WordPress Development Tools (As Of Today)

Like anyone who reads this blog, I’m periodically asked what WordPress development tools I use. Though I realize I share things that I use now and then, I’ve never really collected everything into one place.

WordPress Development Tools: Tower

And, truth be told, this is a blog, so things change as time moves forward.

So I’m going to be dividing this post into two parts:

  1. Today, I’m going to cover the actual software I use to get work done.
  2. Tomorrow, I’ll share what it is I use regarding WordPress plugins and related web-
    specific software.

With that said, here’s the list of software and some minor commentary I use to get work done when building things both for others and for myself.

WordPress Development Tools

The reason I feel compelled to write this particular post is that I just imaged a machine yesterday and went through the tools that I absolutely use and was able to cut the cruft of the things I don’t use.

WordPress Development Tools: Visual Studio Code

With that said, here’s the list of software I use. I’m not saying these are the best tools, but I’m most productive with them, and I’ve gotten into a pretty good groove of writing plugins with them.

  1. MAMP Pro. When it comes to server software, you name it; I’ve tried it. Anything from virtual machines to installing everything on my own configuring it. But MAMP just works. Perhaps some of the more advanced developers or those who work on larger sites will critique it (and I do think virtual machines have a place on enterprise sites), this has been one that I’ve returned to at least twice now.
  2. Visual Studio Code. I’ve missed Visual Studio ever since I had to stop using it over six years ago. Code doesn’t offer the full suite of what the original IDE offers (understandably so). But through the use of its packages and integrated tools, I can honestly say it’s a lightweight IDE that does a pretty job of offering a lot of the same features of, say, PHPStorm that I’d like to use without a lot of the extraneous cruft, in my opinion.
  3. CodeKit. I know people like to use other build tools – and that’s great – build CodeKit has never disappointed me, and it just keeps getting better with each release.
  4. Sequel Pro. As much as I’ve tried to dig on integrated database systems, nothing has been as good as Sequel Pro even with remote database connections.
  5. Tower. This is my favorite Git client. I still use it in the integrated terminal from time-to-time in Visual Studio Code, but I’m a big fan of how it organizes a lot of the features Git offers and makes them easy to use (and its available for Windows now, too).
  6. Cornerstone or Versions. I recommend either of these, to be honest. Cornerstone is probably better if your organization uses Subversion and you need a powerhouse application. Versions is a bit simpler, and it works great especially if you’re focused just on, say, the WordPress Plugin Repository.
  7. Console. This is a built-in utility in macOS that I use to monitor PHP error logs and Apache error logs.
  8. Terminal. This is the standard command-line tool standby offered by macOS. I think it’s something that everyone should be familiar with using; however, if you’re IDE has it built in, then why not use it?
  9. Transmit. I’ve used this as my standard S/FTP client for years. It’s never let me down. Though I use some basic continuous integration tools, this is still my favorite standby.
  10. Paw. If you’re working with a third-party API especially if it has some type of API – especially a REST API – this makes it trivial to test out, evaluate, and examine the result of your requests before implementing them in your code.
  11. Slack. This is more or less a bonus. Who doesn’t use Slack these days? Personally, I think people are using Slack incorrectly in a lot of ways in that they use it primarily for the purposes chat. But I digress on that as it’s something that could fill its another post.

There are a lot of other peers who I know, respect, and chat with regularly who have a different set of tools. These include people like Brian Krogsgard, Josh Eaton, Andrew Norcross, Brian RichardsDaniel Espinoza, Pippin Williamson, and others.

So if you’re curious about what they use, maybe you can ask them on Twitter. 😏 But that’s my set up for now. Perhaps I’ll try to do this once a year or so.

WordPress Plugins for Performance

Tomorrow, I’ll look at the plugins I use to help evaluate the performance of my work within WordPress. And maybe I’ll do a follow-up on the importance of coding standards, linting, and so on.

This thing could go on for a while, and I don’t know if that’s all that interesting. If so, let me know via Twitter.