WordPress plugins for developers

10 Free WordPress Plugins for Developers (Must-Have)

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Everyone working with WordPress code should have a set of nice and functional WordPress plugins for developers in his or her workflow. Of course, a good deal of it is a matter of personal preference too – a code editor that works for you just might not be so functional or helpful for me, and vice versa. In fact, even extremely popular services such as GitHub are not preferred or loved by a vast number of developers.

When it comes to WordPress as well, the story is no different. You might have your own set of tools, libraries and WordPress plugins for developers that you rely on when building for or with WordPress.

However, there are certain plugins that are really a must-have. So in this roundup, I have enumerated 10 WordPress plugins for developers, to help you improve your development workflow and do more with WordPress:

Free WordPress plugins for developers:

1. Developer

There cannot be a better name for a plugin that is meant to help WordPress developers do better. Developer is not really an end plugin, but rather a master plugin that helps you set up and optimize your development environment.

Once you activate it, Developer asks you about the kind of stuff you are developing – plugins, themes, and likewise. On the basis of your selection, this plugin offers you a list of useful plugins that you can activate with one click, to help you do more and work efficiently.

For example, if you are a WordPress theme developer, Developer will suggest you to activate Theme Check plugin (mentioned later in this post), and so on.

 You should use Developer if:  You wish to have a master page wherein you can activate or deactivate other development related plugins, or are just getting started with WordPress development and need a WordPress plugin for developers to ensure that your environment and variables are properly configured.

2. Debug Bar

Debug Bar is a simple plugin that adds a debugging menu to the admin bar. The debug menu can be used to show useful debugging information, such as details pertaining to query and cache.

Debug Bar can keep track of your MySQL queries as well as PHP error notices.

 You should use Debug Bar if:  You need a solution that makes it easier to find PHP notices and warnings, and other queries.

3. Query Monitor

Much like Debug Bar, Query Monitor too is a debugging plugin for WordPress coders. However, it goes way beyond Debug Bar and offers a lot more than just that.

Query Monitor lets you view all the ongoing database queries, as well as the rows being affected. You can also view rewrite rules, hooks fired on the current request, PHP errors and warning and even template filenames and parts. Furthermore, Query Monitor is one of the very few WordPress plugins for developers that let you keep track of AJAX calls, REST API requests and redirects. So if you are working with the WP REST API plugin, Query Monitor can prove to be very useful.

 You should use Query Monitor if:  You need to work with AJAX  calls and REST API requests regularly, or database operations. Note that if you just need basic details about PHP errors and warnings, Query Monitor might prove to be an overkill.

4. Styleguide

Styleguide lets you customize fonts and colors in WordPress themes directly from the Customizer itself. If you wish to make appearance-related changes to your website without having to dig deeper in code, Styleguide is the perfect plugin for you.

Styleguide lets you choose from Google Fonts, and different character sets and colors for customizing your website. You can add support for additional themes as well.

 You should use Styleguide if:  You require a simple solution for changing fonts and colors in the Customizer. Even more so, you should consider adding support for your themes, so that your end users or clients can make simple changes by themselves.

5. Theme Check

Quite possibly a theme developer’s best friend, Theme Check is a very popular and useful plugin in its field. It lets you test your WordPress themes according to the latest coding standards and practices.

Thus, you can review and verify that your WordPress theme meets the theme review guidelines, before submitting it to the repository. This way, you can reduce the chances of your theme being rejected, and also adhere to the best coding practices. Theme Check helps you make sure your WordPress themes are up to the mark.

 You should use Theme Check if:  One of the best WordPress plugins for developers if you are a theme developer.

6. User Switching

User Switching lets you switch between user accounts in WordPress with a single click. This is especially useful if your workflow requires you to manage multiple accounts, or you wish to test and debug user privileges and roles.

All you need to do is click “Switch To” in the Users menu. You can switch back to the original account as well, and none of this requires passwords or special privileges. Of course, your original account needs to have administrator privileges for this fancy switching to work.

 You should use User Switching if:  Your workflow requires you to switch back and forth between different user accounts.

7. Advanced CSS Editor

Advanced CSS Editor is a WordPress plugin for developers that lets you write CSS code for different devices right from the Customizer itself.

You might be wondering: what is the big deal about CSS code? Jetpack too lets you add custom CSS anyway!

But this is where it gets interesting: Advanced CSS Editor lets you add different CSS code for different devices. Thus, you can have a different CSS styling for tablets, another one for smartphones, and still another one for laptops and desktops. This way, your website can look and behave differently across devices, without having to resort to a number of separate plugins.

 You should use Advanced CSS Editor if:  You wish to add custom CSS styling for different devices. In fact, this is a very handy and important plugin to have if you work with custom CSS often, even if you do need to add it separately for different devices, as you can see the changes in the Customizer live and in real time.

8. Regenerate Thumbnails

Regenerate Thumbnails is a simple plugin that lets you regenerate the thumbnails for your image attachments. This is especially useful if you have recently changed the thumbnail dimensions for your theme.

There are several other WordPress plugins for developers out there that serve the same purpose, but hardly any of them is as popular as Regenerate Thumbnails (which has over a million downloads). So if you are looking for a plugin of this nature, Regenerate Thumbnail is a wiser bet.

 You should use Regenerate Thumbnails if:  You need a straightforward solution to edit and regenerate thumbnail sizes for your images.

9. Log Deprecated Notices

If, like most developers, you too wish to stay away from obsolete and deprecated coding practices, Log Deprecated Notices is the plugin meant for you.

Log Deprecated Notices keeps track of the usage of deprecated files, functions and arguments. It can also offer alternatives to deprecated and incorrectly used functions.

 You should use Log Deprecated Notices if:  You are trying to rid your code of deprecated functions and coding practices, such as revising an older plugin or theme, or just wish to ensure that you follow the latest coding guidelines to the fullest.

10. RTL Tester

As the name suggests, RTL Tester lets you test your WordPress themes and plugins in RTL mode.

This plugin allows you to switch the text direction of your website. Thus, you can preview your WordPress themes and plugins with right to left text direction. This will help you ensure that everything looks in order.

 You should use RTL Tester if:  You work frequently with right to left text, such as Arabic, Urdu or Hebrew, and need to verify its appearance in your themes and plugins.

What do you think of these WordPress plugins for developers? Got any such plugin that I missed? Share your views in the comments below!

Writer; web dev; published author; coffee-lover; the guy behind CodeCarbon.com.