This is my Windows environment that I use to do web design. Everything here works well together, is absolutely free and will run tolerably fast on a older, low end machine – Dell Inspiron Mini 10 – 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU with 1GB 533MHz DDR2 memory running Windows XP Home SP3.
I have tested many free CMS plugins – Pods, Types, Advanced Custom Fields, More Fields, … – and Magic Fields 2 is the closest to what I want – easy to understand, easy to use, supports related custom post type fields, duplicatable fields and duplicatable group of fields. However, I an worried as Magic Fields 2 currently does not seem to be under active development.
I am concurrently using Types. I think Magic Fields 2 has a better feature set and is easier to use than Types. However, Types is better supported, has better documentation and seems to be under active development. Types is also the CMS plugin that Views uses. Views claims to support web design with no programming. For me web design with no programming is the Holy Grail for WordPress. Unfortunately, Views is a premium plugin so it doesn’t meet my free requirement. (With the exception of the Window OS I am totally committed to free software and haven’t used any commercial software for over a decade.) I am studying Types to try and find a free way for no programming web design.
I am using my own child themes of Twenty Eleven and Twenty Twelve.
PHP 5.4’s built-in standalone web server makes it very easy to setup a test environment. In particular, you don’t need to run an Apache HTTP server which saves you a lot of CPU cycles and bytes of memory. Don’t forget to uncomment the ‘;extension_dir = “ext”‘ and the ‘;extension php_mysql.dll’ lines.
Don’t use the MySQL MSI Installer for Windows but download the MySQL Community Server MSI installer. It not only is smaller ~32M vs 200M+ but also doesn’t require the .NET Framework 4.0. Since, I have a slow machine I choose to manual start this as a service instead of having it run all the time as I also use this machine for some other things.
phpMyAdmin gives you the capability to directly view and manipulate the WordPress database. This is incredibly useful for understanding how WordPress works.
Firefox is my primary browser and consequently I use Firebug as my primary browser developer tool.
Primitive but loads fast, uses very little memory and is easy to use.
This has a simple, easy to use command line client for Subversion.
I somehow managed to corrupt my database and lost almost an entire day’s worth of work. If you are making massive changes to your database it may be worthwhile to backup several times a day. This was a lesson painfully learned.