WordPress Themes .. Introduction

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Audience.  People with a web development background, or a web development interest, who are either new to WordPress or new to developing for WordPress.  This series is based on WordPress 3.3.x.

Why an introduction to WordPress themes?  Believe it or not it can be a source of some confusion.  WordPress, when installed, comes with two themes.  The twenty-ten and twenty-eleven themes.  Now, you are new to WordPress, read that it is a decent and flexible platform to publish and create web content, but you really don’t like the way either twenty-ten or twenty-eleven looks.   So you quickly discover that installing a different theme is quite easy.  Too easy .. really.

There are gabs of free WordPress themes available, and then there are “premium” WordPress themes.  Just type “premium WordPress themes” into the Google search bar.  To use a theme, all you need to do to install and activate it.  This is explained in many places, and is generally trouble-free, so I will not elaborate on this.

Pre-requisites.  We are going to assume a certain familiarity with HTML, CSS  and PHP.

Again, we are not aiming to educate you on either of these technologies.  We will provide adequate links, in context, when appropriate to do so.

So .. off to the races ..

WordPress Themes

WordPress does not work without an active theme.  Let me state this again, if you look at or maintain a WordPress site, an active theme must exists.  So in that sense, a WordPress theme is an essential part of a WordPress site.  Now, what IS a theme, and what does it DO.

We will take a very naive view of themes to begin with.  This naive view is by nature incomplete.  Not necessarily wrong or misleading.  So gentle reader, if you think we are in serious error, please comment.

Naive View: A Theme defines the Look and Feel of Your Site

To many first looking at themes, what differentiates one theme from another is basic layout and design.  What is the typography?  What is the color scheme?  What does the page header look like?  How many columns?  Where is the navigation?

The WordPress CODEX definition really does not help us a lot at this point.

WordPress Themes are files that work together to create the design and functionality of a WordPress site. Each Theme may be different, offering many choices for site owners to instantly change their website look.

So a WordPress theme is a collection of files?  Let us explore that and see where we get.

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