At our last Intermediate WordPress Workshop Kurt and Jon talked about Child Theming. If you are new to WordPress Development, working with child themes is really important. This is a fairly large topic to cover, so they were only able to cover it a little bit. I thought I’d post this video from WordCamp 2010 presented by Daisy Olsen – daisyolsen.com – to help people out a bit.
- Parent Theme – any theme that is being used by a Child Theme.
- Child Theme – a subset of theme files that consist of a least a style.css file that references back to a parent theme that contains everything else that theme to function.
- Template files – These are the files in your theme that will call up different content.
- Functions.php file – is used to extend your theme. For example your side bars.
- Stylesheet – without a style sheet, you don’t have a theme. WordPress uses this to decide what your theme looks like.
- Theme Framework – a parent theme can contain the theme framework. This is what makes the theme easier to build upon.
Why Child Themes?
- Future Proof / Upgradability – keep you from destroying the core WordPress files so when you upgrade you don’t destroy your site.
- Rapid Development – By creating a custom style sheet you can completely change the look of your site.
- WPMU / Multi Blog / Multi Site Environment – Allows you to upgrade all the themes in the multi-site at one time.
- Simplicity for Non-coders – all you really need to know about is styles
- Powerful for Developers – Most frameworks are built to use child themes so as a WordPress Developer you are not touching the core coding
Getting to Know the Parent
- The styles and structure – you’ll probably want to know how the styles and structure is set up
- Output – The basic output is the same for the child theme, unless you change it.
- Dashboard Level Options – a lot of themes have options to set things at the data base level.
- Custom Page Templates – a lot of themes have custom page templates. If it doesn’t you can always make them and add them to the child theme.
- Framework Components – Powerful engines to manipulate the page output.
When choosing a them you need to ask yourself if it’s cut out for parenthood. From the 15 minute point in the video Daisy goes over how to set up a child theme.
If this video is helpful, you can find more on YouTube at the Boston WP channel. Here’s the video: