Mark Jaquith gave a great talk at WordCamp San Francisco called “Confident Commits, Delightful Deploys”. It was quite helpful as many developers in the WordPress ecosystem are not used to setting up a proper environment for development, including: IDE, debugging and profiling tools, automatic server setup, proper version control toolkit, VM setup, browser testing services and so forth.
Part of that was covered by Mark:
Hearing that from the Don Draper of WordPress I would definitely give his tips a try (if you’re not using them already).
Don’t forget to check few other talks on deeper engineering (toolkit or code-related) – the user management talk by Nacin, Eric Mann’s Automated WordPress Development and Mike Schroder’s tips on WP-CLI. Whenever you are stuck with repetitive tasks, do try to automate them. It takes some time at first, but then you can run everything through the shell, or with a big nice shiny button. This might include: installing WordPress, setting database, bulk generation of users, mapping some themes, creating skeleton for plugins/themes, creating a VM for something, running tests (which you should have too) and so forth.