As with most frontend design/developers, my introduction into WordPress theme development had modest beginnings. It all started with modifying a theme, then another, and another and so on. Each time I would dive deeper into the code as I grew more and more familiar with WordPress theme development. Needless to say, I ran across many different approaches to theme development which was good and bad for different reasons. It was good, because I could see many different styles of coding. But, also bad in the sense that this made it more difficult to understand “the right way” to do things.
Finally, one day I decided to grab WordPress’ default theme, literally named Default, strip out the styles and go to work making my own theme. This was great and lead to changing PHP code around, writing new functions in my functions.php, etc. This was also when I discovered another valuable resource, the WordPress Codex. I admit that much of it looked like Greek to me when I first started using it, but I have grown to love that site and the people that keep it up to date.
Enter WordPress Theme Testing
This was all great and I had everything I needed until I began selling themes to multiple people. For the longest time, longer than I would like to admit, testing meant me banging on things trying to find all the bugs. This is good and should still be done, but I am now incorporating other testing strategies into my workflow. This has many benefits and setup is less painful than you might think.
WordPress Content Testing
One of the biggest head smack goofs that I would make when launching a new theme is failing to style a type of content. Maybe my test site didn’t have a blockquote element anywhere, so I had no idea I had forgotten this. So, I would get an email from a customer asking what the problem was. I typically respond quickly to customer inquiries and situations like this aren’t usually a big deal. But, it does cost time to find and fix the problem (which I would have done anyway), time to bang on it again before sending it out, time to get the new release ready and so on. While these tools may not prevent you from shipping faulty code, they will point out very specific things that you should cover.
“A fantastically exhaustive set of test data to measure the integrity of your plugins and themes.” WP Test is a WordPress import file that will truly test many different elements and WordPress features for you. Just import this file and quickly see what you missed.
The theme check plugin is an easy way to test your theme and make sure it’s up to spec with the latest theme review standards. With it, you can run all the same automated testing tools on your theme that WordPress.org uses for theme submissions.
This plugin allows you to quickly swap between user accounts in WordPress at the click of a button. You’ll be instantly logged out and logged in as your desired user. This is handy for test environments where you regularly log out and in between different accounts, or for adminstrators who need to switch between multiple accounts.
Adds a debug menu to the admin bar that shows query, cache, and other helpful debugging information.
So that is the skinny on where I am with WordPress testing tools. I am always looking for new ways to grow my stack, so let me know if I missed your favorite tool.
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