I have been an avid Brackets user since 2013. It’s a free, lightweight, open-source code editor that is perfect for beginners and experienced developers alike. One of my favorite features of Brackets is the number of extensions available to allow users to tailor their development experience. Today, I’ll share which extensions I use to make my job as a front-end WordPress developer easier.
As the name suggests, this handy extension provides you with a preview of the colors you’re using in your files in the gutter of the file. I’ve found it can sometimes be a bit buggy if you’re using a Sass variable in partial, but the initial variable declarations work perfectly.
Brackets Icons gives a quick visual cue of the file types in your project. Choose between Devicons or Ionicons.
By default, Brackets doesn’t give you any indication of indents or whitespace. Some may see this as a shortfall, but I love it because it means I get to choose how my tabs and spaces look. Show Whitespace VS displays whitespace the same way Visual Studio does (which I’ve never used!), and I like it because it’s simple and doesn’t get in the way of my code (plus, I can see all the whitespace).
Honorable mention: Indent Guides
After using Brackets for three years, I finally figured it was about time to learn some keyboard shortcuts. This extension is great because allows sorting and filtering, so you can focus on mastering keyboard shortcuts one extension at a time. And of course, it has a shortcut! Hit Control + Alt(Option) + /
This extension is particularly great if you’ve got the entire wp-content directory under version control because it gives you the ability to customize the name of your project. Hitting Opt + P on Mac brings up a project switcher to make it even easier to toggle between projects. ?
Task Runners & Package Management
Terrified of the command line but want to use Bower to manage your front-end dependencies? No worries! Search the Bower directory, install your dependencies, and this extension will automatically add dependencies to your bower.json file, and you can easily manage where dependencies are installed by adding/editing the .bowerrc file.
Need to run a Grunt task but don’t want to leave your text editor? No problem, simply double click the task you want to run, and boom, you’re gold. The status side of the panel lets you know whether your task completed successfully, or failed with errors.
Honorable Mention: NodeJS Integration which allows you to run Gulp tasks.
This extension is a must for any WordPress developer. This adds hinting and autocompletion for WordPress theme and plugin development, and also includes hints for Woo Commerce development.
This is my absolute favorite, most-used Brackets extension. Even if you’re really comfortable using Git on the command line, this extension makes it really stupidly easy to follow the WDS motto: commit early and often. Changed files are added to the Git window, check the files to stage them, and click the commit button to commit. You can also fetch, pull, and push, and if you need it, there’s a shortcut to open the terminal.
This extension adds autocompletion for Sass variables, and will save your sanity. No need to remember variable names, or search through files to figure them out. You can also see the value assigned to the variable to make sure you’re getting the right thing (which is also good for double-checking variables are only defined once!).
This is really handy if you’re adding components to your site and want to utilize already-existing CSS classes.
I’m totally under-utilizing this extension, but it’s a necessity to help you save your sanity, and make your coding consistent. It’s especially useful for automating things like creating SCSS comment blocks, common WordPress function blocks, and CSS styles you find yourself reaching for constantly.
Say goodbye to hitting your spacebar repeatedly, and hello to Align It! With a simple keyboard command, align all your associative arrays and variable declarations.
We love [alphabetical] order at WDS, and Sort Text makes alphabetizing SCSS properties a breeze. Simply select your properties, hit Cmd + \ on Mac, and hey presto! you have alphabetized styles.
Because sometimes you need a break from writing code to look at adorable, fluffy creatures.
This list only scratches the surface of super helpful extensions available for Brackets. If you’re interested in getting started with Brackets, check out Stacy’s ode to Brackets where she outlines a bunch of other useful features and extensions. I also keep a running list of extensions I’m using in a Gist, and am constantly looking for new extensions to improve my workflow.