I think the deepest way of learning something is by attempting to write about it or to teach others and since I was out-of-date with this subject I’ve decided to do a freshup about what a WordPress plugin or theme should contain in its development repository.
Let’s start with an obvious spoiler for people who are just starting in this field, in order to build a modern stack of tools for WordPress development you need to have on your device things like:
- git – if you want to be modern
- svn – if you want to publish on wordpress.org
I also think that your life would be easier in the WordPress development world if you understand the basics of:
- NPM / Yarn
I want to say that the most important thing nowadays is to have a WordPress environment ready to start a click and even if the coolest thing at the moment is Playground(which is useful to end users), I’m rather happy to talk about the @wordpress/env npm package which is more useful to developers.
This npm package relies on Docker to start a WordPress instance as fast as you can blink. It can start a WordPress site based on a certain configuration held in the
.wp-env.json file which looks like this:
No more docker-compose headaches, no more different setups between developers, and hopefully, we will hear the phrase “But it works on my machine!” fewer times.
This is just a glimpse of what it can do, and maybe the first thing that comes to your mind is “Hey, I can replace Xamp or LocalWP with wp-env” which would not be wrong at all. Basic configurations are possible like:
- PHP version.
- WordPress version.
- List of plugins to start with.
- The theme of the started site can be local or from the WordPress repository.
- Local port to start on.
But in my opinion, the most important thing is that it opens the possibility to run scripts, unit tests, code coverages, or continuous integration/continuous delivery way easier than ever. Some advanced things we will be able to do with wp-env:
wp-clicommands at different lifecycles of the instance.
- Import settings or content before starting the website.
- Compile assets, check coding styles, or do anything within the npm run spectrum before starting the instance. Basically, prepare the product for production before testing it.
- Run Unit tests or end-to-end tests.
- Xdebug and IDE support is available. This should make things easier to debug.
- PHP and Apache custom configurations.
All of these combined with the power of GitHub actions will help you make a production setup that will make even some big corporations envy you.
By the way, all of this is free and open-source 😉
Assuming you have Docker running and NodeJs installed on your machine it is surprisingly simple to start a WordPress instance.
First, we need to make sure we have
wordpress-env installed globally, so we open the terminal and run this only once:
npm -g i @wordpress/env
Whenever you need a WordPress instance with a user
admin with password
password just run this:
npx wp-env start --update
Here’s a preview, isn’t this the fastest way of running a testing ground?
Note: This preview comes from a macOS environment, but I’ve been testing it on a Windows machine with Docker and WSL 2 and it works as well as on my Macbook.
I wanted to write a long article with many examples of how could we use this tool but now I’ve changed my mind. I will end this one right now and I’ll come back with articles on some specific examples of how to use the
@wordpress-env package because I feel like each example would require a better description.
Let’s keep up with this list:
- To be continued