Child Themes, Hooks, Actions, Filters simplified

May 27, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Ready to take it to the next level with WordPress? Here’s a 5-minute guide on essential advanced features to WordPress theming: child themes, hooks, actions, and filters.

The old, boring way is you open the theme files, starting from index.php, changing all <h2> tag to <h1>, then moving to the other files: archives.php, tag.php, category.php, doing the same thing over and over again, hoping you don’t miss anything.

Gah!

That is not clever because a) it’s too much work, and b) when the theme is updated, you’re screwed.

Wouldn’t it be better if you could just a) write the change once, have it applied globally, while b) at the same time not modifying the theme’s code?

Of course the answer is yes. Understanding how these four concepts in WordPress work is essential to building on a theme framework, creating plugins and widgets, and make developing with WordPress faster.

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Premium theme frameworks reviewed

April 9, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Technosailor reviews in depth the four most popular premium theme frameworks: Thesis, Headway, Genesis, Builder. Criteria range from pricing to performance to compatibility with various WordPress (even BuddyPress) features.

[…] based on the stress test and criteria I outlined earlier, the best framework is Genesis with an 84%. Thesis comes in with a 76%. Builder garners a 74%. Headway needs the most improvement and only gets a 55%.

It’s a long read, but if you’re a serious website developer, a good theme framework can make a big difference in getting things done. My only wish is for a matrix comparison of all the themes, not just the conclusion above, so it’s easy to figure out who’s strong in which area.

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Include child themes in the WordPress Themes Directory?

November 11, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Patrick Daly examines the possibility of including child themes into the official WordPress Themes Directory, including previous discussions on it.

The inclusion of child themes in the official WordPress Themes directory is good idea because it gives themes greater flexibility and makes theme management easier for users. There’s a few problems to overcome before allowing child theme submissions into the directory, but nothing a little more brainstorming can’t resolve. I think with enough support from the community we could get this implemented rather quickly (who can even know what that means though?).

It will definitely mean modifications to the way to integrate them alongside the usual parent themes, but that’s what child themes are doing anyway—they’re changing the way we look at themes. If WordPress can officially push for this feature by way of the official theme directory, it’s a great step in easily developing themes on already available theme frameworks.

Meantime, check out Themelets, a site that features everything on WordPress child themes.

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BuddyPress to ship with a theme framework; will WordPress be next?

August 25, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Social networking platform BuddyPress has modified its theme structure to contain by default a theme framework, basically a parent theme which custom themes can override with child themes.

In BuddyPress 1.1 there will be one single theme to handle everything. BuddyPress will ship with a theme framework that acts as a parent theme. The default theme will be a child theme based on this framework and contains only images and css. Building a new BuddyPress theme will be as simple as creating a child theme based on the framework. If you’re not familiar with child themes a quick google search will bring up lots of useful information.

This makes theme development for a relatively more complex CMS much easier. But what’s more interesting about this is there are several WordPress theme frameworks already out there, and it looks like the BuddyPress development team has taken a cue from that. My question is: should future versions of WordPress also ship with a default theme framework just like BuddyPress? For those who aren’t familiar with the benefits:

When building a new theme you don’t need to re-create every template file. You can override specific template files where needed. Most importantly though, your theme will update automatically with the latest functionality when the framework theme is updated.

In the meantime, however, check out these 3rd-party theme frameworks for WP.

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20 WordPress theme frameworks

July 27, 2009 | 1 Comment

Codefusion Lab lists 20 WordPress theme frameworks that can speed up your theme development process. Some highly reputable WordPress theme designers are behind these frameworks, so you can be guaranteed of quality platforms to build your WordPress theme on.

If you’re not a theme designer, don’t fret: several frameworks have child themes you can use straight out of the box, or if you feel like using super-customizable, option-filled starter themes, this is the collection to check out.

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How to make any theme a blank framework

April 23, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Ian Stewart of ThemeShaper has an article showing people how to turn any WordPress theme into a blank theme framework. Using the template parameter in the style.css theme declaration block is key.

Now we get to my point: the template parameter turns any theme into a Parent Theme—a blank framework—when you make that Child Theme the active one. All you have to do is select that new Child Theme in the themes panel of your WordPress admin. The Child Theme is now using all the template files—header.php, index,php, sidebar.php, etc.—from the defined Parent Theme and none of the CSS of the Parent. WordPress looks for the CSS in the Child Theme directory. Try it yourself. It works right now in WordPress and let’s you modify any theme with CSS alone.

As mentioned in the article, you can just pick a parent theme, such as Kubrick, the current default WordPress theme, as your parent theme, then only override certain parts of it without having to re-code everything from scratch. It’s a great new feature in WordPress 2.7 that you should check out.

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