Don't Panic: This is a copy-paste extravanganza that shows you how to quickly create a WordPress child theme that looks just like the basic Thematic style. A perfect place to start messing around with the look of your theme. No programming skills are required.
Like any WordPress theme, you can just dive right into the Thematic code and CSS and hack away. I've done this myself and it's the reason why I created Thematic in the first place, as a starting point. And I think it's a really great starting point for any WordPress-powered blog.
But! If you want to use it as a framework for the look of your theme, that is, if you don't want to worry about your styling changes screwing up your chances of easily upgrading your theme, well, this is the article for you. I'm going to show you how to make what is called a WordPress Child Theme specifically for Thematic. Once you've done this you can start to change the look of Thematic without messing up the existing code.
Let's get started.
What is a WordPress Child Theme?
A Child Theme inherits all the template files of the Parent Theme—except for style.css and functions.php, which take precedence over the original. On ThemeShaper, I'm using a Child Theme that modifies my theme Thematic. When I update Thematic in the future (or using the trunk version) I don't have to worry about any changes made to the Parent Theme overwriting my modifications.
The Minimum Requirements
The Minimum Requirements for a WordPress Child Theme are a uniquely-named directory (awesome-theme, bonzotheme, etc.) within your themes directory and a syle.css file within that unique directory (bonzotheme/style.css).
The style.css file must begin with a commented section something like the following.
/* Theme Name: Your-theme-name Theme URI: the-theme's-homepage Description: a-brief-description Author: your-name Author URI: your-URI Template: thematic Version: a-number--optional . General comments/License Statement if any. . */
The important thing in this example is the parameter, Template. It's here that you need to define the name of your theme Parent. In this case, Thematic. Note that in this example Thematic is in lowercase. You must use the exact name and case of your theme directory.
Building Off Of The Existing Thematic Style
The best way to get started is by copying the sample child theme from the Thematic folder into the wp-content/themes directory. Then simply rename the copied folder to your new theme name and change the theme name in the copied style.css. Activate this new theme from within the WordPress themes panel and you're on your way to editing your theme worry free!
More Information on Child Themes
- Creating WordPress Child Themes—a very easy to understand guide to creating a WordPress Child Theme
- The WordPress Codex—Specifically, the section that talks about defining a parent theme
- Designing For The Sandbox—Scott Wallick, creator of The Sandbox, on what you can do with a Child Theme (he calls them Templates)
- How To Protect Your WordPress Theme Against Upgrades—My post on WordPress Child Themes
- Child Themes in WordPress 2.7—My Trac Proposal for WordPress 2.7 that outlines the current benefits of Child Themes and how they can be made even better
Some Examples of Thematic Child Themes
Over time, I'll continue adding links to this section, highlighting some dynamic-looking and different examples of Thematic Child Themes.