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WordPress Theme Design

Tessa Blakeley Silver

A complete guide to creating professional WordPress themes
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Book Details

ISBN 139781847193094
Paperback224 pages

About This Book

  • Take control of the look and feel of your WordPress site
  • Simple, clear tutorial to creating Unique and Beautiful themes
  • Expert guidance with practical step-by-step instructions for theme design
  • Design tips, tricks, and troubleshooting ideas

Who This Book Is For

This book can be used by WordPress users or visual designers (with no server-side scripting or programming experience) who are used to working with the common industry-standard tools like PhotoShop and Dreamweaver or other popular graphic, HTML, and text editors.

Regardless of your web development skill-set or level, you'll be walked through the clear, step-by-step instructions, but familiarity with a broad range of web development skills and WordPress know-how will allow you to gain maximum benefit from this book.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Getting Started as a WordPress Theme Designer
WordPress Perks
Does a WordPress Site Have to Be a Blog?
Pick a Theme or Design Your Own?
This Book's Approach
Things You'll Need to Know
Tools of the Trade
Chapter 2: Theme Design and Approach
Things to Consider
Getting Ready to Design
The Solution — Rapid Design Comping
Let's Get Started
Adding—Text Typography
The Layout
Relax and Have Fun Designing
Slice and Export
Chapter 3: Coding It Up
Got WordPress?
Your WordPress Work Flow
Let's Build Our Theme
Tabula Rasa
Static Pages
Chapter 4: Debugging and Validaton
Don't Forget About Those Other Browsers and Platforms
Introduction to Debugging
Troubleshooting Basics
Advanced Troubleshooting
Fixing CSS Across Browsers
Box Model Issues
Everything Is Relative
To Hack or Not to Hack
Out-of-the-Box-Model Thinking
The Road to Validation
Advanced Validation
Extra Credit
Chapter 5: Your Theme in Action
A Picture's Worth
Theme Packaging Basics
Describing Your Theme
Create a ReadMe.txt File
Zip It Up
No Way to Zip?
One Last Test
Get Some FeedBack and Track It
Chapter 6: WordPress Reference
Class Styles Generated by WordPress
Using the Template Selector Feature
Template Hierarchy
Chapter 7: Dynamic Menus and Interactive Elements
DYI or Plug-ins?
Dynamic Menus?
Flash-ize It
Chapter 8: AJAX / Dynamic Content and Interactive Forms
Preparing for Dynamic Content and Interactive Forms
Plug-ins and Widgets
Getting Your Theme Ready for Plug-ins and Widgets
AJAX—It's Not Just for Your Site Users
The AJAX Factor
Chapter 9: Design Tips for Working with WordPress
The Cool Factor
Good Design isn't Always Visual — Looking at SEO

What You Will Learn

  • 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.

In Detail

This title will take you through the ins and outs of creating sophisticated professional themes for the WordPress personal publishing platform. It will walk you through clear, step-by-step instructions to build a custom WordPress theme. From development tools and setting up your WordPress sandbox, through design tips and suggestions, to setting up your theme's template structure, coding markup, testing and debugging, to taking it live it reviews the best practices. The last three chapters are dedicated to additional tips, tricks and various cookbook recipes for adding popular site enhancements to your WordPress theme designs using third-party plugins.

Whether you're working with a pre-existing theme or creating a new one from the ground up, WordPress Theme Design will give you the know-how to understand how themes work within the WordPress blog system, enabling you to take full control over your site's design and branding.


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