How to Create a WordPress Child Theme and Why

It’s easy to create your own child theme. Even with little css knowledge you can make changes to your site to make a more personalized theme and I’ll show you how to get started, explain how it works and the advantages of using a child theme.

What is a child theme?

A child theme is basically a theme that builds onto a parent theme without touching any of the parent theme files. A child theme relies on the parent theme for it’s initial layout, design, features and functions.

What is a parent theme?

A Parent theme can be almost any theme, it’s the base or “framework” of your child theme. Your child theme is built off of the parent theme. Think of the parent theme as a set of default colors and layouts for your child theme.

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Bootville Theme Feature List

Each year I try to create a child theme based off of the default WordPress themes. The last two years I didn’t bother (twenty thirteen and twenty fourteen) because those themes were just not very user friendly when it came to editing them. I will be releasing a free Twenty Fifteen child theme with several options in the very near future as soon as I have a chance to check my beta code with the final release.

I have mentioned a few times I have been working on my own theme called Bootville, and wanted to share my progress with you and would love to hear any opinions or suggestions you might have for it. It’s a clean responsive theme with many useful features based on _Underscores Starter Theme by Automattic and Twitter Bootstrap Framework. Font Awesome, IsoTope and Redux Framework were also used in its creation.

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Twenty Fifteen Theme Early Look

Every year WordPress comes out with a new default theme, this year it’s called Twenty Fifteen theme. Twenty Fifteen a clean, blog focused theme with a fixed sidebar. If you’re like me you might want to check it out before it’s released to play around with to see what it can do.

By downloading the latest WordPress beta you’ll find a copy of Twenty Fifteen inside. Grab yourself a copy here Latest WordPress

Keep in mind this is beta and not meant to be used on a live site yet and may (probably does) have a few bugs. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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Use Genericons with Twenty Twelve Theme

Twenty Thirteen and my Twenty Plus Pro theme use a font pack called Genericons, which is an efficient way to display icons on your site without increasing load times. They also allow for quick and simple styling without the use of an image editing program, which is great for me because I’m terrible at using them.

Here’s how you can use Genericons in Twenty Twelve theme to add small icons to your meta information “Posted by, Posted on, Posted in” etc etc.

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Embed Moot Forums into Twenty Twelve Theme

I recently discovered a new type of forum software called Moot. It’s different from most forum scripts, it’s a system similar to Disqus or LiveFyre comment system. It’s still in beta and lacks a few upcoming features, but fully functional and seems to work really well.

It’s features consist of image posting, watched topics, email notifications, Facebook sign on, syntax highlighting, post reporting, Akismet spam control, create new forums, completely mobile ready, real-time post preview, instant updates (no need to refresh), SEO features for redirecting to your embedded site, and can even be used as a commenting system.

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Twenty Twelve – Footer Widgets Tutorial

Adding footer widgets to Twenty Twelve theme, Part Two of a five part series on Modifying Twenty Twelve theme. If you’ve read the first part of this tutorial, we added a second sidebar, created a custom body class and designed a few three column layouts to choose from.

If you’re just now starting this tutorial, feel free to download the free Blank Child Theme to begin creating your own theme. Each section of this tutorial is independent and can be done individually, so you can use what you want of it and in any order.

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Twenty Twelve – Three Column Layout Tutorial

Creating a three column layout with Twenty Twelve theme. Part one of a five part series on Modifying Twenty Twelve theme.

We’ll be editing 3 files to create out three column layout, functions.php, style.css and sidebar.php.
I’ll explain how to add a new widget area, add a new body class and how to style the new sidebar for 3 different style layouts. Left and Right sidebars, Two Left sidebars and Two right sidebars. Each layout will also contain styles for IE8 and the layouts will keep the responsive structure of Twenty Twelve theme.

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Use a Default Category Post Thumbnail

In this tutorial I’ll explain how to set the post to use an excerpt, and display a left aligned featured image thumbnail that will display an image based on the category of the post in Twenty Twelve theme.

What I’ve done with this site is used a bit of code that selects an image based on the post category and displays it as the featured image. I can still set one if I want, but I don’t have to. Now one of four images are selected according to the category of the post as the post thumbnail.

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