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Fabrica Dev Kit for WordPress

A toolkit for faster, smoother WordPress 5 development

May 2020: version 3.0 just released! Completely new architecture for the Gutenberg / Block era.

Key features

  • Super fast setup of project-specific local development servers using Docker
  • Allows simultaneous developmentΒ of multiple blocks, plugins and themes: FDK's master watch / build script runs all resources' build steps together in one process
  • Compatible with @wordpress/scripts and custom Webpack configs
  • Starter theme and block available, but works with yours; agnostic on code frameworks
  • Instantly build and deploy to multiple environments

FDK 3 features in detail

Installs and configures an independent local development environment for each project

  • Using Docker, creates an independent development environment for your project running the Nginx web server and the latest version of PHP-FPM. Docker's efficient architecture means that each Fabrica Dev Kit project runs and is stored separately (unlike MAMP, where all projects share space and servers), while avoiding the bloat of a Vagrant-like solution (where each project has a capacious virtual machine to itself).
  • Automatically installs all the software required to develop, including the latest version of WordPress and your plugins of choice (you just list them in the initial setup file), as well as deployment tools.
  • Setup of a new project takes a matter of seconds (after the first-time installation of dependencies and Docker images).

Reduces friction to accelerate development and deployment

  • Automatically syncs individual development resources with the project's Docker machine; new resources can easily be added or removed
  • Magic master Webpack script processes each all resources' Webpack configs simultaneously, meaning you only have to run one watch / build for the whole project
  • Allows deployment of all development resources with a single terminal command to staging or production servers (using lftp mirror). Only the resources in your config are deployed / mirrored; other themes or plugins are left intact.

Requirements + dependencies

Fabrica Dev Kit is compatible with recent versions of Mac OS X. It has a few dependencies:

  1. Docker – download and run the installer by following the link for Mac OS X from the Docker downloads page (Stable channel is fine).
  2. Node.js – download and run the installer by following the link to the Recommended Version from the Node.js homepage.

Optional but recommended:

Getting started

Installing Fabrica Dev Kit

First make sure you have all the required dependencies (see above). Then run npm install fabrica-dev-kit -g to install Fabrica Dev Kit onto your system ready to use globally via the fdk shell command.

Starting a new project

  1. Create a folder for your project. In this folder run fdk init. This will create a template setup.yml file for your basic project settings.
  2. Edit setup.yml to configure basic parameters for your project. Third-party plugins you want to be installed automatically in your local development environment can be listed here.
  3. Run fdk setup from the same folder. This will set up your virtual machine and install everything required: Nginx, PHP-FPM, WordPress, any third-party plugins and our development and deployment tools.

Configuring your development resources

  1. Tell FDK which local resources (ie. themes and plugins) you want to be available for development in the current project by editing config.yml folder (in the project root) to specify the local resource paths. These can be within the current project folder (eg. in a src/ folder) or anywhere else on your system, if you plan to share resources like blocks between projects. You can also specify server details for deployment, and you can specify multiple environemnts configs in the same file. Example entries for a config.yml:
    - ../../plugins/fabrica-shared-block
    - ./src/themes/fdk-theme
    - host:
    - user: fdk
    - password: fdk
    - path: /public-html

    - ../../plugins/fabrica-shared-block
    - ./src/themes/fdk-theme
    - host:
    - user: staging
    - password: staging
    - path /staging
  1. FDK will invoke each resource's individual Webpack config to build resources (if it needs a build step; otherwise the folder will just be mirrored as it is). To make sure this works correctly, any paths in your Webpack config should be resolved fully with path.resolve and the current folder, for example path.resolve(__dirname, 'src/js/front.js')

Running the master Webpack during active development

  • To start developing, run fdk start in the project folder. FDK will tell you which dynamic port the site front-end, admin and database are accessible at for this session, for example:
[FDK] 🏭  FDK Project (fdk-project) access URLs:
[FDK] 🏭   -------------------------------------------
[FDK] 🏭   🌍  WordPress: http://localhost:32773/
[FDK] 🏭   πŸ”§  Admin: http://localhost:32773/wp-admin/
[FDK] 🏭   πŸ—ƒ  Database: localhost:32774
[FDK] 🏭   -------------------------------------------
  • FDK will then run its master Webpack watch monitoring and compiling all of your specified resources at once, using each one's own Webpack settings respectively.
  • You can escape Webpack with ctrl + c. While Webpack is not running, changes requiring a build step will not be reflected on the server.
  • You can also run fdk build to run Webpack in build mode, eg. prior to deployment.


To deploy your resources, run fdk build (runs Webpack for all resources in build mode) and then fdk deploy. This will deploy using the resources and server specified in the default section of config.yml; if you want to deploy to a different environment, simply add its name, eg. fdk deploy staging.

Troubleshooting and housekeeping

If you run into any problems during development, restarting the Docker machine may help. Stop FDK with ctrl + c and then run fdk dc restart followed by fdk start again.

Multiple projects' Docker servers running simultaneously can hog system resources, so you can safely suspend any projects not currently being developed with fd dc stop in the project folder (or from the Docker Dashboard). Equally it is safe to run fdk remove which removes the project's containers altogether (the local database is preserved); to set them up again you can run fdk setup --reinstall.

Local database access

For direct MySQL access to the development database, you can use an app such as Sequel Pro while the development machine is up. The database server is accessible at, and with the dynamic port which you'll be told when you run fdk start (see example output above). The username, password and database name are are wordpress.

All available FDK commands

(You can type fdk in any FDK project folder to see this list.)

Command Description
init [options] [slug] Start a new project folder called [slug] containing the setup.yml configuration file. [slug] must be unique and no other Docker Compose project should share this name. All optional arguments will be set in the setup.yml file and can be modified there before running setup.
setup [options] Setup project based on setting on setup.yml file
config:url Update URLs in DB to match changes to WP container port set automatically by Docker (except for multisite projects, where a custom local host/domain is used). Output current access URLs and ports
config:resources [project] Configure Docker volumes to match resources' paths in the config.yml settings file if there are new resources under [project]. If no [project] is passed, resources under default will be checked
config:all [project] Run all project configuration tasks (config:url and config:resources)
urls Output current access URLs and ports
deploy [project] Deploy resources to server according to configuration in config.yml file. If no [project] is passed, settings under default will be loaded. Files and folders matching patterns in resource .distignore file will be ignored
start Run Webpack in development mode. All available resources' Webpack configurations are loaded, and changed files are watched
build Run Webpack in production mode and build source for all available resources Webpack configurations
dc Run docker-compose commands, eg. fdk dc ps
sh Start shell on WP container
shroot Start shell as root on WP container
wp Run WP Cli. eg. fdk wp option list
logs Tail WP container logs
remove Stop all project containers, remove their volumes and WP project image