Considering my love towards techie stuff and my love for WordPress, many have suggested to me that I should start coding myself. However, considering the fact that I haven’t gone through any formal education around computers and coding, I wonder if I can go ahead and create magical themes or plugins for WordPress. I won’t deny that I’ve given a shot to programming and for that I tried to learn Flex [I know its not related to WordPress, however there was a purpose behind it] however I couldn’t do anything with it due to lack of time and motivation.
I gave a thought on learning coding using WordPress as CMS, however all was in vein and I finally gave up on coding. However, don’t get surprised if you start seeing me posting tutorials related to coding anytime soon. During those motivational hours, when I tried to get my hands dirty with coding, I found out that IDEs [what the hell are IDEs?]are like “God send tools” for newbies. Although, I was equally surprised to find out that until recently there hasn’t been a single IDE that will be helpful in coding WordPress themes & plugins.
Note: Don’t Forget to check out the Big Question at the end of the post!
There have been only few IDEs, some of them are not known at all and all of them are commercial as well. Its definitely another surprise that WordPress, one of the most popular Open-Source CMS in the world doesn’t have any customized Open-Source IDE. We’ll surely discuss that further however, for now let us see the available IDEs for WordPress -
ThemeDreamer is a Plugin for Dreamweaver that helps in coding for WordPress. The plugin is fantastic and provides WordPress functions as code hints as well. This is one feature that can surely help newbies to quickly learn the coding without worrying about remembering tons of available functions. The down side of ThemeDreamer is that its dependent on DreamWeaver [there is a positive as well, due to this it works on Mac & Windows] and which costs a fortune in itself and on top of it one needs to buy this plugin too. So if you are one of those who want to learn things without spending a single buck, then this is way too out of your budget.
Another reason, why this plugin fails to impress is that it is not up to date and probably one of the reason is that DreamWeaver CS5 supports WordPress & Drupal code hints. But then, there will be a dent of $400 if you buy CS5, although $0 if you plan to take the other route.
2. CodeLobster with WordPress plugin
CodeLobster is another IDE that provides WordPress functions although I’ve heard not so great reviews about this software. It doesn’t cost as much as Dreamweaver although when we talk about value for money, it doesn’t look like an impressive solution. To give you an idea about what users think about this IDE, i’ve taken this quote from its review by SoftPedia Editor -
As I thumb up, the autocomplete and function info options are to mention. They need work, but its a good start. Conversion options are also interesting, not something you find everywhere. I liked the interface: typical but clean and easy to use. Online help is available, for whenever you’re in need. CodeLobster is small and easy to install (unlike specialized platforms).
I’m sorry to say this, but it still needs much work. If for web development some interesting features are implemented, for other languages (Java or SQL, for instance) support is perhaps too much said. I’ve seen better freeware, so…more is needed! Spellcheck wasn’t exactly OK either and the menu could have been better organized. “Best” for last: unexpected errors occurred for no reason. This is not acceptable for a shareware product.
Well, if you are looking for the perfect code editor, you probably shouldn’t stop at CodeLobster. The intensions are good, but I feel it needs much more work to justify the 25 dollar fee for the license. It allows 30 days of free trial, so give it a shot.
3. Adobe DreamWeaver CS5
We’ve already talked about it and expressed our ‘not so great’ opinion because of the price associated with it. However, that was only for those who want to learn and code. Although, there is not doubt that how Dreamweaver has won the hearts of thousands of developers out there who take web development as carrier. They’ve recently integrated Auto Complete features for CMSs like WordPress, Drupal & Joomla. Its these little innovative features that keeps Adobe Dreamweaver ahead of all the other IDEs that you come across. Not only it has matured with time, it is currently best known commercial IDE for web development.
Check out DreamWeaver CS 5 in Action -
What are Open-Source Alternatives?
Now comes the big questions, is there any open-source IDE that gives Code hints for WordPress? Well, the answer is NO! There are various Open-source IDEs like NetBeans, Eclipse, Aptana etc. however, none of them provides code hints for WordPress. There aren’t any commercial plugins either for any of these.
Don’t you think that there should be an open-source IDE for popular CMSes like WordPress? Don’t you think that much more development will take place and more newbies will start to adapt these CMSes if they’ll see that switch can be easier through IDEs? Always eager to hear your thoughts so please take your time to leave a comment!