I’ve done it once again – updated my web site at Bob Rockefeller Photography to another platform with other tools. Maybe you’re curious about which ones?
At the base is the old friend, WordPress. For as many bad things as I can (and have) said about it, I have to admit that it is a powerful and well supported foundation for building websites. It’s not as sexy as Meteor nor as simple as Kirby, but it can do a tremendous amount and powers a huge portion of the websites currently running. So Bob Rockefeller Photography is back from a number of alternative suitors and is running on WordPress.
Staying comfortable with another old friend, I did all the coding with Coda 2. That is still a solid development environment, with the proper Macintosh integration and the support of an excellent developer (Panic). I’ve written about Coda 2 before, several times, so I won’t go over that all again. Suffice it to say that I learn more of its features, and improve my configuration of it, the longer I use it. Sublime Text is the current programmer’s darling, I know, but it is just too homely and un-Mac-like for me. And support from the developer? Don’t get me started.
Also very helpful, and also from Panic, is my FTP client of choice – Transmit. It is just so good at accessing files and syncing directories, that I use it even in preference to Coda’s FTP tools.
Iterating design and debugging unexpected problems are part of the web development process. Making that smooth is Google’s Chrome browser and LiveReload. I’ll be back using CodeKit as soon as it supports Sass source maps of the format that Chrome wants for its web inspector tools, but LiveReload will work with Sass 3.3 prerelease versions now. Another nice tool, that handles the PHP debugging chores, is CodeBug. If you need to debug PHP code on the Mac, get it.
Saving some of the good stuff to the end, I have to make a point of the powerful theme framework Genesis 2, from StudioPress, that handles so much of the display work for the site. There are essentially uncountable themes available for WordPress and there are many, many theme frameworks to choose from. I’ve worked my way from Genesis 1, through iThemes Builder and WooThemes Canvas, and now back to Genesis in version 2. But it’s hard to beat the combination of leading-edge markup (it’s full-blown HTML5), technical support and community participation that make Genesis an ecosystem worth developing in.
Finally let me mention the new tool in my WordPress arsenal, WP Migrate DB Pro. This one is clever. One of the pains of WordPress development, if you want to develop on a local server, deploy to a staging server, and when everything is right, deploy to a production server, is keeping the MySQL database behind the WordPress install in sync. BackupBuddy let’s you move the whole mess in one giant file, but that sure seems like overkill if you have just made a few changes in the WordPress Admin area. WP Migrate DB Pro lets you pull and push database changes between servers whenever you need to without having to dump, delete and upload the whole database every time.
I use BackupBuddy to get the main parts of the site moved once the main development work is over. After that, I use WP Migrate DB Pro for whatever other changes need to be made along and along.
So, if there’s a pain point in your development workflow, maybe one of these tools or utilities would smooth that out.