Beginning Theme Development

If you’ve ever wanted to build your own theme for WordPress, this is the session for you. We’re going to start from scratch and work our way up. This workshop assumes HTML and CSS knowledge, though there is no level of PHP requirement. We’ll go through all of the core files needed for a theme; some supplemental features that can be added; and how themes should be structured for clients, public free release, and sales sites. We’ll also cover some tools that can help with your theme development.


Before attending, you’ll need a basic understanding of WordPress, as well as some HTML and CSS. PHP basics are highly encouraged, as we’ll be using a lot of WordPress PHP code to make our themes work. You do not need to have advanced PHP or JavaScript knowledge to get useful information out of this workshop.

Wi-fi should be available during the workshop, but is not guaranteed. We highly encourage you to run a local web server from your laptop, and to test it out and install WordPress beforehand. We will not be able to devote session time to getting these setup, as each person could have a different setup to manage. You can contact us before the workshop if you need additional assistance. If you cannot get a basic web server setup before the workshop, it may not be for you.

Below are some tutorials on setting up WAMP or MAMP to run a local server, but you may use the software that suits you best.



For remote WordPress installation, install FileZilla:

You should also have a good text editor installed that can provide syntax highlighting, such as one of the following:

Programmer’s Notepad for Windows:

Brackets for Mac:

If you want to follow along exactly with the presentation, David will be using VirtualBox and Vagrant, with a VVV install. He will be editing code using Sublime Text 3 and some useful add-ons for it.