Extras Highlight: modDevTools

by Mat Dave Jones

Published on February 11, 2020

MODX CMS has no shortage of Extras to customize your site. While working on projects related to both the service and support side of MODX, I’ve had a chance to test quite a few of the Snippets, Plugins and Custom Manager Pages that exist on modx.com/extras as well as some from other sources.

There are quite a few options to extend MODX, which range from easily recommended for any site to needing a more specific use case. It can be easy to get pigeonholed into a few tried and true Extras and wind up missing out on others you didn’t realize you needed.

Install First, Ask Questions Later

If I had to pick one tool I really need to effectively maintain or develop a MODX site, it would be modDevTools. It is my install-without-asking Extra that winds up on every site I service. It just seems to make MODX easier to work with.

“What does it do?” you might ask. Well, it organizes chaos and speeds up the management of your MODX site.

Element Access

The modDevTools package offers a few unique functions in one handy Extra. One of the standout features is for every Chunk, Snippet, or Template on your site, it will show you a relatively accurate list of what resources call them, as well as what other Chunks, Templates and Snippets are tied to them.

modDevTools Element Access

In addition to showing you what is affected, it allows you to quickly edit those elements. This is handy for navigating a complex templating system on an unfamiliar site, or just quickly updating something on a site you work with every day.

Find and Replace

The find and replace option is hands down my most used feature of modDevTools and is the reason you should install it right now. While I wish it wasn’t just limited to Templates and Chunks, it is incredibly useful when you need to quickly locate or update a reference without connecting to the database.

modDevTools Find and Replace

I’ve used the find and replace feature to correct spelling errors, update contact details, or just to figure out everywhere the Chunk I am editing is referenced. It is a serious time saver.

Navigation

One subtle feature, which can honestly go unnoticed, is the breadcrumb menu modDevTools adds to Resources. I forget it is even a part of modDevTools until I try working on a site without it.

modDevTools Breadcrumbs

Adding a breadcrumb menu to the top of a Resource is incredibly convenient and useful, no matter the size of the site. I am constantly glancing at it to just get my bearing as to where I am at in the site tree.

An Easy Recommend

modDevTools could stand to have some more features, and hasn’t been actively maintained in a while. However, it is incredibly useful and hard to recommend a more necessary Extra for site maintainers to try out. modDevTools adds features I didn’t realize I was missing and is the first tool I check to make sure is installed when working on a new site.

Download modDevTools

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