Developers are always on the lookout for new tools to make their coding work more effective. WordPress developers are no exception; they love tools that help them code better themes and plugins. Luckily, plenty of cool tools for WordPress developers are just a click away.
You need good tools whether you are a developer in a big agency or just a WordPress enthusiast. Nowadays, starting a project from scratch doesn’t make sense. WordPress plugins and themes are becoming more and more complex. Your success depends on the tools you use.
We know that testing new tools for WordPress developers takes time, so we did it for you. The list includes only ten suggestions, but there are certainly many other tools that deserve your attention. Add your favorite tools in the comment section if we missed adding them to this list.
Underscores.me is the most famous starter theme. Start off with this one if you want to develop WordPress themes. Visit the underscores.me website and download the .zip archive containing the basic files of the newly created theme. Imagine how much time you would waste creating all these files from scratch. Advanced developers use it to create new themes while beginners are able to study the skeleton of a WordPress theme. The project is available on Github, so you can contribute to improving the framework.
Sage is your option if you need a more complex starter theme. It’s a product developed by the skilled team of Roots, who also released Bedrock, a WordPress boilerplate, Clover, a plugin boilerplate, and Acorn, a collection of Laravel components for WordPress.
Sage doesn’t come with Acorn pre-installed, but you can install it and insert Laravel applications within your WordPress project. It requires solid skills, but it’s a necessity for any modern project.
The WordPress plugin boilerplate (WPPB) generates the basic files of a WordPress plugin. It’s similar to underscores.me, except that it’s a starter for plugins, not for themes. You simply type in the name of the plugin and a few other details, and WPPB generates the .zip archive with the plugin’s basic files. Open up your favorite text editor and start adding features to your cool plugin. This tool tracks from another cool project, WPPB.io, so you can give it a try too.
Visual Studio Code
Choosing the proper code editor is of capital importance for any developer. The positive aspect of this is that developers have a large array of code editors to choose from. Most are user-friendly, intuitive, and feature-rich. It’s hard to say that you can’t find a proper code editor for your needs. We selected Visual Studio Code amongst the many top-class editors. The cool interface, hundreds of extensions, and IntelliSense (intelligent code completion) are the main reasons for choosing Visual Studio Code.
Kinsta is a well-known WordPress hosting provider and the team behind it developed DevKinsta—a great local development tool. It seamlessly integrates with Kinsta, but everyone is welcome to use DevKinsta. It’s robust, secure, free of charge, and works on any system (Mac, Linux, Windows). More importantly, it’s a tool for developers created by developers. You develop WordPress sites in a simple and customizable local development environment. Spinning up a site is a matter of a few clicks and you have advanced tools to manage your projects. The built-in debugging system requires a technical background but is priceless. The SMTP server is also for advanced users and helps you create, test, and send emails.
Local by Flywheel
Local is a solid contender to DevKinsta that fully deserves your attention. It’s a great tool to develop locally WordPress projects. Setting a WordPress install is a matter of a few clicks and it allows deploying sites directly on Flywheel or WP Engine hosting platforms. Some cool features of Local include:
- Direct site backups on Dropbox or Google Drive;
- Support for both subdomains and subdirectories installs;
- Simple import/export of site files;
- SSH access to sites;
- Configurable PHP versions;
- Automatically generated SSL certificates.
This is one of the most helpful tools for a WordPress developer. Instead of tirelessly writing code snippets, GenerateWP does the legwork for you. It creates code for core, design, admin, content, query, and general parts of a website. Coding becomes simpler and faster with GenerateWP, so you should add it to your toolbox ASAP.
Consider upgrading to a premium account for more types of snippets, unlimited storage, and the possibility of keeping the snippets private or public.
This is not a per se tool for developers, but it’s a precious resource in many situations. It provides a complete report about any website that piques your interest. Simply type in the URL of a website and BuiltWith can give you a detailed report about the technologies, widgets, frameworks, themes, and plugins used. It also reveals the hosting platform, server name, and many other useful bits of data. BuiltWith is the ideal tool to study the competitors and learn from their strengths and weaknesses.
Running commands directly from your terminal looks cool! People associate typing commands in a terminal to hackers; plenty of movies include scenes of hackers typing ultra-fast in the terminal. The reality is that developers barely type in a few characters per minute, and many times they are unsure about the result.
WP-CLI is the command-line interface for WordPress. It’s one of the best tools for a WordPress developer as it saves a lot of time. WP-CLI allows users to perform many commands that aren’t allowed in the dashboard. Use WP-CLI instead of going to the WordPress admin dashboard, the PhpMyAdmin section, or connecting to the site files via an FTP agent.
Automattic sponsors the Query Monitor plugin, which should be enough to convince you that it’s worth your attention. Its main purpose is to inspect and debug elements of a website like:
- Database queries
- Theme template files
- Hooks and actions
- HTTP API calls
- PHP errors.
Query Monitor isn’t a plugin for casual users, but it’s golden for advanced developers.
Over to You
Have you ever used any of the above tools? Do you have a suggestion to place in this list of tools for a WordPress developer? Let us know your secret tool by leaving a comment.