Plugin Review: WordPress Console

This is not your average plugin for the weak of heart. This plugin is for hardcore WordPress developers who need that extra interaction with the code. WordPress Console provides exactly that: A console interface into the WordPress back end. It provides interactive testing and coding against the entire WP core, complete with all active plugins. You can quickly test small portions of your plugin without the continual “Save > Refresh > print_r($ var); die(); > Refresh” cycle we get so accustomed to using.

Download WordPress Console from

As as a WordPress Developer myself, I am not easily wowed by plugins. If they work, I often will use them. If they don’t, I build my own. That is not the case with this plugin! I was truly stunned by the features this plugin boasted. Lets look at a few:

Interactive Prompt

In its most basic usage, it works like you would expect a console app to function. You can type any valid line of php, and see the response.

>> 'hi';
 => hi
>> print 'hi';

It supports variable placement and references:

>> $  greetings = 'Hello';
 => Hello
>> print $  greetings;

Finally, it supports multi-line statements:

>> $  coolness = true;
 => true
>> if( true == $  coolness ) {
.. echo 'This is cool!';
.. }
  This is cool!

Command History

Just like in DOS or Mac/’nix Terminal, hitting the up arrow retrieves the previous command for reuse. Hitting it again gets the previous command, and so forth. Hitting down cycles through the history states the other direction.

Quick Shortcuts

  • reload, or r and enter resets the environment
  • clear, or c and enter clears the console screen
  • help, or ? prints out the help text.

Tab Completion

Ok, so I saved to coolest feature to describe last: Tab Completion. This is what makes this console so incredibly useful. Want a quick listing of all the WordPress the_ functions? Just type the_ and hit tab. The console quickly prints out all the functions available (even those from plugins) starting with the_.

Forget a specific WordPress constant? Type WP_ and hit tab.

You really have to try it out for yourself to see how much this will affect your development with WordPress.

Behind the Plugin: Jerod Santo

Jerod Santo

I was so impressed with this plugin, I got on a Skype call with its creator, Jerod Santo. Jerod is a super nice guy that is just really good at what he does. He started in computer scripting and gradually moved into heavier programming. He is a Ruby, Rails, and Sinatra guy that also does a lot of development with WordPress.

Having gotten used to the Rails console, and IRB for Ruby, Jerod wanted something similar for WordPress. The CLI for PHP just didn’t cut it for him. He searched the internet for a tool like this that he was sure someone had built, only to find that it didn’t exist yet! After doing without for a bit longer, he decided to give it a shot, and WordPress Console was born.

He has since gotten some contributions from others on Github (I actually contributed a few small changes myself!).

About Little More About Jerod

I asked Jerod what he does for fun, and the type of hobbies he enjoys. Jerod described himself as a Christian who enjoys church activities; a family guy who likes spending time with his wife and little girl; and a Geek, who enjoys extremely geeky things.

Being self-taught, Jerod is constantly learning and teaching himself new technologies. He loves jQuery, Ruby, WordPress, and is dabbling in iPhone App development.

I really appreciate Jerod for building such a great plugin, and for taking the time to give me some background into its creation and use.

Be sure to subscribe to his blog, and follow Jerod on twitter and on Github.

Video Overview

Here is a quick screencast Jerod made available on Vimeo. It does not demonstrate tab completion, but it is a great watch nonetheless.

WordPress Console Introduction from Jerod Santo on Vimeo.

A Word of Caution

Read the disclaimer when installing and ONLY use this plugin in development. Though steps have been taken to make this plugin secure, Jerod still warns that using this plugin in production could create a huge security problem.

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