Whether you are doing your own WordPress site, or choosing to have someone to do it for you, chances are you will run across this situation.
You need a specific functionality for your site. If you are doing it yourself, you look at various plugins or Google your needs.
You may find a good plugin, you may not.
Or you might come across a blog post that shares some code or code snippet you can drop into your CSS or function.php file. The developer, God bless his/her soul, says this is much better route than using a plugin. And chances are they could be right.
But as a casual user, just a couple things to think about.
If you choose to follow their directions, make sure you know what you are doing and also have a backup of that file. And, most importantly, realize that if you want to remove this function at some time, you will need to remember what you did.
Also, if you are having a site done by a designer or developer and request specific features, and they reply, sure I can, don’t be afraid to ask them if this is being done with a plugin or custom code. Why? Again, if you want to remove this at some point, or make changes to it, just understand that in most cases you will need to hire someone to do it for you.
So what’s my point? I am not saying one way or another is the best way. And if you are working with a good WordPress developer, they will take care of you. If they are there to help you down the road, and that’s how you want it, good. All I ask is that you are aware of this. I cannot tell you how many times I have had someone come to me, confused on why they cannot remove something in the sidebar. We typically find out it was hardcoded in, for one reason or another. Sometimes I think for a good reason, but for just a small amount of times, unfortunately, I learn the person did it so the client would have to depend on them.
I know that there are times when code is the only solution. And there is no problem with that. Buta lot of people come to WordPress for the mere fact that they can do things themselves, easily. They just want to manage their own site. Let’s make sure we don’t take the basic functionality away from them without them knowing it or for the wrong reason.