New to WordPress theme Development

New To WordPress Theme Development

WordPress theme development is about creating a custom design (or theme) for WordPress websites. It is using a combination of HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript.

WordPress themes are the main thing that controls how your website looks and feels. This includes the layout, typography, colours, and style. If you are new to WordPress theme development, it is about creating template files, stylesheets, and functions, that all together handle how everything looks, feels, and works.

You don’t have to be an experienced developer to get started. I started building my first theme about 2 weeks into my internship back in 2014. Yes, it was far from great, but it got better with time. Point is, that you can start today too!

If you’re new to WordPress theme development, there are a few things you should know to get started. I will help you get started.

Understand the structure!

A WordPress theme consists of various files and folders that work together. This we call WordPress theme structure. Together, the structure creates the design and functionality of a website. Understanding the purpose of each file is crucial to creating a functional and visually appealing theme.

Basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and PHP

To create a custom WordPress theme, you’ll need to know HTML, CSS, and PHP. HTML is to add structure to your theme. CSS is to style the content (the look and feel). And PHP is to add dynamic functionality to the website.

Try out a starter theme

A starter theme is a pre-built theme that you can use as a foundation for your own theme. These themes can be helpful if you are new to WordPress theme development. They are designed to be lightweight and easy to customize. Making them ideal templates for beginners. Some popular starter themes include Underscores, Sage, and Bones.

You are also welcome to check out my own custom theme called Rye.

Find a code editor with helpful extensions

A code editor is a software tool that you use to write and edit code. There are many code editors available, both free and paid. Some popular options include Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, and Atom. Using the right code editor will make it easier to write and debug your theme.

Today I use Visual Studio Code as my main editor.

Test your theme!

Once you’ve created your theme, it’s important to test it thoroughly to ensure that it works as expected. This includes testing it on different devices and browsers, as well as testing its functionality. You can use tools like BrowserStack and CrossBrowserTesting to test your WordPress theme on different devices and browsers.

I can highly recommend you read more about Testing from the WordPress Theme Handbook.

Final notes

Even though it can daunting at first, theme development can be very rewarding. Both for your own projects, and for others out there, that like your theme.

With patience and practice, you can create your own theme too. Understand the basics, do a lot of Googling, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.