In June 2019, WP Engine released DevKit, a local WordPress development environment that required a command-line interface (CLI) and Docker, a third-party Platform as a Service (PaaS) container app. If that sounds complicated to use, it’s because it is.
When they released DevKit, WP Engine already knew it would likely have a limited audience. David Vogelpohl, Vice President of Web Strategy, told Coywolf in June that they “recognize[d] that CLI based interfaces [weren’t] ideal for everyone” and that they had their DevKit R&D team working on a graphic user interface (GUI) to make it more accessible to their customers.
Eight months after DevKit’s launch, there still isn’t a DevKit GUI, and that’s because WP Engine ended up launching something even better.
Local by Flywheel
Almost two weeks after DevKit was released, WP Engine announced they had acquired Flywheel on June 24, 2019. Part of Flywheel’s goodwill was a popular WordPress development tool called Local. Local had an intuitive GUI and represented the missing link that DevKit needed to gain mass adoption.
Instead of WP Engine building a DevKit GUI, they integrated DevKit into Local. Local now fully supports WP Engine, and there’s no need to install and run DevKit separately.
WP Engine customers can now download Local for free and connect it to their hosting account using an API username and password. Once they’ve connected Local to their WP Engine account, they can then add any of their sites and download a fully working copy onto their computer.
Local enables site owners and webmasters with access to the site to make changes on their computer and to test them on a local server. They can also test it live on the internet by enabling the Live Link feature.
When the changes have been tested and are ready to go live, it can then be pushed to the Development, Staging, or Production version on WP Engine.
Local is available now for all WP Engine Customers.