Advanced WordPress: Getting the most out of the platform

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  • project of "Automatic"
  • a hosting provider for wordpress software
  • can't add custom/child themes

Wordpress.ORG: includes wordpress software itself, all documentation (codex wiki), plug-ins, themes..


  • themes in themes directory are authenticated (meaning they are checked for malicious code, to ensure their features don't conflict with core wordpress functions, and they follow a couple of best practices) SO, better to use these themes than to use google to search
  • can also use, but the code quality there varies (biggest issue being features that interfere with core wordpress functions)
  • typically, can pick 2 of 3 traits: 1. "on time", 2. "good code quality", 3. "lots of features" -- wordpress picks the first two
  • things to look for: responsive design, options for presentation changes (e.g. Suffision or Weaver)
  • difference between presentation and functionality of a theme: think about using plug-ins for extra theme functionality so that the functionality will remain despite changing the theme
  • to create a child theme: create a new folder in your theme directory with a style.css file inside; other files need to be duplicated if you want to modify or add to them


  • control layout of various pages (see Template Hierarchy Codex)
  • index.php is default
  • header.php and footer.php are their own files
  • front-page.php vs home.php... home=blog posts


  • Bones: responsive starter theme for developers
  • Roots theme: starter theme with HTML5 and twitter Bootstrap (Bootstrap=good for responsive design); good consolidation for small 4-5 page sites
  • Genesis Framework: parent theme as framework with minimal style (responsive)-- can use to build own child theme or can buy one of their child themes
  • Startertheme_s: plainest starter theme, on github