My Development Toolbox

Over time we all tend to build up a number of apps, programs and other bits of software and tools that we like to help us along, doing various jobs. Without them we would feel lost and therefore here is a list of the tools in my toolbox that I use when building WordPress websites.

The list below is in no particular order of importance, just what came to my mind at the time!

1. Safari

I guess this is the software that I use most on my Macbook Pro. It is one of those pieces of software that you forget about really as it is always open. Previously I favoured Chrome (it is still great) but since the web developer tools were improved in Safari I have gone back to using it. I like the integration of bookmarks and browser history across iOS devices too.

2. Coda 2

This has been my text editor of choice for a few years now. Initially I liked the FTP capabilities it had but as I have now moved on in development terms to using version control and deployment tools I rarely use these. There seems to be other (better?) ones out there but I have no problems with Coda and therefore have stuck with it for now.

3. Terminal

Until recently I have been a bit of a command line novice. In fact I would still say I am a novice but I have started using it much more when working with Git. Also as a I now have a number of WordPress plugin on the WordPress.org plugin repository I have had to get used to committing my plugins etc. using SVN through the terminal.

4. DeployHQ

As I have mentioned above, over the last 18 months or so I have moved over to deployment tools rather than relying on FTP. When doing this I researched which deployment tool to use and came across DeployHQ. I like it because I can deploy to multiple server or even server groups and it has good integrations with things like Slack which allow me to get notified when deployments have been made.

As well as this I can have committed code automatically deployed to staging or live when a commit to the repository is made. This is something that I need to refine further but certainly something I am going to look into soon.

5. GIT – Github and Bitbucket

All the WordPress websites I build I do so under version control. My choice for this is GIT and I tend to use either Github or Bitbucket (more recently) in order to have a central repository of code.

I use the Github for Mac app in order to avoid the command line as much as possible and this works for both Github and Bitbucket repositories. How I ever developed sites without having them under version control I will never know!

6. MAMP

For local development I use MAMP. Instead of investing the small sum in MAMP Pro I use the Virtual Hosts capability in MAMP in order to create local domains for developing sites on e.g. domain.dev.

Although there are other options out there at the moment, most notably Vagrant and Virtual Box, I like how MAMP works and at the moment it does the job for me and therefore I am loathe to change at this point.

7. Gas Mask

This is great little app for managing and editing your computer hosts file. This allows me to easily setup local domain names, integrating with virtual hosts.

It even allows you to have multiple hosts files and you can then switch between then when you are developing.

8. 1Password

If you are not using a password manager these days to keep all your passwords nice and strong (the longer the better here!) then I would highly recommend you do so. There are a few out there and I have been using 1Password for a while. It has mobile apps to so you always have your passwords on hand.

9. SASS

Only in the last 6 months have I started having a go with SASS. It was only when I found CodeKit (see below) that I started the experiment with SASS. It allows me to keep my CSS much more organised in a project.

10. CodeKit

Codekit is a great little app that makes compiling files such as SASS files into CSS and compressing Javascript files into minified version a doddle. Something that I found a little daunting to get those things automated has been solved brilliantly with CodeKit.

11. Toggl

As I often work with other teams on projects it is important that I track my time. Toggle has a useful desktop App that I can use to track my time and assign this to projects and clients. It also allows me to create reports on a per project or per client basis.

I also make extensive use of Slack, Skype and the usual Adobe Creative Suite etc. What do you use?

Published by

Mark Wilkinson

Lead developer & owner at Highrise Digital @highrisedigital. Develops the @wpbroadbean plugins. Former teacher.

One thought on “My Development Toolbox”

  1. Good tools. I use pretty much the same 🙂

    I use DesktopServer instead of Mamp which has some Coda integration.

    Another cool item is the Coda Codekit extension, which makes these two play nicely.

    (p.s. Great lighting talk)

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