WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms and content Management System that has grown phenomenally in the recent times. So much has been its popularity that thousands of websites are today running on WordPress with hundreds more added into the kitty each day. There are many reasons for this popularity. Today we will go in details into one of these, themes. WordPress provides a large choice of free and paid themes of all types or its users. Users can choose from these themes, apply these to their websites to get the look and functionality and get these modified to achieve custom look and functionality as well.

First of all, let us understand what a WordPress theme is actually. A theme is basically a collection of a number of different (mostly) PHP and CSS files that work together to provide a coherent look to the website and achieve targeted functionality without modifying the underlying software, WordPress in this case. A WordPress theme mainly consists of the following types of files:

  • Images: The images are used at various places on the websites to enhance the look and feel.
  • JavaScript’s: These are used mainly to achieve client side processing and to speed up the website and add various visual effects.
  • Style sheets: These define the look and feel of the website to a large extent. The classes contained in styles sheets are applied in conjugation with the PHP and HTML code.
  • Templates: These are PHP source files that are used to generate the pages requested by the users, in HTML format. These are made up of HTML, PHP and WordPress conditional tags. The main template files available in WordPress default themes are style.CSS, rtl.CSS, index.PHP, comments.PHP, front-page.PHP, home.PHP, single.PHP, single-{post-type}.PHP, page.PHP, category.PHP, tag.PHP, taxonomy.PHP, author.PHP, date.PHP, archive.PHP, search.PHP, attachment.PHP, image.PHP, 404.PHP.
  • Function file: This file contains different PHP functions defined inside it. It is automatically uploaded to the memory and its functions are called up on and executed by the different PHP files including the template files with in the theme.

The individual PHP files may contain functions, classes, and other code or may be specific files know as ‘templates’ that are used to define the presentation of information on the different website pages. A theme provides a great deal of control over the presentation of the material on the website using PHP and style sheets. It is thus natural that lots of designers and developers resort to developing their custom themes in order to achieve some specific functionality in accordance with their requirements. The many benefits of developing one’s own theme:

  • 1] Achieve a particular functionality and /or modify the presentation of different parts of the website.
  • 2] Create unique look for WordPress website.
  • 3] Create and Release a theme to public and benefit the community.
  • 4] Sell the theme online to generate revenues.
  • 5] Of course it adds to one’s own knowledge bank.

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