WordPress Development Workflow

When I work with WordPress, I am still a ruby coder in a PHP environment. I spent several years doing PHP only and have watched the language develop nicely, but still like to focus on Concept/Design, CSS3, Ruby and JavaScript when I’m doing web development work. In the hope that someone might benefit from my workflow, I’m sharing my basic setup.

First, I work on a Mac, so my workflow is fundamentally BSD based and ruby-centric due to my background.


I use the following tools:

  • rvm enables a custom and tailorable environment
  • Bundler makes it easy to get the dependencies I need — huge timesaver
  • MAMP probably easy to do this from scratch, but MAMP is free and a pretty convenient package for Apache, Mysql and PHP
  • Compass Really good sass/css minification
  • Guard (with LiveReload) every time I update a file, a bunch of cool stuff happens and I can see the results in my browser
  • CoffeeScript a beautiful way to write javascript
  • Juicer A good way to combine and minify css
  • Chrome The webbrowser with the amazing developer toolset

Making it work

First, I want to establish multiple database entries. To do this I needed to activate virtual hosts and php5 from /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf. I uncommented the following lines.

LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5.so
# Virtual hosts
Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

It is important to note that I had to change the url in order to get a successful login in wp-config.php:


I also had to change the DBHOST to match the alias in my /private/etc/hosts file:

define('DB_HOST', ''); # not define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');

Since my /private/etc/hosts has: theboohers.org.dev

which resolves to the following virtual host: (in /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf):

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot "/Users/tim/Sites/wordpress_themes/theboohers.org/public_html/"
    ServerName theboohers.org.dev
    ErrorLog /Users/tim/Sites/wordpress_themes/theboohers.org/logs/error.log
    CustomLog /Users/tim/Sites/wordpress_themes/theboohers.org/access.log combined

In order to override the default httpd.conf file, I created a user file, tim.conf in /private/etc/apache2/users/tim.conf

<Directory "/Users/tim/Sites/wordpress_themes/">
Options Indexes MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
Allow from all

I used SCP to pull down my files from the working server, but had to update my .htaccess by adding Options FollowSymLinks to the top:

Options FollowSymLinks
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

Now, I need to get my workflow down. This involves Guard, Compass, and Juicer. This is the part I think most folks are going to pay attention to:

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