I’m always looking for ways to speed up my development time when creating WordPress themes – whether it’s theme templates, Coda clips, or using both computers to make things go faster. Here are a few things I do to automate my WordPress workflow, from the initial PSD slicing to uploading the final product.
Basic Theme Template
You may have already seen my WordPress Starter Theme. This isn’t a framework, and it doesn’t work right out of the box. Instead, it gives me a blank theme to start from with all the necessary files and functions I almost always use.
Using Two Computers, or Mac OS X’s Spaces
I have two Macs on my desk – a 20″ iMac and a white 13″ MacBook. I find it easiest to open the HTML file in Firefox on the MacBook – whether it’s on a server, or on my iMac – and use the other for the PSD and coding. I utilize two spaces on the iMac (and three when I don’t use the MacBook) – the first for the PSD, and the second for Coda, or whichever program I’m using to write the code.
I use Panic’s Coda, which is an all-in-one text editor and FTP editor available for Macs. It has a feature called “Cips” that lets you store code snippets that can be called just by typing a few user-defined letters and hitting the Tab key. With the latest Coda update, clips can now be stored as groups as well as imported and exported. Thanks to this addition we’ve created the WordPress Coda Clips collection, which includes a ton of WordPress tags that can be pulled up with a few keystrokes.
A “Proper” WordPress Development Installation
It’s easy to set up your own WordPress installation to test your themes on, but an out-of-the-box installation won’t do much by itself. You need pages and subpages, categories and child categories, lots of posts, and various HTML tags in those posts to create a great theme. We released the Sample WordPress Content XML import last week that includes plenty of pages, categories, and posts so you can make sure things like images, blockquotes, and various headers are formatted before you release a theme.
What else do you do to speed up your development workflow? Let us know in the comments.