I'm creating a plugin which displays a tabbed view. The way it currently works is when the user clicks a tab class Loader reads the $_GET parameter and creates an instance of the class specific to that tabs content. Now that I have this working, I want to be able to extend the functionality of this plugin to others. ie, I want another plugin to be able to create a new tab type. Each of my tab classes are derived from an abstract base though I can work around this using if_method_exists().

How can I make an instance or the name of a class available from a second plugin to my plugin?

What I want to achieve is for my Loader class to have available a list of class names from which it can first populate the tabs then create the instance when that tab is selected.

1 Answer 1


Build some kind of a registry where other plugins can register new tabs. Let’s say your plugin’s admin page handler is called Main_Controller:

class Main_Controller {

    protected $tabs;

    public function __construct()
        $this->tabs = new Tab_List;

        do_action( 'register_tabs', $this->tabs );

    public function create_tabs() {
        $all_tabs = $this->tabs->get_tabs();

        if ( empty ( $all_tabs ) )

        foreach ( $all_tabs as $id => $tab ) {
            // print the tab

Tab_List is the list with all registered tabs:

class Tab_List {

    protected $tabs = array();

    public function register( $id, Tab $tab ) {
        $this->tabs[ $id ] = $tab;

    public function get_tabs() {
        return $this->tabs;

The method register expects a well defined instance of a class Tab:

class Tab {

    // Have to be replaced.
    protected $properties = array(
        'tab_title'        => 'MISSING TAB TITLE',
        'page_title'       => 'MISSING PAGE TITLE',
        'content_callback' => '__return_false',
        'save_callback'    => '__return_false'

    public function __set( $name, $value ) {
        if ( isset ( $this->properties[ $name ] ) )
            $this->properties[ $name ] = $value;

    public function __get( $name ) {
        if ( isset ( $this->properties[ $name ] ) )
            return $this->properties[ $name ];

Now other plugins can register their tabs with a simple hook:

add_action( 'register_tabs', function( Tab_List $tab_list )
    $data = new My_Color_Data;
    $view = new My_Color_View( $data );

    $my_tab = new Tab;
    $my_tab->tab_title = 'Colors';
    $my_tab->page_title = 'Set custom colors';
    $my_tab->content_callback = array( $view, 'print_tab' );
    $my_tab->save_callback    = array( $data, 'save_tab' );

    $tab_list->register( 'colors', $my_tab );

The classes My_Color_Data and My_Color_View are custom. I leave that up to your imagination. :)

See also:


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