <your-server-ip>.
  9. Visit monitor-<your-server-ip>, enter the credentials your generated with htpasswd and user admin and you will see the Traefik dashboard
  10. Securing review apps itself? Yes, that's possible with Basic Authentication within Traeffik and also necessery for this boilerplate
  11. Navigate in your repository to Settings > CI / CD > Variables and add the variable CI_TRAEFIK_HOST with value <your-server-ip> Also replace here your-server-ip
  12. Additionally generate a new review user with htpasswd -nb admin secure_password and store that output as value for the GitLab CI Runner variable CI_TRAEFIK_BAUTH. Note: $ must be doubled $$ for escaping!
  13. Now, your GitLab CD creates dynamic environments, nice!

See also this tutorial if you want to learn more about Traefik.

👷 Todo


Licensing / Credits

This boilerplate is MIT licensed. Originally this boilerplate is a fork of gcorne/wp-react-boilerplate.

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