Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes
Illustration by

Building the navigation


From:

WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes

with Chris Coyier

Video: Building the navigation

So our sidebar is looking good. Structurally it's in place. We have our navigation that you can see here, but this navigation is pretty much just a copy and paste from our static site that we are working in, that you can see over here, it's just static. We're basically going to get rid of that. Gone, and we're going to replace it with WordPress 3.0's new dynamic menu system. It's really nice. it's specific to WordPress 3.0, which we'll be covering here in a minute. So, let me just save that and you can refresh this page and see that our navigation is gone here.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 6m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 19s
    2. Using the exercise files
      5m 25s
  2. 40m 42s
    1. Reviewing the client spec and deciding on WordPress
      6m 50s
    2. Reviewing assets and resources and creating a mood board
      8m 41s
    3. Building a home page mockup
      11m 26s
    4. Finishing the home page
      12m 27s
    5. Planning the rest of the site
      1m 18s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Starting with a base project
      3m 6s
    2. Writing HTML code for the home page
      12m 7s
    3. Starting the CSS: Creating the header and basic style structure
      11m 28s
    4. Styling the Navigation panel
      10m 59s
    5. Styling the sidebar
      7m 55s
    6. Styling the home page, pt. 1
      8m 20s
    7. Styling the home page, pt. 2
      8m 17s
    8. Finishing the CSS
      3m 14s
    9. Moving on: One page is enough
      2m 43s
  4. 1h 56m
    1. Setting up WordPress and MAMP on a Mac
      6m 7s
    2. Setting up WordPress and WAMP on a Windows computer
      5m 38s
    3. Modifying important settings
      6m 26s
    4. Starting with a blank theme template
      4m 35s
    5. Introducing template file structure
      4m 55s
    6. Breaking up the HTML
      9m 53s
    7. Building the sidebar
      3m 54s
    8. Building the navigation
      7m 20s
    9. Showing one recent post
      4m 1s
    10. Fetching external content
      8m 23s
    11. Creating a custom home page
      3m 30s
    12. Introducing custom fields
      5m 23s
    13. Creating custom product pages
      9m 52s
    14. Creating custom category pages
      15m 39s
    15. Creating the blog home page
      5m 39s
    16. Creating a single blog entry page
      4m 15s
    17. Implementing comments
      5m 57s
    18. Finishing the home page
      4m 45s
  5. 34m 17s
    1. Will this work with WordPress?
      3m 10s
    2. Using JavaScript in themes the right way
      8m 35s
    3. Implementing something fun with JavaScript
      7m 53s
    4. Introducing plug-ins
      6m 31s
    5. Setting up security
      8m 8s
  6. 2m 7s
    1. Goodbye
      2m 7s

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes
4h 28m Intermediate Nov 03, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes, author Chris Coyier shows how to build a custom WordPress theme from scratch and satisfy common client requests. The course covers steps necessary to build a theme using a complete workflow with Photoshop, HTML, CSS, and WordPress 3.0. Also included are tutorials on enhancing a WordPress site with JavaScript, using plugins, and ensuring site security. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Building a design in Photoshop
  • Converting Photoshop design to HTML and CSS
  • Setting up MAMP on Mac and WAMP on Windows
  • Moving HTML and CSS into a WordPress theme
  • Building navigation
  • Using custom fields
  • Creating a commenting system
  • Using JavaScript and plugins
Subjects:
Developer Web CMS
Software:
WordPress
Author:
Chris Coyier

Building the navigation

So our sidebar is looking good. Structurally it's in place. We have our navigation that you can see here, but this navigation is pretty much just a copy and paste from our static site that we are working in, that you can see over here, it's just static. We're basically going to get rid of that. Gone, and we're going to replace it with WordPress 3.0's new dynamic menu system. It's really nice. it's specific to WordPress 3.0, which we'll be covering here in a minute. So, let me just save that and you can refresh this page and see that our navigation is gone here.

And I'm also going to go to the wp-admin here. Under Appearance and Menus is where you build these new menus in WordPress 3.0. Now, it's giving us this warning up here at the top here and says this theme does not natively support menus and it's giving us that warning because we haven't declared any new menus. So, in order to kind of enable and use this feature, we're going to have to do a little bit of coding to enable it. That happens in the functions.php file. So, at the bottom of this, we're going to keep the stuff that's in there.

The stuff that's in there is good and helping us out, but we're going to add some new stuff at the bottom. What we're adding is a new function called register nav menus. So, register_nav_menus and we're going to pass to that function one parameter. That's an array and in this array, we're going to say 'main_nav'. We're declaring this, 'main_nav,' and we're going to give a description of 'Main Navigation Menu.' So that's that.

We have called it, we can save it, we can refresh over here and it's going to not give us that error anymore, but we should future proof or even more appropriate kind of past proof our code here, in that this function, register_nav_menus, is specific to WordPress 3.0 and later. So if you were to grab this code and use it on a WordPress 2.9 site, it's going to give you a PHP error. A show-stopping PHP error that will prevent your theme from even running at all, which is bad.

So, we're going to wrap this whole bit of code here in the special PHP function. It's not WordPress specific. It's just a PHP function called function-exists. So, if function_exists, and you can see an example of it up here. This is for widgetizing a sidebar. Now that didn't exist forever in WordPress in either. So this code is kind of past-proofed and then it wraps this register_sidebar function in the same thing. So, we can even copy and paste. We'll just steal their version of it. Only we are not testing for register_sidebar; we're testing for register_nav_menus.

So we'll do that and then close out that if, and we have some past proofed code here. Now, if we save this and reload, nothing is going to change at all over here, but since this is enabled, we can now create the menu that we want to create. So, let's start by doing that. We'll call it Main Nav Menu. No problem. Create Menu. Now we need to fill that menu with stuff. What do we want to fill it with? Well, if you remember back in our static design, we have homepage, About page, Contact page, all these things we need to have in our menu.

So, how do we fill our menu with it in the WordPress site over here? We don't have any content yet to do that with. So, let's just quickly create some content so we have some pages to fill it with. So, what were those things again? Now that I'm in the pages land, I have a little quick link up here says New Page. So I'll click New Page and I'll make the Contact Us page. We have a special homepage for our site. So I'm going to make a homepage and publish it. I'm not worrying about filling these with content. I just need the pages to exist, so I can make a menu out of them. I have a blog.

Does that cover it, or are we missing one? We've got four in there and we're missing one. So, let's look and see what it was again. Buy Widget! That's our dtore page. So, we'll jump back and make the store and hit Publish there. So we have the five things that are what we plan on being our main navigation menu at least for now. So we'll go back under Appearance, under Menus, and we're going to need to add stuff to this menu that we created. So, one of those things that you can add to a menu is existing pages. So here's those five pages we just created.

I'm going to go ahead and check all of them and click Add to Menu and they're going to pop over here into this area. Now, I'm just going to hit Save Menu and then I'm going to go ahead and Command+Click so we can look at the front end of this site again, and nothing is there. It's because we haven't put anything in our sidebar.php file where we deleted that old static menu. We need to put some code here to output that new menu that we just created. So, the function for that is WP nav menu. So, we'll open up PHP. It's a PHP function, wp_nav_menu, and we pass it again one parameter.

That's an array and it's menu and then we need to say what we called that menu. So, let's go back into the WordPress admin and copy and paste exactly what we named that menu. So this bit of code is outputting that new menu that we built. So, let's hit Save, go back to the front of the site, and reload and you should see our menu pop in there, which you do. Fabulous! So that's looking good. Now, why did we do it this way? Specifically so we could get all the cool dynamic stuff that WordPress menus can do.

So, back in the admin, I can drag these things around and kind of match what we've done before. So, let's take a look at what the order was before. We want it to go Home, About, Contact. I can just drag these things around, Homepage, About. Notice how it indented a little bit here. That's going to make it a submenu. We don't want that. I'm going to drag it to the left, so they all stay on one level. Home, About, Store, Blog. Now, if I hit Save, jump back over to the front, you'll see them rearranged themselves in this order.

So, boom, they've rearranged themselves. Now, the color stays the same because of our all little smart CSS trickery, how we colored them based on their position, not based on what they are. So, no matter how we rearrange them, they'll stay in this color pattern, which we prefer to stay in that pattern. So, you can imagine that this is a lot easier for our client to deal with, and really it's easier for you to deal with too. If you ask me, if you just want to change a few things, add a few things, it's a lot easier to do from the admin than it would be to have to jump into a code editor and edit these things.

So, if your client, they want to add a link to Google.com, they can just add a custom link, just hit Add to Menu and it'll pop down at bottom of this menu. Just hit Save, reload over here, and you'll see Google pop right in there. They can rearrange that of course, hit Save, and see Google jump up in that menu, whatever. You can get rid of things really. So we will just click this arrow to drop down, hit Remove, it's gone, hit Save, jump back to the front, reload the page, and Google is gone.

So, you can see how dynamic and easy it is to deal with menus and that will serve us well in the future.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes.


Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: What prerequisite skill do I need to be successful in this course?
A: This course is set at the intermediate/advanced level. You’ll do best if you have a good knowledge of Photoshop, plus a good grasp of PHPHTML, and CSS.

Q: The index.php file that the author is working with in Chapter 3 doesn't match mine after the "Building a sidebar" movie. It appears to change between the "Building a sidebar" and "Building the navigation" movies. What code am I missing?
A: The author makes some changes off screen between several movies in this title, simply because there is so much material to cover. These changes are provided in the exercise files.

However, if you are following along without the exercise files, you catch up to him by adding the following code to your index.php file, directly after the <?php get_header(); ?> line:

<div id="main-content">

Near the end of the file, just before  <?php get_sidebar(); ?>, add a closing div tag, </div>, to complete the div wrapper.

The resulting code will look like so. You may also copy and paste this into a new file and save it as index.php.

<?php get_header(); ?>

<div id='main-content'>

    <?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>

        <div <?php post_class() ?> id="post-<?php the_ID(); ?>">

            <h2><a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>"><?php the_title(); ?></a></h2>

            <?php include (TEMPLATEPATH . '/inc/meta.php' ); ?>

            <div class="entry">
                <?php the_content(); ?>
            </div>

            <div class="postmetadata">
                <?php the_tags('Tags: ', ', ', '<br />'); ?>
                Posted in <?php the_category(', ') ?> |
                <?php comments_popup_link('No Comments »', '1 Comment »', '% Comments »'); ?>
            </div>

        </div>

    <?php endwhile; ?>

    <?php include (TEMPLATEPATH . '/inc/nav.php' ); ?>

    <?php else : ?>

        <h2>Not Found</h2>

    <?php endif; ?>
   
</div>

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>

<?php get_footer(); ?>

Q: How do I load my custom theme once I have finished?
A: Copy the Custom theme folder to your new WordPress installation and put it in wp-content > themes. Then you can activate the new theme and work with it from there.
 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Notes cannot be added for locked videos.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.