I just started out with WordPress a few months ago, first on the .com site, and then moved over to a self-hosted version, where I kept the same theme for simplicity. But I soon decided that I wanted more from my theme. My first requirement for a new theme was simple - I wanted the post title to appear in h1 tags on the post page - so I wound up looking at Thesis, and then Thematic.
I have plenty of exposure to the web, understand the basics of html and css, but have no experience of using them beyond linking and images, so I consider myself to be an intelligent newbie. I was able to buy hosting, a domain, install and upgrade WordPress, add plugins, and so on without much trouble, and without it taking up much time. All these things were firsts for me. In contrast, working with Thematic has been pretty hard going.
I read the instructions (!), created a child theme, and then started to muck about with css. BTW, I used a plugin called theme test drive, which allows me to preview my theme without changing the live website - I recommend it.
I soon noticed that it's hard to reverse engineer the source code, and started to create a structure diagram - a bit like the one here on the forums, only with bits missing (newbie). I wanted to know which class or id to apply the new styles to, and it helps to know what the names of the classes and ids are in the first place.
To cut a long story short, the help on this website assumes that you know a good deal about themes already, how they are structured, and what does what within them. The instructions for setting up the child theme were easy to follow, but once past that stage, I felt abandoned. It would be wonderful if the Thematic wiki contained some explantion of the basics on theme structure as it applies to Thematic, or some pointers to webpages where you can find out.
The questions I have are:
Which areas on the page are under the control of css, and which must be modified using functions.php?
What are theme hooks and filters, and why would I want them? The current explanation is very high level - it just says they are used to modify functions.php.
What are the ids of the main content areas? (I think this is solved by the structure map in another forum question).
What are the main classes in thematic?
Where will the widget areas appear on the live site? Some are obvious, some less so.
And finally, why isn't the content inside "nav-above" showing up on my site? Nav-below is working, nav-above is there in the code, but is not visible on the webpage.
Thanks in advance for any help.