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Toolbox of the Smart WordPress Developer: More Tools on Tuts+ Code

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Tuts+ Code is a very large platform, containing more than 5,000 tutorials or tutorial parts. Considering that the whole Tuts+ family has almost 20,000 posts as of summer 2015, we can say that Tuts+ Code has one of every four articles in the whole family. And I’m proud to be one of the lead authors of this gigantic platform.

Before I started outlining this series, I knew I had to do some research within Tuts+ Code first, because there had to be some tools that had already been covered before. I checked the tutorials and series of the last two or three years, and found a couple of WordPress tools that could have been covered within the boundaries of my series, if they hadn’t been already covered. (Ironically, the author of some of these tutorials was me.)

In this part of the “Toolbox of the Smart WordPress Developer” series, I’m going to give an overview of some of the tools that we’ve already gone through here in Tuts+ Code.

More WordPress Tools on Tuts+ Code

Without further introduction, let’s quickly remember the tools that have been “tutorialized” in the last two or three years in Tuts+ Code.

TGM Plugin Activation Library

TGM Plugin Activation Library is a close friend of developers who want or need to include other plugins in their project: This simple but very effective tool helps you bundle plugins with your own plugin or theme. It allows you to point to a local ZIP file, a remote URL or even plugin slugs in the Plugin Directory. You can choose to “require” or “recommend” the bundled plugins.

I wrote about this tool back in summer 2014, and I’m proud that my tutorial comes right after its official website and its GitHub repository in relevant Google search results.

Debug Bar & Debug Bar Extensions

There’s no software without bugs, but that doesn’t mean that you should just give up trying to clean all the bugs. Aiming for perfection and trying to make bug-free software is a good thing, and if you’re a WordPress developer, the Debug Bar plugin and its extensions will help your cause.

In his tutorial published at the beginning of 2015, Patrick Mwachugu teaches us about the famous Debug Bar and its five extensions:

  • Debug Bar: This very useful plugin helps you debug your whole WordPress installation by placing a “Debug” menu in the WordPress Toolbar, that gives out debugging information about queries, the cache and such when clicked.
  • Debug Bar Console: This Debug Bar extension installs a neat-looking console that lets you edit PHP and MySQL code within the WordPress dashboard.
  • Debug Bar Cron: This self-explanatory Debug Bar extension shows information about the scheduled events in WordPress.
  • Debug Bar Actions and Filters Addon: This Debug Bar extension lets you see which action and filter hooks are used in the current page.
  • Debug Bar List Script and Style Dependencies: This Debug Bar extension catches all the enqueued scripts and styles in the current page.
  • Debug Bar Post Types: This Debug Bar extension gives out information about all the (built-in and custom) post types used in your WordPress installation.

Developer Plugin

Also tutorialized by Patrick Mwachugu at the beginning of 2015, the Developer plugin helps developers develop better projects in WordPress. The plugin works in two simple steps:

  1. It asks you what are you developing (a plugin, a theme or a VIP theme).
  2. Once you choose what you’re developing, it recommends several WordPress plugins to help you develop your project better and faster.

The plugin also shows some useful information like whether the WP_DEBUG and SAVEQUERIES constants are enabled in the wp-config.php file. Patrick did a really good job going over this plugin, and I recommend you read it if you’re a WordPress developer.


Even though registering custom post types and taxonomies isn’t really the hardest thing to do in WordPress development, it still has some room for improvement in terms of simplicity. And SuperCPT offers just that.

In its maker’s own words, SuperCPT is “an object wrapper for Custom Post Types, Custom Taxonomies, and Custom Post Meta ‘for coders, by coders'”. (Yes, it also helps you build custom metaboxes.) I wrote about this tool back in summer 2013, and while it kind of fell between the cracks, I still think SuperCPT is a very convenient tool for beginner WordPress developers.

Advanced Custom Fields

Speaking of custom metaboxes, have you ever heard of Advanced Custom Fields?

The last tutorial I chose to mention is about Advanced Custom Fields, another extensive tool that actually does the same thing as CMB2. Joe Clifton wrote about this tool back in March 2015 and he did an excellent job both going over the basics of Advanced Custom Fields and giving some cool examples.

Wrapping Up for Today

In order to make this series more “complete”, I needed to include tutorials about other WordPress tools that have been mentioned before in Tuts+ Code. Hats off to all those who took part in writing the articles I’ve told of above!

Have you stumbled upon a tool on Tuts+ Code that I should have listed here, or do you have anything to say about the tools mentioned above? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below. And if you liked the article, don’t forget to share it with your friends!

We’re almost finished. In the next part, we’ll conclude the series with a short recap. Stay tuned!