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January 17, 2012 at 4:54 am #36162
OK. I must be crazy or I just don’t seem to be getting it.
When I see a title which reads :Theme Design from Scratch” I am expecting the title to start from (well…) SCRATCH.
Yet, in every case and with every title I have watched every author simply “Promotes” scratch then promptly starts with a ready made theme.
Take (for example) Chris’ title on Lynda.com entitled: “WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes”.
1. In the Introduction video he states thus: “We’ll go in-depth into the process of creating a new theme FROM SCRATCH….”
2. Chapter 1: “From Spec to Photoshop” goes into the process of designing the page. So far, so good.
3. Chapter 2: “Converting Photoshop to HTML/CSS” goes into the process of converting a page to HTML. So far, so good.
4. Now comes the process of creating the theme (which he stated in the intro would be done FROM SCRATCH)… But then (nuthin up my sleeve…) Presto! Were uh…”Starting with a blank theme template”. Blank theme template? This “blank theme “template” is in fact – A THEME. Right?
So… what happened to “scratch”.
What EXPECTED to see was the walk-through of creating THE BLANK THEME. This (IMHO) is an important step which clearly explains the process of theme creation by discussing in detail the code/pages which MAKE UP blank theme.
And this title is not the only one. I read “Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes” looking (yet again) for detailed info on exactly HOW to build an actual theme FROM SCRATCH (actually creating the template files like header.php from scratch)
… but again they immediately go to a freaking theme framework (thematic). So after 100+ pages they simply do NOT teach the mechanics of building of the actual pages (header, footer, etc.) while explaining the code. They say “use this theme” or “use this framework” and then skip past HOW that theme was constructed and dive right into integration BASED on the theme or Framework they recommended.
In fact I have yet to find a resource which actually DOES walk through the actual creation process (other than the morbidly fragmented an totally unfriendly codex).
If anyone can point out a resource that DOES teach from SCRATCH, I would be forever in your debt.
A “very-frustrated-with-misleading-training-resources” noob.
Chris? You listening?January 17, 2012 at 6:04 am #94809jamygoldenModerator
I don’t think Chris would do what you’re asking because the work of creating it completely from scratch involves a lot of tedious and time consuming ( for little reason ) work. The PHP knowledge required (from scratch) may also overwhelm the designer.
What exactly are you confused/not sure about? We could help and answer any questions you have right here on the forums.January 17, 2012 at 9:58 am #94833chrisburtonParticipant
Using a blank theme is easier than creating one from scratch. It removes the bulk code that is unnecessary in the first place. The main reason why I stopped using Starker’s and moved onto the HTML5 Reset Theme. I also don’t see a reason to backtrack from becoming more efficient using stripped out blank themes instead of creating one literally from scratch.January 17, 2012 at 10:21 am #94839Paulie_DModerator
Seems to me that you don’t want instruction on building themes, rather that you want training on PHP.January 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm #94847TheDocModerator
I’m going to have to agree with you guys, here. While I know Chris certainly wasn’t intending to mislead anyone, I know we get a ton of questions here that all relate to template files.
It can be a super confusing process if you don’t have any experience with it.
@pkdSleeper – I don’t think I have a resource for you, but I would study the WordPress Template hierarchy, it’s a super valuable resource. Once you understand what template WordPress wants to use, you’ll be able to more efficiently set your theme up.January 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm #94849
re: @jamy_za >> “What exactly are you confused/not sure about? We could help and answer any questions you have right here on the forums.”
In WordPress training, I keep hearing “we’re going to build our theme from scratch, so to begin, download [x] theme” (is it me, or is that statement totally counter-intuitive?). What actually made up [x] theme (i.e. the requisite template tags, the logic for properly displaying titles, etc.) gets brushed over. But that is exactly we SHOULD know …isn’t it? Or.. am I missing something.
re: @ChristopherBurton >> “Using a blank theme is easier than creating one from scratch. It removes the bulk code that is unnecessary in the first place.“
You just made my point. How does a noob know that certain tags (i.e. the bulk code) is in fact UNNECESSARY unless someone breaks it down and explains WHY it is unnecessary. IMHO, that knowledge comes the from the time-tested insights and expertise of those who have been in the trenches and have learned what IS unnecessary…and can clearly articulate why. Blank themes don’t come from the “Blank-Theme fairy”, they are developed with great care and forethought. I want to learn that. That is the knowledge I seek. I hope this is clear ( and makes sense).
re: @ChristopherBurton >> “I also don’t see a reason to backtrack from becoming more efficient using stripped out blank themes instead of creating one literally from scratch.”
Here again, you speak from one who ALREADY knows the advantages of using themes like the HTML5 Reset Theme, etc. So, for you it probably IS backtracking, but for the noob, “no so much”. Not from the vantage point of one who has just jumped in.
re: @Paulie_D >> “Seems to me that you don’t want instruction on building themes, rather that you want training on PHP.”
I think you guys may have the impression that I am dumping on Chris. I am not. I am stating that this should be made a whole lot clearer.
1. Don’t say from scratch, if you don’t mean FROM SCRATCH.
2. If you use a theme to teach theme development, then explain WHY you are using the theme and (for Heavens sake) walk us through the critical bits of code in the theme first.
3. Don’t say you can Create a WP Theme without knowledge of PHP. Because you (really) cannot.
After I wrote my first post, I went hunting and I did find some training which was a lot closer to what I was looking for: “From PSD to HTML to WordPress“ by Jeffery Way (NetTuts to the rescue…again)
FINAL QUESTION: How many here (other than Chris) have actually created a theme from scratch?
sleeperJanuary 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm #94851TheDocModerator
I’m guessing you were writing that before you read my post.
I create every theme from scratch.January 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm #94853
re: @TheDoc >> “While I know Chris certainly wasn’t intending to mislead anyone, I know we get a ton of questions here that all relate to template files. It can be a super confusing process if you don’t have any experience with it.”
Thanks for your understanding. As I Stated, I do know php and all the front-end languages. But that does not mean you can throw me a bag of WP functions and expect me to build a “kick-butt” Theme Template. Not without a really good manual explaining what goes where.
re: @TheDoc >> “Once you understand what template WordPress wants to use, you’ll be able to more efficiently set your theme up.”
BINGO!. That’s the training title I’ve been looking for: “Learn to Utilize WordPress Template Tags to Build A Theme from Scratch”. This would clear up soooo much confusion.
sleeperJanuary 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm #94857
re: @TheDoc >> “I’m guessing you were writing that before you read my post.”
Your right I seem to bo playing post-tag. But you hit the nail on the head and you clearly articulated my frustration. I am trying to learn to to what you are doing now. Creating themes from (really really) scratch.January 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm #94859chrisburtonParticipant
@pkdsleeper I’m strictly a designer with the basic knowledge of HTML, CSS and a little PHP. Coming from that limited background in development, I have learned what I need in creating a theme by using pre-made templates like Starkers. The HTML5 reset is even more of a blank template than Starkers so therefore if I want a certain functionality in my wordpress template, I have to insert that code to make it happen. @TheDoc has a valid suggestion. Learn the WordPress hierarchy.January 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm #94860
@ChristopherBurton Understood. Thanks again for your comments. :-]January 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm #94862OniLinkCRMember
I see your point and it is valid. I had to learn the code before I was able to do my own things with it, and now I have a “scratch” theme myself.
But designing a theme from scratch isn’t that far fetched. Read the WordPress Codex, they have the listing of the file hierarchy in order to have a barebones theme made. The rest, is up to you. I think Chris’ template is pretty barebones (it doesn’t have a front-page for example) and comment section isn’t stripped down to the basics if you ask me, but I DO THINK his tutorial was a HUGE, VALUABLE and dare I say, LIFE-CHANGING thing for me to learn. It ignited the my inner process of wanting to know more and more about how WordPress works and I have to say I have advanced tons than what I knew maybe 18 months ago. I hope it can do the same to you too.January 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm #94864
re: @OniLinkCR >> “The rest, is up to you.”
Yup. This is the key. I’m (probably) not going to find said Utopian resource, so it’s “once more into the breach” of WordPress Codex.
Oh well, …“Faint heart never won fair lady.”
re: @OniLinkCR >> “but I DO THINK his tutorial was a HUGE, VALUABLE and dare I say, LIFE-CHANGING thing for me to learn.”
No Doubt! It is and shall be a major part of my learning experience (as is his book “Digging into WordPress”). No argument from me on the power of the video tutorial. Learned a heck of a lot. The man has skillz.
…but (again) “what it aint” is a video tutorial showing how to build a WordPress theme from scratchiest of scratches.
Thanks (all) for your gracious comments and
Peace Be unto you all
sleeperJanuary 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm #94865
re: @TheDoc >> “I create every theme from scratch.”
…now that’s what I’m talkin about!
peace.January 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm #94866cmegownMember
I feel your pain mate, as I was there a year ago (we all were at some point, really). I was fortunate enough to stumble across DigWP while trying to teach myself WordPress, and after reading around for a while, promptly bought Digging into WordPress. The book comes with the BLANK theme which is about as good as it gets for learning the ins and outs of basic theme structure. After a few weeks I had the basics down, and started to take on more advanced WP features post thumbnails, post types, and custom fields. The deeper you get into the WordPress world the harder it is…at first.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you have to put in the footwork yourself. As stated many times here, it is way too time consuming for someone to create a step-by-step tutorial for “from scratch” theme development. That series would have at least 100 posts/pages/videos just to get you familiarized with the basics.
The best thing you can do to learn is create a local install with some dummy content, and just start theme-ing away until you get a grip on it.
Also, there’s a superb WordPress community out there: forums, WordCamps, tutorials, etc etc.
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