Updated List of Top WordPress Development Tools

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Countless developers make their living from WordPress – authoring splendid themes, ingenious plugins, and providing custom WordPress development services and solutions to the millions of platform users on the web.

It makes sense for the industry to be extremely competitive. Providing best in class WordPress products and solutions at highly competitive prices consistently to scores and droves of WordPress users/ clients is a huge undertaking.

To help you bear the brunt, here is an updated list of top WordPress development tools in 2016, an even mix of plugins, browser extensions, boilerplates, IDEs, and more, all working for the same goal – to streamline your development process.
Take a look:

1. Theme Check

Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory

Theme Check

Everyone makes mistakes, and even with years of WordPress theme development experience under your belt, you will slip up occasionally with potentially disastrous consequences – your theme could fail the official repository’s theme review process, or cause serious complications that may take hours to fix on your clients’ websites.

Better to be safe than sorry – and with that in mind, Theme Check is a brilliant plugin to rely on for WordPress front end developers. The free plugin will check your theme against WordPress Theme Review standards (the best there are, if not the same as W3C validation), and give you a report for improvements if you’re lacking. It’s great for learners and experts alike.

2. Monster Widget

Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory

This free all in one core widget solution is a masterful piece of work. It saves you hours of effort and utter tedium of checking your theme for proper widget display. Simply put, install Monster Widget and use it to test your theme’s widget friendliness. A WooCommerce equivalent WooCommerce Monster Widget is also available for front end eCommerce developers.

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3. RTL Tester

Availability: WordPress Plugin Directory

RTL Tester

Internationalization ready themes for the win – RTL tester is a free plugin which will, as advertised, check your theme’s RTL support as well as help you during the development of an RTL enabled theme by prompting you towards good RTL stylesheet practices. It’s available in the WordPress.org plugin repository.

4. Generate WP

Availability: generatewp.com


A brilliant online collection of tools that will generate the common WordPress code snippets on demand, Generate WP is a hoot. There is a whole bunch of code generators available to take care of generating taxonomies, shortcuts, custom post types, sidebars, widgets, and even theme / plugin files that are necessary for upload on WordPress Repository.

It’s a solid set of code generators that will also help beginners learn good WordPress coding practices and adhere to standards.

5. uilang

Availability: uilang


uilang has been talked about extensively, because it’s just so brilliant.

This particular beauty adds dynamic to your WordPress front end development project in a manner altogether painless and hassle free. Essentially a programming language, albeit one that’s easy to follow and understand (Angular should take a few hints), it lets you create dynamic user interface elements, build working prototype models with Transpiler, and translate it all into JavaScript for future developers to look through (because it’s not presumptuous about its popularity). It’s free.

6. WordPress Plugin Boilerplate

Availability: wppb


You have heard of boilerplates for themes, but here’s one for plugin developers. Hallelujah.

This amazingly helpful plugin boilerplate will help you avoid all the pitfalls of WordPress plugin development which too often result in error riddled or heavy plugins that cause compatibility errors with even the default WordPress themes. Well no more of that, because WordPress plugin boilerplate will give you a solid base you can start with, ensuring adherence to good coding standards, expert implementation of API and clean cut separation of configuration and front end display of the plugin or widget. It’s a free tool.

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7. Chrome Developer Tools

Availability: Chrome DevTools

Chrome DevTools

Earlier this year, Google’s Chrome topped all charts as the most popular web browser currently in existence. So it’s safe to assume that a large chunk of the end users are browsing the web on Chrome. With that in mind, Chrome Developer Tools will help you take care of a lot of browser based testing and development of your WordPress themes and plugins. You can test your theme’s stylesheets, debug JavaScript, inspect site elements, test responsiveness, and so much more with Chrome, for Chrome (and more) users.

8. Firebug

Availability: Mozilla Add-ons

Chrome DevTools

Talking of browser extensions for developers and excluding the amazing Firebug is just plain ignorant.

This little Firefox add-on, brought to you the good folks at Mozilla foundation, is a beloved browser extension tool, packed to the brim with powerful testing and debugging features that will help your WordPress development projects to no end.

9. CodeKit

Availability: Panic Inc.


Coda 2, along with CodeKit, is an app built for developers using Mac. And these are pretty damn stunning in terms of sheer efficiency.

Not just an IDE, the CodeKit app helps WordPress designers and developers alike in building amazing things better and faster than ever before. With its drag and drop interface, the app lets you add a retinue of front end programming languages to your development project from a select list and has some extensive browser and device testing features built in. Coda 2, the mobile app, offers excellent WordPress specific development support as well.

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10.    VVV

Availability: Github


Vagrant lovers will love it. (Wow that were way too many V’s…okay I’ll stop now)

Varying Vagrant Vagrants (VVV) is a free Vagrant, preconfigured with all the features you’ll need for development of themes and plugins, or contributing to core development for WordPress. If you are unfamiliar with Vagrant, it’s a toolkit/ virtual development environment that you can set up on your local machine.

You can also use a similar deal – DesktopServer, for WordPress development projects. It’s another virtual environment that will need to be setup on your local machine and within a matter of minutes it will have WordPress installed and raring to go right at your fingertips. The free version will only let you work with three WordPress sites at a time (no multisite network), and you’ll need to upgrade to premium version to work with more sites or a multisite network.


There are way too many WordPress development tools and not enough space to list them all, but the ones listed here are the best. Make your choice wisely and stick to those until you find something truly amazing. It takes time to learn your way around an IDE or a virtual development environment after all.

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Lucy Barret

Lucy Barret is working as a Wordpress developer for an HTML to WP Conversion Company, HireWPGeeks. She is also a passionate and loves to share her knowledge with the large community of WordPress. You can follow her Company on Twitter.

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