If you’re building for or with WordPress, you probably have your own set of tools and plugins that you rely on to get tasks done quickly and efficiently. But as the WordPress library grows, more great plugins pop up that can make your day-to-day life easier and also help you to deliver a better experience for users.
So, here they are: the eight most popular and effective WordPress plugins for developers, to help boost your development workflow and do more with WordPress.
This is one of the most popular plugins among WordPress developers. And for good reason, considering it’s in fact a master plugin that helps you to set up and optimise your development environment.
When you activate it, Developer asks you about the type of project you’re working on – be that a plugin or a theme.
Based on your selection, this master plugin will suggest a list of useful plugins that you can activate with one click, to help get more done and work more efficiently.
Developer is free to install and use.
2. Debug Bar
Debug Bar is a simple plugin that adds a debugging menu to the admin bar. It’s useful because it makes it easier to keep track of your MySQL queries as well as PHP error notices.
The menu turns red when it detects errors on the site and it also gives you a nice, clean output of all the errors on the page. It also gives you some basic information about the current query and the contents of the object cache.
But what makes it even more powerful are the add-ons, such as the debug console, which allows you to quickly execute PHP or MySQL and see the output without affecting your website.
3. Query Monitor
Query Monitor is another popular yet much more complex debugging tool for WordPress developers.
It shows you all ongoing database queries, rewrite rules, hooks fired on the current request, PHP errors and warnings.
It’s also one of the few WordPress plugins that let you keep track of AJAX calls, REST API requests and redirects.
So if you’re working with AJAX calls and REST API requests on a regular basis, this plugin is a must-have. But if you just want basic information about PHP errors and warnings, you’re better off using the Debug Bar.
4. Theme Check
If you’re a themes developer, you can’t be without Theme Check. This popular plugin lets you test your WordPress theme to ensure it meets the latest WordPress theme standards and practices.
No matter how experienced or highly skilled you are, it’s easy to overlook things, and a simple mistake can result in your theme being rejected from the official repository.
With Theme Check you can test and review each WordPress theme you develop before submitting it to the repository. The plugin will check everything to ensure your theme follows the latest recommendations and best practices.
5. Monster Widget
If you often work with widgets, it can be time-consuming to set them up and check if they display properly in your theme.
Fortunately, with Monster Widget you won’t have to. This free plugin lets you quickly test all the core widgets in all the sidebar areas.
This is a free WordPress migration plugin that allows you to move, copy or clone a WordPress site from one location to another. It also serves as a simple backup utility.
You can use it to pull production sites to your local machine for testing and validation purposes. It also allows you to develop locally and then push the site to a server, which is useful for site releases or updates.
Duplicator offers a basic free version where you have the options to backup files and the database, database table filters, directory filters, and migration wizard.
The paid versions include more features such as scheduled backups, cloud storage, email alerts, and more.
GenerateWP includes a set of tools originally designed for WordPress developers looking to save development time by generating various snippets of code.
Now it’s being used by both experienced developers who want to reduce development time, as well as beginners who wish to get familiarised with WordPress features, coding standards and API’s.
GenerateWP is useful for generating different taxonomies, sidebars, shortcuts, custom post types, widgets, and more.
8. RTL Tester
If you’re developing WordPress themes and plugins and working with right to left text, such as Arabic, Urdu or Hebrew, this plugin is a must-have.
As the name suggests, it lets you test and preview your themes and plugins with right to left text direction to ensure everything looks in order.
RTL Tester is freely available from the repository.
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