April 2019 update: We no longer recommend the below plugin as it hasn’t been updated in quite some time and has some issues.
WordPress has a built-in editor that you can use to make changes to your theme or plugin, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty bad. Many basic features are missing such as line numbers, and code highlighting. There’s nothing like telling someone to look for one piece of code in a 450 line file without numbers.
Once activated, this plugin will replace the theme and plugin editors in your site with it’s improved ones. Here’s what the new theme editor looks like:
You’ll notice immediately that are now buttons across the top that allow you to search for a section in a file (no more visually scanning for something), and find and replace too. You can undo or redo actions and there’s even a full-screen option too. That’s a really nice feature if you have a good bit of editing to do. Saving is done via ajax which makes it quick and easy.
On the right hand side, you’ll see at the top an option for uploading new files and selecting which directory they are placed in. That’s fantastic if you’re dealing with a site where you don’t have FTP access. It’s also handy for people making child themes. With the emphasis on that in the WordPress community of late, I’m surprised the built-in editor still lacks file upload capabilities. When making child themes, you often need to add in files to replace ones in the parent theme. If you’re making a child-theme from scratch, the built-in editor is basically useless.
Also on the right, you’ll notice an ajax powered file tree. I really like this as the default editor lists all the files in one big group regardless of the folder they are in. With WP Editor you can browse through the folders that are included in your theme and find the right file. Everything is nice and organized just like the developer intended. It even has a lightbox image viewer you can use to see the images that are part of your theme too.
For those of you who use the “text” editor for your posts instead of the visual one, WP Editor can be used there too. It’ll add in line numbers, text wrapping, the ability to create tabs and even highlight the current line you’re working on. As someone who only uses the text editor, I really appreciate the enhancements it brings.
So that’s a quick tour of the WP Editor plugin. If you give it a try, let us know in the comments.