Just as a painter needs his brush to create a masterpiece, WordPress website and blog designers cum developers need their unique set of tools to get the job done. There are many built-in tools and plug-ins available on WordPress at your disposal. However, skilled developers do most of the work by using simple text editors.
If you are getting on to advanced level for theme development, you may need good code editors to configure the core files, change styles, edit the templates and so on. So, if you are serious about doing hand coding of your WordPress blog, it is essential to get the right text editor tool first.
“Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I may spend the first 4 sharpening my ax.” – Abraham Lincoln
To ensure that you get the sharpest of the metaphorical axes in WordPress development, let’s have an overview of some of the top code editors for professional developers to use.
Why use a code editor?
Before discussing the actual tools, let’s have a quick look at why you need a specialized code editor in the first place.
Depending on your needs in design and development, code editors can play vital in ensuring that you get all must-have features included on your blog or you can add those features through extensions. Some of the major features to consider when using a professional code editor include:
You may already be accustomed to this feature while texting on your phone or using basic word processors. As the name suggests, auto-complete will help the hand-coders to write codes without the need to type each instance entirely. As you start typing, the text editors will show suggestions, and you can choose the one that meets your needs to save time and effort.
2. Various programming language support
3. Syntax highlight and layout options
When it comes to scripting, programming, and using markup languages, it is very useful to have automatic highlighting feature. Professional text editors will highlight various elements in the code syntax in different colors. This feature makes it easier for the developers to differentiate the codes and spot syntax errors. Some code editors also have additional layout options such as automatic indentation and code folding.
4. Search and replace
5. Version control
Version control is a feature to safeguard your effort. While you do continuous edits on the text editor, there is every possibility that you may go wrong at any point. Version control will help you to go back to the older version of your work and undo the mistakes. This is an essential need when you are working on bigger projects.
All these features will help to create WordPress blogs much quicker and easier.
Now let’s look into the best code editors for WordPress development. However, choosing an apt code editor from these may purely depend on your personal preferences and usage.
1. Light Table code editor
It is a free, open source code editor that you can find on GitHub. Light Table can work on all platforms like Windows, Linux, and Mac. It offers a clean interface and highly customizable extensions. The major features of this text editor are:
- Instant feedback
- Feather weight
- Fuzzy file search
- Supporting various embeds
- Syntax highlighting
2. UltraEdit code editor
It costs about $79.95 per year and supports Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. You can use UltraEdit for various programming languages such as PHP, HTML, Perl, JS, C, CPP, Python and more. Even though it is a paid tool, you can get the advantages of working with a premium product with active support and development. Key features of UnltraEdit are:
- File comparison
- Multi-pane and multi-tab editing
- Dedicated FTP client
- Syntax highlighting
- Integrated telnet / SSH
- Data and file sorting
- Editor themes
3. Atom code editor
Atom is another free, open source code editor, which is comparatively a new addition to the range of GitHub code editors. It can also work with all the main operating systems. However, it is best suited to the WordPress developers. You get many customizable and highly extendable features with this tool. There is a core module which has a large number of user-specific packages. The additional features include:
- Instant use code snippets
- Fuzzy search
- File system browser
- Pan search and replace
- Multiple pane views
- Code folding
4. RapidPHP code editor
- Code folding
- HTML5 and CSS3 ready
- Compatibility watch for CSS
- Search and replace capabilities
- Code snippets for easy reuse
- Mobile development support
Whichever code editor you choose for WordPress design and development, it is essential to understand the strength and weaknesses of each to enjoy maximum benefits. There are many other advanced code editors available, and choosing one will ultimately depend on your needs and budget.