Streamline your Workflow – Useful Extensions and Programs for Working with WordPress
Working with WordPress or any content management platform can be a daunting process. From FTP transfers, to PHP edits to searching through forums for advice there are many challenges. Like any project you need the right arsenal of tools for the job and WordPress is no exception. In this article, I will outline some of the best Free extensions and programs to use when working on your WordPress sites.
Useful Chrome Extensions for Working with WordPress
Begin by installing Google Chrome. If you are still using Internet Explorer to manage your WordPress sites then you need to switch to Chrome. The unmatched speed, vast selection of extensions and expansive developer tools make Google Chrome the go-to browser for web development. A case can also be made for Firefox, but I find the developer tools provided standard with Chrome to be a little more complete and beginner friendly.
Note: The following programs are browser extensions for Google Chrome. However, many have analogs on Firefox as well. If you use Firefox feel free to look for alternatives. What’s important is the functionality, not the actual program.
To download Chrome me do a Google Search for “google chrome” or go to… google.com/chrome
Perhaps nothing is more handy than a good eye dropper tool. There are many color selection extensions available but the Google Chrome Eye Dropper is simple, easy to use, and offers great features like “picked colors history”. The Eye Dropper extension is often used for selecting colors from webpages. This tool is also very useful for duplicating color layouts, keeping a color palette for your site and finding hexadecimal codes.
To get the Eye Dropper Extension do the following…
Open the Chrome browser > Sign into your Google Account > click on the “Customize and Control Google Chrome” icon found in the upper-right-hand corner of the browser next to the star icon > Tools > Extensions > click the “Get more extensions” link and you’ll be taken to the Chrome Web Store > search for “Eye Dropper” and click “Add to Chrome” > repeat this process to add as many other Chrome extensions as you’d like
FreshStart – Cross Browser Session Manager
If you’ve ever sifted through forums looking for answers to questions or long pieces of code then you’ve likely experienced a browser window that looks something like this…
What happens if you need to leave before you’ve found answers to your questions? Bookmarking 12 tabs seems clumsy and starting from scratch is frustrating. Digging through your browser history seems even worse.
The “FreshStart – Cross Browser Session Manager” extension saves all your open tabs as a session which you can name and save for easy access at a later time. No more digging through Google results looking for those forum posts you thought you saw. Simply save your session for easy access with the FreshStart extension.
To get the FreshStart – Cross Browser Session Manager Extension do the following…
Open the Chrome browser and go to “Tools” > Extensions > click the “Get more extensions” link > search for “freshstart” > click “Add to Chrome”
Face it; sometimes you accidentally close a browser tab. It happens to the best of us. Rather than lose valuable information or waste time digging through your history to find the page simply use the “MK UndoCloseTab” extension. This tool sits in your extensions bar and when clicked it displays your most recent 50 closed tabs. Rest easy knowing that your mistakenly closed tabs can be restored.
To get the MK UndoCloseTab Extension do the following…
Open the Chrome browser and go to “Tools” > Extensions > click the “Get more extensions” link > search for “mk undoclosetab” > click “Add to Chrome”
Useful Programs for Working with WordPress
Good text editors are essential tools for web development. You want to use text editors that recognize web standard markup and scripting languages. Good text editors will color code tags so you can easily navigate code. They also make it possible to edit site files directly from an FTP client. Below are the text editors that I recommend depending if you use a PC or a Mac.
Recommended Text Editor for a PC: If you’re developing on a PC, I recommend “Notepad ++.” Notepad++ is a simple and fully functional code editor that offers more features than frankly, I know what to do with. If you’re still using Notepad then it’s time to upgrade to Notepad++.
To get Notepad++ simply to a Google search or go to… notepad-plus-plus.org
Recommended Text Editor for a Mac: If you’re using a Mac then go with “TextWrangler“. This free program offers a delightful, minimalist interface while supporting many of the features of Notepad++. TextWrangler displays your open files along with indicators for saved versus unsaved documents.
To get TextWrangler do a Google search for “textwrangler download” or go to… barebones.com/products/textwrangler
Being able to only copy/paste one thing at a time when developing for the web leads to a lot of bouncing around and wasted time. This is where advanced clipboard programs come into play. With advanced clipboard software your computer can remember dozens of items that you’ve copied over the course of a session. You can use it to store passwords, frequently used bits of code, hexadecimal values and more. Advanced clipboards are among the most useful and under appreciated tools in web development.
Recommended Advanced Clipboard for a PC: If you are using a PC I suggest the program “Ditto clipboard manager.” Ditto stores your recent clips and offers a handy search feature to find things you may have copied earlier. Ditto clipboard manager sits in your task bar for easy accessibility.
To get Ditto do a Google search for “Ditto clipboard” or go to… ditto-cp.sourceforge.net
Recommended Advanced Clipboard for a Mac: If you are using a Mac I recommend the elegant and simple “Jumpcut.” Jumpcut sits in your menu bar as a little pair of scissors. When clicked, it displays your most recent copies. Simply select one to paste it.
To get Jumpcut do a Google search for “jumpcut clipboard” or go to… jumpcut.sourceforge.net
Utilizing the proper fleet of extensions and programs can go a long way to streamlining your work-flow and getting things done more efficiently when working with WordPress. I’ve only highlighted a handful of my favorites. However, there are so many fantastic free extensions and programs available to make your time online more productive and efficient. I would encourage you to invest some time searching for more to add to your toolbox.
Do you have a favorite extension and/or program that was not mentioned above? If so, drop us a line in the comments below.