Developer Tools For Custom WordPress Development

What do I do at my day job? I make custom WordPress themes and plugins. Four years ago I was still using Dreamweaver as my primary developer tool but, these days, I’ve updated the tools in my toolkit. (Just as a warning, I’m on a MAC these days so not everything listed here is PC-friendly.)


Sublime Text

Good-bye Dreamweaver and hello Sublime Text! Sublime Text has everything I want and more! Out of the box there are cool shortcuts (that I wish I could use in Google docs or Scrivener when I’m writing) and quite a few colour schemes. (I go between Monokai Bright and Mac Classic depending on if I’m teaching in front of an audience or not. Monokai Bright is great but it isn’t as legible as I’d like on a big screen sometimes.) But the real strength of Sublime Text lies in how customizable it is and the packages you and download! Simply install Package Control and you open up a world of functionality!

My favourite packages are:

And, of course, I recommend going through Perfect Workflow in Sublime Text on Tuts+!

Sequel Pro

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Otherwise known as ‘pancakes’, because of it’s humorous icon, Sequel Pro is my go-to for interfacing with MySQL databases.


Out of the box, MAMP is probably the easiest of the three to set up on your local machine. I splurged and bought the paid version so I could set up my own urls. Recently I’ve begun to use Docker and Vagrant as alternatives and I’m not exactly sure which I prefer, yet.

Docker was easier to set up than Vagrant but that might be because my computer constantly asks me to sudo before I do things for Vagrant. Either way, both represent a new way for me to look at how to run a local server and I’m catching on fast.


Confession time, I do all of my git commands from a terminal. However, if I were to make the switch to an app I have been told Git Tower is the way to go!


Filezilla does what I want and it does so without being fussy about it. It’s a great FTP client!


Sorry Photoshop. Sayonara Illustrator. Sketch is taking over and I’m not at all sorry for that! Photoshop & Illustrator has always felt like overkill to me for making web designs. I used to do all of my design work in Fireworks but, now that I’m not a designer anymore, I use whatever my designer has created a file in.

Now that our designers are moving to Sketch at work? I am in luuuurve with it! You have got to love software that automatically works in vectors, has symbols like Flash, and was, seemingly, created with UX design in mind!

It’s a bit pricey with the CAD dollar as low as it is right now but it’s not software I’d regret buying any time soon!

Image Optim

With the rise of mobile browsing there’s been an increase in the need for speed. When it comes to crunching down images I like using Image Optim.


There you have it! The tools I use on a daily basis as a senior web developer working on custom WordPress themes and plugins.

What are some of the tools you like using for WordPress development?

Developer Tools For Custom WordPress Development