Native WordPress Debugging Tools That Don’t Require an IDE

If you’ve just happened to join up on the membership of the site and are pursuing content specifically for The Independent WordPress Developer, I recommend reading the previous post – at the very least – to prepare for content in this post.

If, however, you’re looking to catch up on the previous article, here’s a short list of everything that’s been written thus far:

  1. Local Development for the Indie WordPress Developer
  2. Databases and Tools for the Indie WordPress Developer
  3. Installing WordPress for Local Development

As we prepare to move into talking about more advanced topics such as debugging and IDEs, it’s first worth noting the tools we have tools available that we can install within WordPress that will help us with debugging issues during development.

Native WordPress Debugging Tools: WordPress

Further, these issues are not related to strictly PHP issues. These also include JavaScript issues. And to take it one step further, there are ways in which we can configure WordPress natively so that it outputs errors directly to our browser.

So before we look into error logs, IDEs, Xdebug, and so on, we’ll take a look at what we can do within WordPress itself.

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Installing WordPress for Local Development

So far, we’ve covered some things all of which lead us in setting up our local development environment. If you’ve not yet caught up, I recommend reading the previous articles:

  1. Local Development for the Indie WordPress Developer
  2. Databases and Tools for the Indie WordPress Developer

In the final article, I state the following:

Next, it’s time to get WordPress installed. It’s extremely easy, so if you’ve come this far, I’d state with confidence that the toughest part is over.

This is usually the easiest part (really), but there are two ways in which you can manage this, and I’m going to cover both. For those curious, it breaks down like this:

  • installing the latest stable version of WordPress,
  • installing the most recent nightly build of WordPress

There are reasons that you may want to use one versus the other. I tend to favor the latter when building out my own solutions for reasons I’ll cover later in the article but note that both of the above are covered in this post.

So with that said, let’s get started.

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Databases and Tools for the Indie WordPress Developer

Admittedly, the last post in this series was quite long. However, that’s not going to be how the overall series of posts articles are going to go.

Preparing a development environment is arguably one of the largest steps required, thus the need for having a lengthy, detailed guide for how to do it.

Remember that WordPress is a database-backed PHP-based web application.

This is all jargon for basically saying that it’s an application primarily written in PHP that needs a database to store its information.

As of the last post, we have the web server and PHP installed and set up, but we’re still missing the database. Luckily, the last post laid the foundation for what we need to get the database installed, set up, and ready for a local WordPress installation.

Independent WordPress Developer: MySQL Version

In addition to covering how to do that, though, I’m also going to outline tools that I find immensely useful when it comes to working with databases on your local machine.

Recall, though, that this series of articles is not meant to be theoretical, but practical. Furthermore, it’s meant to get you from having nothing to having everything you need to build high-quality, WordPress-based products in as little time as possible.

It just so happens that a lot of this time is spent getting the local development environment set up.

With that said, let’s continue and focus on what’s required to get the database set up and with how we can interact with the database server to begin creating what we need for our local WordPress installation.

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Local Development for the Indie WordPress Developer

Last week, I said that I was going to be writing a series of posts explicitly focused on practical tools for freelance WordPress developers who are looking to improve their skills.

Specifically, I will be writing about the tools, processes, and more for the Independent WordPress Developer. Thus, the goal is to provide a series of content geared towards those of you who are freelancers or who work on a team of one but are looking to apply repeatable, solid tools and practices to your workflow.

In other words, it’s about using a set of tools designed to help you create the best solutions possible for your customers (and doing so with next-to-nothing in overhead cost).

The challenge that comes with doing something like this is two-fold:

  1. It’s a lot of content,
  2. There’s a [small] learning curve.

So, yes, technically you can go to different sites or areas and learn bits and pieces about these things, but the goal of the upcoming series of posts is simple:

Focus directly on the independent WordPress developer and do so in a practical, easy-to-understand, applicable way.

And that’s what I’m planning to do in the series starting today.

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