I often work with exactly one plugin active, other than the plugin I’m working on and its dependencies. That plugin is Query Monitor. QM adds a button to the admin bar that turns red when I make mistake, and reveals a treasure land of begun info when I click on it.

We go live to me making a mistake.

QM is completely free and has inspired a vibrant community of side-plugins, that hook in and provide even deeper debug info about specific topics. It’s updated frequently and is active on over 30,000 websites. The author, John Blackbourne, actively engages feedback on Twitter. We use it a lot here at LexBlog. It’s not a hard policy per se, but I strongly recommend to my teammates that they never work without it.

John Steinbeck once said to write for an audience of one:

In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

Similarly, I think many of the best plugins come about when, as developers, we code for our own needs — our own audience of one. I’ve also heard this called “dogfooding” and I like it.

Query Monitor has taught me about my own mistakes and failings thousands of times. On this day of giving thanks, I give thanks to you, Query Monitor!