Create Professional WordPress Themes With New Book

Create Professional WordPress Themes With New Book


WordPress is an open-source blog engine released under the GNU general public license. It allows users to easily create dynamic blogs with great content and many outstanding features. It is an ideal tool for developing blogs and though it is chiefly used for blogging, it can also be used as a complete CMS with very little effort. Its versatility and ease of use has attracted a large, enthusiastic, and helpful community of users.

This book walks through clear, step-by-step instructions to build a custom theme for the WordPress open-source blog engine. The author provides design tips and suggestions and covers setting up the WordPress sandbox, and reviews the best practices from setting up the theme’s template structure, through coding markup, testing, and debugging, to taking it live. The last three chapters cover additional tips, tricks, and various cookbook recipes for adding popular site enhancements to WordPress theme designs using 3rd-party plugins as well as creating API hooks to add custom plugins.

Whether users are working with a pre-existing theme or creating a new one from the ground up, WordPress Theme Design will give them the know-how to effectively understand how themes work within the WordPress blog system enabling them to have full control over their site’s design and branding. Users only need to be comfortable with the basics of web development and this book will take care of the rest.

What you will learn from this book

Set up a basic workflow and development environment for WordPress theme design
Create detailed designs and code them up
Enhance your sites by choosing the right color schemes and graphics
Debug and validate your theme using W3C’s XHTML and CSS validation tools
Customize and tweak your theme’s layout
Set up dynamic drop-down menus, AJAX/dynamic and interactive forms
Download and install useful plug-ins and widgetize your theme
Improve post and page content using jQuery and ThickBox
Add interactivity to your themes using Flash
Includes a reference guide to WordPress 2.0’s template hierarchy, markup, styles and template tags, as well as include and loop functions

Chapter 1 introduces you to the WordPress blog system and lets you know what you need to be aware of regarding the WordPress theme project you’re ready to embark on. The chapter also covers the development tools that are recommended and web skills that you’ll need to begin developing a WordPress theme.

Chapter 2 looks at the essential elements you need to consider when planning your WordPress theme design. It discusses the best tools and processes for making your theme design a reality. The author explains her own ‘Rapid Design Comping’ technique and gives some tips and tricks for developing color schemes and graphic styles for your WordPress theme. By the end of the chapter, you’ll have a working XHTML and CSS based ‘comp’ or mockup of your theme design, ready to be coded up and assembled into a fully functional WordPress theme.

Chapter 3 uses the final XHTML and CSS mockup from Chapter 2 and shows you how to add WordPress PHP template tag code to it and break it down into the template pages a theme requires. Along the way, this chapter covers the essentials of what makes a WordPress theme work. At the end of the chapter, you’ll have a basic, working WordPress theme.

Chapter 4 discusses the basic techniques of debugging and validation that you should employ throughout your theme’s development. It covers the W3C’s XHTML and CSS validation services and how to use the FireFox browser and some of its extensions as a development tool, not just another browser. This chapter also covers troubleshooting some of the most common reasons ‘good code goes bad’, especially in IE, and best practices for fixing those problems, giving you a great-looking theme across all browsers and platforms.

Chapter 5 discuss how to properly set up your WordPress theme’s CSS style sheet so that it loads into WordPress installations correctly. It also discuss compressing your theme files into the ZIP file format and running some test installations of your theme package in WordPress’s administration panel so you can share your WordPress theme with the world.

Chapter 6 covers key information under easy-to-look-up headers that will help you with your WordPress theme development, from the two CSS class styles that WordPress itself outputs, to WordPress’s PHP template tag code, to a breakdown of “The Loop” along with WordPress functions and features you can take advantage of in your theme development. Information in this chapter is listed along with key links to bookmark to make your theme development as easy as possible.

Chapter 7 dives into taking your working, debugged, validated, and properly packaged WordPress theme from the earlier chapters, and enhancing it with dynamic menus using the SuckerFish CSS-based method and Adobe Flash media.

Chapter 8 continues showing you how to enhance your WordPress theme by looking at the most popular methods for leveraging AJAX techniques in WordPress using plugins and widgets. It also gives you a complete background on AJAX and when it’s best to use those techniques or skip them. The chapter also reviews some cool JavaScript toolkits, libraries, and scripts you can use to simply make your WordPress theme appear ‘Ajaxy’.

Chapter 9 reviews the main tips from the previous chapters and covers some key tips for easily implementing today’s coolest CSS tricks into your theme as well as a few final SEO tips that you’ll probably run into once you really start putting content into your WordPress site.

For more details on the book please visit

Tessa Blakeley Silver’s background is in print design and traditional illustration. She evolved over the years into web and multi-media development, where she focuses on usability and interface design. Prior to starting her consulting and development company hyper3media (pronounced hyper-cube media), Tessa was the VP of Interactive Technologies at eHigherEducation, an online learning and technology company developing compelling multimedia simulations, interactions, and games that met online educational requirements like 508, AICC, and SCORM. She has also worked as a consultant and freelancer for J. Walter Thompson and The Diamond Trading Company (formerly known as DeBeers) and was a Design Specialist and Senior Associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers’ East Region Marketing department. Tessa authors several design and web technology blogs. Joomla! Template Design is her first book.

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