Some plugins greatly enhance WordPress’s functionality, others allow for greater control of the dashboard, and some, like Advanced Code Editor, just make your life a lot easier when you’re working behind the scenes but in WordPress Dashboard.
Inside WordPress you have the ability to directly code plugins and themes. Edit, alter, fix, whatever. From the Appearance menu, select Editor (same location in the Plugin menu). Which is awesome in itself, you don’t have to FTP to the server and pull the appropriate file, code it, then upload it to test – saving you lots of time. Word of warning, changes can get overwritten with an update to the theme or plugin.
BUT it’s pretty basic editing. You get to type in the code, save it, and look up functions on the WordPress.org site. hmmmm. If you’re at all serious about actually getting into the code you’ve probably got a code editor you use that has a bunch of features that make it easier to do the job. And that’s where Advanced Code Editor comes in. It transforms this:
Pretty snazzy with actual options and help included too. My favourite features are:
- Line numbering. See what I did there.
- Find and Replace.
- Colour Coding.
- Full screen mode (sorta, you still have the dashboard menu and esc will get you out of it) with different colour themes for those people who like changing things up.
- Versioning. ‘
And if you’re finding that the quick changes you want to do are adding up to a lot of changes making you wish you were working in your own favourite code editor you can download the whole plugin or individual file of the plugin right from the Advanced Code Editor interface saving you a few minutes. It has a few basic options that you can turn on and off, like line wrap and tab size (number of spaces a tab is), and others.
Will it replace your desktop code editor? Umm, probably not. I’ve basically gone over all of its features here, so it’s not the end all be all of PHP code editors. Will you find it a really handy interface improvement to do some quick and dirty fixes to a file or two? You betcha. Hey, it beats a basic text window that’s for sure, and sometimes, that’s all you need. Plus, I like staying close to the WordPress Dashboard, so the more I can do there the better.
I can tell it’s become an essential plugin when I’m are working on a site that doesn’t have it installed and it looks like the Dashboard is broken.
UPDATE: Installed it and it’s not working? Check your security plugin – you may have disabled editing code in the backend which turns off this plugin too since you won’t have the ability to see let alone use, your backend editor. Thank iThemes for that. Sure I get it, you don’t want anyone in your backend to be able to edit code but this should be at a user level, not a site wide, setting.
Other than that, Advanced Code Editor. Install it. Use it occasionally. Like it a lot.