31 WordPress Development Tools

Better tools improve your life now.

15 mins saved, another headache avoided, etc.  Development tools rock.

There are loads of tools for WP developers available that can dramatically enhance the way you work.  We’ve picked out a few exceptional WordPress development tools and categorized them for you below.

Learn how to create your first WordPress theme from scratch in my brand new course: View the course.

Text Editors

WP Bundle
PHP Storm No Linux, Mac, Windows Free – $199
Sublime Text Yes Linux, Mac, Windows $70
Netbeans Yes Linux, Mac, Windows Free
Coda 2 Yes Mac $75
Espresso No Mac $75
TextMate Yes Mac $54
Notepad++ No Windows Free
TextWrangler No Mac Free
Brackets No Linux, Mac, Windows Free
Aptana Studio 3 Yes Linux, Mac, Windows Free

There’s a wide variety of text editors for WordPress developers regardless of the platform you use.

Local WordPress Development Environments

MAMP Mac Free to $59
XAMPP Linux, Mac, Windows Free
DesktopServer Mac, Windows Free – $49.95
InstantWP Windows Free

I’m a big fan of InstantWP.  It automatically sets up a portable development environment and populates the WordPress install with dummy content.  It’s very useful for theme or plugin development.

Debugging Tools

WordPress Plugin
Chrome Console No
Firebug No
Debug Bar Yes
Debugger Yes
Theme Check Yes

Every WP developer should use at least two of the above tools.  The Theme Check plugin may not be relevant to your use case, but it’s an invaluable WordPress theme development tool.

Plugin & Theme Development Tools

Developer Plugin “A plugin, which helps WordPress developers develop.
Shortcode Ultimate Supercharge your WordPress theme with mega pack of shortcodes.
Theme Demo Bar Allows any WordPress theme to be previewed without activating it.
Preserve Code Formatting Preserve formatting of code for display in WordPress
Responsive Select Menu Automatically turns any WordPress 3 Menu into a select box / dropdown on mobile devices.
Synchi A full IDE inside your WordPress

The Developer Plugin is fantastic because it’s the single tool you need to configure your development environment.  The other developer tools listed just make life a bit easier.

Other WP Developer Tools

Lastly we’ve got a few other WordPress tools and a few business tools for WordPress developers as well.

GenerateWP Creates custom and high quality code for your WordPress project
Font Awesome The iconic font designed for Bootstrap
PressTrends Analytics for WordPress Users & Developers
Less & Sass Dynamic behavior for CSS
Codekit THE Mac app for web developers

Related Posts

  1. Thx for the Post

    Aptana and WPengine ist not running with SFTP 😉

    or am I wrong?

    Best wishes

    • Hi Thomas,

      Not sure if there is a conflict between them, but I have no problem using SFTP with WP Engine via FileZilla.

  2. Ben Sibley,
    Thank you very much. Which one server is better for windows? InstantWP or XAMPP?

    I think you will response my question.

    • I would get started with InstantWP since it’s so fast to setup. Then you can eventually switch to XAMPP in the future.

  3. Default ‘Inspect Element’ feature on firefox is not very easy – however it does have lot more interesting features – especially 3D view to inspect ‘z-index’ levels & then testing mobile responsive widths.

  4. Great resource! I’ll surely bookmark this. Thank you for the tools! I’m going to try your suggestions right away!

  5. Per Mattsson Per Mattsson

    I would recommend BBEdit for anyone running MacOS.
    It’s the bigger and more competent sister of TestWrangler.

  6. Gerard Gerard

    I just started with Local from Flywheel.
    It’s realty easy to setup a wordpress develop environment with a url like my-wp.dev on your local machine.

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