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I just developed a tool for web site owners. This works as a standalone app with its own user and routes system and other custom elements.

Now it seems Wordpress is getting more and more popular and I'm considering also to develop a plugin version of this app.

I wonder if its possible for my app to coexist with Wordpress' own user and route system or will I have to duplicate effort and adapt it to Wordpress replacing my app's subsystems with Wordpress stuff?

I guess what I wanted to know is how much of my app code will I have to replace with wordpress code to make it a viable plugin.

The app in question is also developed in AngularJS(client side). I guess that would be another headache to make it work with wordpress admin page (the app is not publicly visible, only logged in users can use it in the admin page).

I have no experience with wordpress plugins and I only used Wordpress briefly so I welcome your input.

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Roughly it goes like this:

  1. You have to boot WordPress first. If you boot your app first then it won't be able to reliably boot WP core. At least in code meant for distribution. This is your main design constraint.
  2. Since you start with WP core you automatically have access to all the goodies. For things you mentioned these would primarily be all user stuff (dead easy to use) and rewrite for URLs (total hell).
  3. Once you have the path from URL through users to your app you will need to point that JS front end to talk to WP (still same constraint — it needs to). Good news is WP has Ajax endpoint which is passable to use (fancy REST API planned, but not here yet). Bad news is that it is dead slow and depending on how talkative your app is on Ajax side may become significant performance constraint for it.
  4. Once you have all this pieced together it shouldn't be too hard to bolt to WP admin. People have been putting all kinds of crazy custom things in it for a long time (for better and worse).
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The level of difficulty integrating your app into wordpress, will depend entirely on how modular your code is. For instance, if your code is written well enough that you can unhook certain portions of your code, such as user creation / validation etc and utilize WP'S core function in lieu of it, then your life will be relatively easy.

As stated above, WP has an excellent ajax handling system that allows for relatively painless interaction between client and server side.

The place to begin with would be the WP codex, specifically starting with familiarizing yourself with the various filters and hooks. As you're wanting to develop your app into a plugin, the first step would be creating a directory structure within the plugins directory, and creating a plugin template file that will control things like activation and de-activation of the plugin, updates etc.

This is just the bare-bones of what a plugin template looks like:

<?php/*
Plugin Name: Some Name
Plugin URI: Some Url
Description: Description of the plugin
Version: Version Info
Author: Author Name
Author URI: Some author Url
*/?>

Once you have that setup, it's just a matter of re-factoring your existing code, to interface with the WP structure.

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