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WordPress Theme Development Tutorial – Underscores Starter Theme

Can You Become a Coder?

Developing WordPress Themes can at first seem like a job only for those who are the most highly skilled of developers with years of experience. But let me let you in on a little secret. Most coders, developers and programmers start off with the same “Hello World” output that’s generated by their first few lines of code. 

I don’t want to minimize in any way shape or form the skill set required to write clean & efficient code. It does take years to become a high level coder who is recognized for the quality of their work. But don’t let anything stop you from becoming a coder yourself. 

Coding Knowledge is Freely Shared

Now’s a great time to become a coder. The amount of free information out there will make your journey a lot easier than those who started years ago. This is because those same coders who had to learn by trial and error or create completely new languages from scratch, chose to share their knowledge with the world. What took them a decade, may only take you a few years. Of course you have to put in the effort. Dedicate yourself to learning how this stuff we call code, works.

WordPress Inspires People to Code

WordPress is an awesome platform, that we already know, so I won’t waste time preaching about how it powers over 27% of the modern web and powers 58% of all websites that use a Content Management System. I won’t waste time talking about why it’s the best platform for Everyday Bloggers to Fortune 500 Companies. Wait, am I wasting time. OK, I’ll stop. Now onto the main topic.

Because WordPress is an Open Source piece of software, you can view all the code, study it, analyze it, learn from it and even help improve it.

Developing WordPress Themes with Underscores

If you ever wanted to learn how to create your very own WordPress Theme but didn’t know where to begin, then you’re in luck. The team at Automattic developed a Starter Theme that you can use as a starting point. It’s an un-styled theme with the base folders, files and code that you need to create that next amazing theme.

It gives you the basic structure you need and is ready for you to add to it and make it yours. In order to work with it, you should have a decent understanding of:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • and the WordPress Coding Standards

Now don’t let that list of “things to know” intimidate you. The starter theme is well documented and the WordPress Team has gone through great lengths to support developers with free tools and resources to help you along the way. There are also other tools developed by others that you should definitely use. Especially since I highly recommend developing locally on your computer. I will mention what you need to get started below.

Which Operating System Should you use?

It really doesn’t matter. MacOS, Windows and Linux are all fully capable, without limitation, to enable you to develop locally.

WordPress Resources

Developer Tools

Note: *You only need one local server, either MAMP or Wamp. Choose one and have fun.

Learning To Code

There are a bunch of resources to help you along your journey to becoming the next great coder. The best part is there’s a lot of free online learning sites.

With the list I provided above, you can definitely become a WordPress Developer or Web Developer. All you need is the desire to learn and discipline to commit to learning daily. Below is the video walk through of the Underscores Starter Theme. Watch it, learn from it and when you create your first WordPress Theme, contact me so I can give you some feed back.

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