The Best WordPress Tools for Developers, Designers, and Consultants

22 August 2013

Chicago: Explore this list of WordPress tools that designers, developers and consultants can employ to write plugins, develop themes, and match up with team members and clients.

Dig into the WordPress codex and begin writing your own plugins and get comfortable with the code behind the ever-evolving WordPress platform.

Viewing PHP code in your cPanel’s file editor can only go to this point before you want to employ real-world tools that expert WordPress designers, developers and consultants use. Rather than doing a continual Google search, you can reach out to the WordPress community to learn which tools experts use to drive their businesses.

Integrated Development Environments and Text Editors

If you are writing code, you need a good text editor. For instance, you are working with NetBeans for your development projects, and like built-in FTP features. Many of the development tools in the table below support FTP within the editor, besides database and version control software.      

MySQL database management tools

For the WordPress developer, knowing the underlying MySQL tables and supporting data is an obligation. Popular hosting accounts such as Bluehost and HostGator offer myPhpAdmin to manage the database. However, the client-based tools for query execution and basic table changes.

Local WordPress hosting environments

When creating on a WordPress platform, you have the option of using a hosted account or working faster by running your own local Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP environment (LAMP). Macintosh, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (MAMP), XAMPP, and DesktopServer offer local installations of the common LAMP configuration.

You can run MAMP on your MacBook Pro, and work locally which saves time when migrating PHP files and images.


Other useful WordPress development tools comprise screen capture tools, FTP utilities and debugging tools. Firebug is a vital tool when you're attempting to tweak a theme before editing the CSS file. Its live editing capability, guarantees you edit the correct CSS tag and are contented with the result before you start editing your child theme or modifying a custom.css file

WordPress plugins

Numerous WordPress plugins are must-have tools. In my unofficial talks with developers, Gravity Forms is the most referenced plugin, as it lets developers to set up a base form and then extend it for more complex functionality.

Project management and collaboration tools

Developers, designers, and consultants don’t work in a vacuum -- projects often need collaboration and coordination with clients, freelancers, and distributed development teams. When asked someone about the popular tools used their website design company, the reply was:

“We use Basecamp, GitHub, Dropbox, and Amazon for some backups. We could not live without Basecamp and GitHub. Every project, regardless of type, is in Basecamp. Basecamp manages to-do lists, time tracking, and file transfers. Any coding files that require collaboration are housed in GitHub. Since we have a virtual team these software packages are priceless to me. Between Basecamp, GitHub, and Skype my virtual team feels like they are across desk and not all over the globe.”

If you are a WordPress freelancer involved in the business side of WordPress, then you need to listen to the MattReport, a WordPress podcast for entrepreneurs, startups, and freelancers.  Matt Medeiros is the host of the MattReport, and each interview provides a “What's in Your Toolbox?” section where WordPress developers and consultants account their preferred software tool to supervise their day-to-day activities. Within Matt’s company, Slocum Design Studio, his team uses Trello, GitHub, and Droplr to team up, share files, and manage client projects.

Read more: WordPress Web Development Chicago

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