Posted on January 15, 2013 by Curtis McHale

Must Have WordPress Plugins During Development

Every time I’m building a WordPress site, I have a bunch of development only plugins I use. Today I’ll walk you through them and tell you why I use each.

List the plugins I use in my Dev stack and why.

Regenerate Thumbnails

Ever change the sizes of images in a theme? Well, after that you need to regenerate all the image sizes for WordPress so it has the proper sizes to use in the theme. Regenerate Thumbnails makes this easy by adding a new menu item under Tools. Visit the page and regenerate your age sizes.

Debug Bar

Debug bar takes any WordPress debug notices and puts them in a much cleaner interface accessed from the WordPress Admin bar.

Debug Bar Extender

Debug Bar Extender

Debug Bar Extender adds a profiler to Debug Bar so you can more easily track what processes are taking up cycle in your development.

Debug Bar Cron

WordPress Debug Bar Cron

This has one simple function, extend Debug Bar with all the information about the WordPress Cron processes. Want to see what items are running on what schedule. Just hit the tab here and you’ve got all the information you need.

Log Deprecated Notices && Log Deprecated Notices Extender

WordPress Log Deprecated Notices

These two work together. Log Deprecated Notices keeps a log in the WordPress admin for any functions that are being used on your site but are deprecated. Extender, just puts a notification in the WordPress admin bar so you don’t have to dig through the admin to find the information.



More and more I’m building sites with many user permissions. Yes you can scan your code to see what capabilities are set for a user, but Members provides an easy visual representation of the capabilities for each role in WordPress. I don’t use it to change user capabilities, just to check what they are and that my changes worked.

User Switcher

User Switching

No it’s not that hard to change between user roles by signing out, then in, but User Switcher makes the process even faster. Visit the standard WordPress Users page, hover over a user you want to test and click the ‘Switch To’ link. You’re now testing as a different user. When you want to switch back to your normal user access it from the WordPress Admin bar.

Theme Check & Plugin Check

Theme check was written for the WordPress Theme Reviewers, and it runs all the standard theme review items on your theme. Run it to make sure that your following best practices even in your client work.

Plugin check, does the same thing for your plugins. It runs an automated scan of all your plugins checking that they conform to best practices.

Now neither of these will catch all errors. It’s entirely possible to write bad code that doesn’t get flagged. If your themes and plugins pass, you can be fairly sure that you have something starting on the right foot at least.

Of course on top of these plugins I always turn on WP_DEBUG in my WordPress wp-config.php file.

Do you have any development plugins I’m missing?

Becoming a WordPress Development Professional

If you liked this post, then you’re probably going to like my book on Becoming a WordPress Development Professional. This content was originally written for the book.