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Ryan Harrison My blog, portfolio and technology related ramblings

Inline code in WordPress

When posting recently it’s become quite annoying that there is no default way of presenting inline code in posts. I’ve resorted to making the text italic, which does provide a small amount of differentiation, yet does not offer the quality provided in most programming forums where the text inside inline code is in a monospaced font and sometimes has a border.

Luckily though customising WordPress is very easy, and it requires a very small amount of code to achieve the desired effect for inline code.

First of all a custom CSS class needed to be added to the styles.css file of the WordPress theme. This is the class I used:

.inlinecode {  
    padding: 2px;  
    background: #FFF;  
    border: 1px dotted #000;  
    color: #000;  
    font-family: monospace!important;  

Which simply forces the text into a black monospace font and adds a small border around the outside. The only thing to do now is hook up WordPress to use this new style. WordPress uses shortcodes to accomplish this. Essentially you provide a code inside square brackets and then put the content in between an ending brace.

For example migrated over to Jekyll

For my site I use the il shortcode. We then need to tell WordPress what to do when it sees this new shortcode. In this case all that needs to happen is a span tag with the new CSS style is added to encapsulate the inline code. This is done through a simple PHP function:

function inlinecode( $atts, $content = null ) {  
    return '<span class="inlinecode">'.$content.'</span>';

Finally one more line is needed to hook this new function into wordpress with the chosen shortcode:

add_shortcode("il", "inlinecode");  

And that’s it. This is one of the benefits of using WordPress - it’s so easy to customise and there are a load of guides and tutorials online to help you do it. Here is the resulting inline code (although it has been used throughout this post already):

Some example inline code (in Jekyll)

I will also hopefully be gradually adding the use of this new inline code into previous posts in order to improve the overall presentation and readability.