Want to develop a WordPress Theme but don’t know where to start ?
Then you should keep on reading this article.
In this article, I will explain the most basic subjects of WordPress theme development one bite at a time in plain English.
# 1 :
A wordpress theme is not a single file.
It is made of many files.
These files all act together to form the appearance and functionality of a particular WordPress theme.
# 2 :
WordPress theme files are placed inside of subdirectories under wordpress themes directory (wp-content/themes/…)
For example, if you have a theme named “mynewwptheme” you should place it to wp-content/themes/mynewwptheme/
# 3 :
Don’t use numbers when you name your new wordpress theme !
If you use numbers, your theme may not appear on theme lists.
# 4 :
When you install wordpress, it always comes with a default theme.
# 5 :
A usual wordpress theme has three main types of files; style.css, index.php, functions.php
# 6 :
The leanest wordpress theme may come with only two files; style.css and index.php (of course this is in theory. In almost all cases, you will see more than these two files)
# 7 :
style.css is responsible from the appearance of a wordpress website.
It keeps Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) codes.
# 8 :
index.php is a wordpress “template file”
It is a file coded in PHP.
Index.php gets the data from your database and presents it as HTML to your visitors.
# 9 :
In theory, you may have just one template file (index.php)
But, normally you should divide index.php into functional sub-files.
# 10 :
There are 19 theme template files recognized by WordPress.
The most significant ones are;
# 11 :
functions.php is optional.
Basically, you may think about it as a plugin.
It holds some functions.
If it is inside of your theme, it loads automatically during the initialization.
# 12 :
The comment lines at the head of style.css are required.
These comments enable WordPress to identify the theme.
# 13 :
It is not allowed themes to have the same header.
So, if you are developing a theme based on an existing one, then you should change these comments lines.
# 14 :
The author name can be either author’s wordpress.org username or his / her real name.
It is up to the author’s wish.
I hope this very basic introduction to theme development is helpful for you.
If you wish, you may also read my article about “Components WordPress Starter Theme“.