Use PhpStorm When Developing for WordPress

The title says it all.

The marketing folks at JetBrains might have the easiest job on the planet. At other companies marketing is about spin, at JetBrains it is mostly about just telling developers what the product does.

For a detailed feature description you want to visit https://www.jetbrains.com/phpstorm/features/

Let’s keep this short and to the point

There is much to this product, too much to go through every feature and function.  After a couple years of use I am still finding something new every time I look.

The key features that WordPress theme and plugin developers will very quickly appreciate are:

  • Easy navigation access to a WordPress function’s documentation, or  the function itself, with a single click.
  • Accurate code completion for WordPress function calls, with parameter descriptions. Same for code completion for your custom code, which leads to the next point…
  • Quick automatic creation of accurate phpDoc blocks, and basic class methods.
  • Thorough inspections of phpCode for compliance with WordPress coding conventions, as well as potential PHP Issues
  • Integration of jshint and many other common tools within the development environment.
  • Integrated, zero configuration, debugging
  • Ability to configure an entire WordPress site as a project, or just an individual theme or plugin as a project. It’s not an issue to have a WordPress site with 50 plugins loaded into the IDE and indexed while coding and testing.
  • Quickly change inspection profile between one PHP version and another. General use plugins and themes have to work with PHP 5.2, so changing the version number and running an inspection will quickly tell you where your backwards compatibility issues are!

Any developer should appreciate that JetBrains updates PhpStorm product very often.  Sometimes every week. If you join the EAP program you can get these rapid updates and use them immediately.  The quality of each of these updates is really very good, and the documentation includes release notes so you can make an informed decision if a specific update is appropriate for you.

Updates include a mix of new features, performance improvements and bug fixes.  The issue database is public, and current.  Making the issue tracking information public on a commercial project shows great confidence in their product and their development team.  Any serious developer should note this, and have a high degree of confidence in PhpStorm as their IDE of choice.

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