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The final step in setting up a development environment on your computer is to install and set up a proper development application. While you can develop WordPress themes using a simple text editor, it's much more effective to use a full-scale IDE to do this job. An IDE or Integrated Development Environment, is an advanced text editor that has additional features like function tracking, syntax highlighting, code debugging, and so on. As you progress through this course, you'll see me using an IDE and you'll see why it comes in so handy, so getting one installed right now, off the top, is a really good idea.
Traditionally, when we speak of IDEs, you're probably thinking of Dreamweaver and yes, Dreamweaver is an IDE, but it's more focused on what's known as WYSIWYG, or What You See Is What You Get type editing. That doesn't really work all that well for advanced WordPress development. You're better suited getting a proper IDE that focuses mainly on code, and then use your browser as the WYSIWYG component of your platform. There are several different IDEs that you can choose from here.
One popular option that's a premium option, so it's for pay, it's known as PhpStorm and it's very popular in the WordPress community. It also recently introduced very advanced WordPress integrations, so if you want all the features that you can get from a premium application, PhpStorm is a great option. Another option is Eclipse. Many people are big fans of Eclipse. Personally, I don't really like it because it's very large and clunky, and can be a bit confusing to work with. My chosen option is called NetBeans, and it's open source and available both for Mac, and PC, and Linux.
So if you want to follow this course and see exactly what I am seeing, you need to install NetBeans, and you can get it straight from netbeans.org. Here if you go to the Download option, you see you have several versions of NetBeans, and what you want here is this All option that has everything. If you're on a Mac, you can simply download it straight from here and it should just work. If you're on a Windows computer, you also need to install what's known as JDK, which is a a Java environment for NetBeans to work within. So if you just download NetBeans here and you don't already have JDK installed on your computer, you'll have to redo the whole process.
So it's actually much easier to scroll down and find the link where it says JDK 7 and later versions are required, etc. Then follow this link at the bottom, that takes you to an Oracle website and from here, you can download both JDK and NetBeans at the same time. So here you need to pick the correct platform that you want to install this application on, download it to your computer and install NetBeans. Once NetBeans is installed, you can boot it up, and now I'm going to show you exactly why this application is so powerful and why you should be using a proper IDE.
So first, I need to set up my project. So, the project is the full application that I'm going to be working with, so it's not just the theme, it's actually all of WordPress. So I'll create a new project by going up to the top here and clicking on the New Project button. From here, I get to choose what type of project this is, so this will be a PHP application, and I'll click Next. Then I have to give my project a name, so I'm going to call it My Simone, which is the name of my theme. And then instead of setting up a new project from scratch, I'm going to to use this Sources folder here to browse to the location of WordPress installed under Wamp.
So on my computer, this would be under C and then under wamp, and then under www, and here you see we have WordPress. So here it's important that you target the main folder that contains all of WordPress, that means WP admin, WP content, WP includes, and all the other files, and you'll see why in a second. So now open that, I can finish the process, and now NetBeans sets up a project for me. So here I can close the Navigator, and I'll make a little less space here, and here, you see, it also opens the index.php file for me right away, which I don't need.
So, I'm going to close these two windows and now I'm going to show you why NetBeans' so powerful. So if I want to work on a theme, let's say the theme I just installed, I can now go to My Simone > Source Files and then wp-content here, and then Themes, and here I find My Simone. Now, I can open My Simone and go to any of the files within here. So let's say I want to make a change to the content.php folder. Here you see all the code that's in that file, and you'll notice that within WordPress, you have a lot of these WordPress template tags.
They look like this. It says wp_link_pages. Now, this is a function that's been defined within the application itself, and sometimes I may wonder, huh, what is it this wp_link_pages function does? Well, when you're using an IDE like NetBeans, you can go directly to the source of this function simply by holding down Ctrl on a Windows computer or Cmd on a Mac and hovering over a function. And if you just hover over it, you get an explanation of what the function is, and if you click on it, the application will actually open the template that that function was created in.
And this is extremely powerful when you start working with several different files that are interconnected with each other because you can use the application to jump between the different files and find what you're looking for. And as we progress through this course, you'll see me do this several times, and I'll give you some techniques and tips on how to make the process as easy as possible. So before we go any further, set up your IDE, set up the WordPress install as your project, and make sure you get all of WordPress inside your project. And then, we'll get started building themes from scratch with underscores.
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