Every seasoned WordPress developer has their own trusted set of tools they can depend on. The bare essentials, when it comes right down to it, include a code editor or an integrated development environment (IDE), code linting/ cleaning/ beautifying and script/ stylesheet minification tool, a comprehensive debugging tool, a version control (project management) beast, and a development/ deployment environment to push updates to commercial plugins/ themes/ custom CMS.
If you’re starting out, you probably don’t have your tools for WordPress development straightened out yet. In this post, I have created for you a list of tools that will help you accomplish every step in your WordPress development project’s workflow quickly and efficiently.
Check out this high end, affordable list of beauties to create your WordPress development toolkit with:
1. Coda 2/ CodeKit
It’s perfectly fine if you choose to rely upon classics like Notepad ++ or TextEdit. But more often than not, even fancy, frilly features that our forebears developed without (like syntax highlighting, plugin support and integrations, version control features, code auto-completion, etc.) can cut your coding time in half.
For WordPress, the best code editor/ IDE is hands down the brilliant Coda 2 (CodeKit).
This amazing IDE is supported across various devices and platforms. It’s consistently supported and updated by the developers. And the coup de grace is that it has some great WordPress specific code completion and other features.
A debugger is the ace in developer’s stack of cards. This is the tool which lets you monitor and track the processes that are completed or failed by the source code at run time. It’s frustrating to have to ‘mutilate’ (I prefer ‘patch up’) your own code because it’s full of errors, but that’s how you learn and improve after all.
Some advanced IDEs like PHPstorm have a code debugging function built within to help you debug as you type. But for those of us who don’t use or prefer PHPstorm, a great debugging tools is Codebug.
Codebug is comprehensive, easy to use, and works well with almost any IDE and development environment configuration. It’s premium, but it’s definitely worth the price tag.
4. Git (or Subversion)
Either/ or, really.
If you have ever submitted a plugin or a theme for distribution on WordPress.org theme or plugin repositories, you already have the hang of Subversion (SVN). But Git is equally good (if not better) at version control as Subversion is (especially if the growing popularity of GitHub and Bitbucket is anything to go by).
Either of the tools let you save your code in a central code repository for the project and monitor/ keep track of any and all changes that you or your team personnel (those who have access to the particular project repository) make to it. It also helps in easy rollback (in case one of you made a drastic error in one of the newer updates) and maintain and manage logs and backups of your projects, updates and more.
This is end of the line – the deployment tool which mimics the production/ development environment and lets you deploy the project on your client’s server with minimum hassle.
A deployment tool lets you easily push newer versions of the project (theme/ plugin) to the users, especially when used in combination with a version control tool (SVN repository like WordPress official theme and plugin pages, or Git).
CodeShip is a great service for deployment – it lets execute your scripts for building, testing, and deploying your WordPress development project from with a Git project commit/ repository. It also has a notification feature which lets you send an alert to all the theme/ plugin users that an update is ready to be rolled out/ available. The service works particularly well for hierarchical organizations with separate ‘roles’ and capabilities assigned to each.
These 5 development tools should make WordPress web development a cakewalk for you. Of course there are countless others available, but these tools are great to start with. You are obviously encouraged to create your own tookit for WordPress development as you gain confidence for the same.