A few weeks ago I got the idea of creating a “starter theme” to work from when I’m beginning to port an HTML template to WordPress. After I’ve finished the mock-ups in XHTML and CSS, it’s always the same process: copy the style.css to the theme folder, chop up the HTML into various PHP files, tweak some stuff, and ship off the theme. During that process I often find myself going back to the default theme for various tags, formats, and templates.
I’ve spent a few weeks toying with this “starter kit” to make it help my development workflow as much as possible. Now I’m releasing this kit to the public, untouched, for you to download. This is what I use when I begin creating a WordPress theme after the HTML-ing is done.
Please download the files and try it out. There’s a full comments.php file, a functions.php file with the widget code already there, and many other files containing the code I use most, such as the loop and other template tags.
After you’ve used it, I’d appreciate it if you came back and left your feedback in the comments. What you like, what you don’t like, what you’d change, and what you’d add. Then I’ll take the feedback, modify the kit, and release a new version. My goal is to ultimately create the best “starter theme” possible and have a system that anyone can use to quickly port an HTML layout to WordPress.
Later on, I think it’d be neat to make this some sort of a hands-on tutorial. Instead of writing one huge tutorial telling you how to create a theme, I want to experiment and provide something beginners can download and use to learn the ins and outs of creating a theme. Each file would be fully commented, explain what each area does, and provide some helpful tags to help you get started.
Here are some of the features of my starter theme:
- Blank style.css with theme name, author, URL, etc. tags at the top
- Content-ready 404, archive, search, index, single post, and page files
- Full, working comments.php file
- Complete header.php set up with links to RSS, a stylesheet, and JS file; template
- Default search form template
- Blank screenshot.png file and images folder
Please download this theme and try it out, then come back here and let me know what you think. This empty template has certainly sped up my theme development workflow, and I hope it’ll do the same for you.