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WordPress 3: Building Child Themes
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Importing parent theme styles


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WordPress 3: Building Child Themes

with Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Video: Importing parent theme styles

When you make a child theme, you start off with a theme that displays all the content without any style. That's because your child theme stylesheet is currently empty. If you're going to build a new layout with completely custom styles this is great because you can start from scratch, but in most cases, you want to import the existing styles from the parent theme and then work based on those styles. There are two ways of doing this and they're used in two very different scenarios, so I'll explain both of them and then I'll show you my recommendation.
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  1. 6m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
    3. What you need to know before watching this course
      1m 29s
    4. Getting the right tools for theme creation
      2m 50s
  2. 17m 2s
    1. What is a WordPress child theme and when should you use it?
      2m 38s
    2. Picking a parent theme
      3m 55s
    3. Making sure you have the Twenty Twelve parent theme
      1m 50s
    4. Creating and activating a basic child theme
      4m 20s
    5. Importing parent theme styles
      4m 19s
  3. 16m 2s
    1. Using the developer tools
      3m 53s
    2. Modifying existing styles
      4m 24s
    3. Adding space between paragraphs
      4m 7s
    4. Changing font family styles
      3m 38s
  4. 31m 47s
    1. Understanding the WordPress template hierarchy
      3m 12s
    2. Modifying existing templates
      2m 33s
    3. Moving the header image
      4m 29s
    4. Adding Related Posts feature to posts
      6m 26s
    5. Creating custom page templates
      5m 43s
    6. Using conditional statements for customized effects
      5m 41s
    7. Creating custom header, footer, and sidebar templates
      3m 43s
  5. 17m 5s
    1. Understanding the different index pages and what they do
      4m 6s
    2. Adding author, date, and time information to the index loop
      7m 15s
    3. Changing the appearance of category index pages
      5m 44s
  6. 43m 5s
    1. Introducing functions.php
      3m 24s
    2. Overriding existing functions
      3m 23s
    3. Adding pagination to index pages
      5m 49s
    4. Adding to existing functions
      3m 21s
    5. Adding a new footer menu to Twenty Twelve
      6m 24s
    6. Adding a new widgetized area to pages
      4m 9s
    7. Adding static content to the sidebar
      7m 44s
    8. Replacing existing functions
      2m 36s
    9. Adding a Google font through a function
      6m 15s
  7. 10m 24s
    1. Adding new featured image sizes
      5m 41s
    2. Adding featured images to posts and pages
      4m 43s
  8. 31m 1s
    1. Adding a welcome message to the front page
      1m 22s
    2. Displaying page content in an index page
      7m 42s
    3. Hooking in a featured image
      4m 34s
    4. Making the welcome message responsive
      6m 27s
    5. Restricting content to the first page of the blog
      4m 22s
    6. Adding a jQuery function to show or hide the welcome message
      6m 34s
  9. 10m 23s
    1. Adding a custom favicon
      3m 58s
    2. Adding a custom screenshot
      2m 29s
    3. Adding footer information
      3m 56s
  10. 7m 14s
    1. What to do when a child theme crashes your website
      4m 38s
    2. Updating parent and child themes
      2m 36s

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WordPress 3: Building Child Themes
3h 11m Intermediate Jun 23, 2011 Updated Nov 27, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Create a child theme based on an existing parent theme in WordPress and change the functionality, presentation, or styling of your website. In this course, author Morten Rand-Hendriksen shows how to use the default WordPress theme, Twenty Twelve, as a basis for a new child theme and add custom menus; new headers, sidebars, and footers; and index pages with widgets and pagination to your site. The course also demonstrates how to add a responsive welcome message to your front page using PHP and jQuery, and how to edit the many templates found in a WordPress theme. Morten explains how to perform these changes using any code editor, the developer tools in the Chrome browser, and WordPress.

Topics include:
  • Picking a parent theme
  • Creating and activating a basic WordPress child theme
  • Using the developer tools
  • Changing the header image size
  • Using conditional statements for customized effects
  • Adding custom menus to the child theme and/or a template
  • Changing the default footer content
  • Adding featured images to posts
  • Changing the display of meta content (such as date, author, category, etc.)
  • Excluding categories from the front page with custom queries
  • Including functions from external files
  • Identifying and fixing common mistakes
Subjects:
Web CMS
Software:
WordPress
Author:
Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Importing parent theme styles

When you make a child theme, you start off with a theme that displays all the content without any style. That's because your child theme stylesheet is currently empty. If you're going to build a new layout with completely custom styles this is great because you can start from scratch, but in most cases, you want to import the existing styles from the parent theme and then work based on those styles. There are two ways of doing this and they're used in two very different scenarios, so I'll explain both of them and then I'll show you my recommendation.

The two methods are overwriting versus overriding, and though they sound almost the same, they're very different when you actually do them. What I mean when I say overwriting is this; you go to the parent theme, you copy out all the code from the stylesheet, and you paste all that code into your child theme stylesheet. That way you have full micromanaging control over every little piece of style code in your theme, and you never have a situation where one piece of code overrides another piece of code.

It means that you can ignore anything that's happening in the parent theme, and you can write your own style code, and everything will be fine. That means no surprises, but it also means that if an update comes out for the parent theme, and that update includes new content, that new content will not be styled and you'll have to write styles for it. Overriding on the other hand works completely differently. Rather than copying the styles from the parent stylesheet over into the child stylesheet, you simply reference the parent styles, and then you just add the styles you want to change in your child theme styles.css file.

This means you have control over everything you want to control, and you leave everything else to the parent theme. It also means that any future styles that are included in an update will also be included in your child theme, and it means that in very rare cases some of those future styles may mess with what you've already created. But the most important thing about overriding is that you will always get all the updates and it's a lot less work. So I recommend, unless you're changing everything, you should always use the overriding method.

So let's see how that's done. If I go into my child theme stylesheet through WordPress > wp-content > themes and childoftwentytwelve, I'll open it in my code editor, and here I am going to import the styles from the original stylesheet. That's done with one line of code at import. This is the function, and then I say URL because I need to point to the original stylesheet. I wrap it in a parenthesis and then I have to point to the original stylesheet.

If I look in my themes folder, you'll see the original stylesheet is found under Twenty Twelve and it's down here and it's called style.css. So what I need to do is navigate out of childoftwentytwelve into twentytwelve and then point at the file. So I'll go dot dot, this navigates me one folder back so I am in the themes folder, /twentytwelve which is the parent theme folder, /style.css, and the parenthesis and now I'm going save the stylesheet, go back into the browser, reload the page.

And now you see because I am importing all the styles we now see the page that looks exactly like the Twenty Twelve theme, and if I go in to the source code, go Ctrl+U in Chrome, you can see down here we have the stylesheet and a link to the stylesheet. And if I click on this link which points to the stylesheet under childoftwentytwelve, you'll see that that in turn links directly to the 2012 stylesheet. Understanding this technique of importing the styles from the parent stylesheet into the child theme stylesheet without actually copying it, and then overriding those existing styles is very important when you work with the child themes, because then you only have to focus on changing the things that you want to change on the website and you can leave everything else alone.

This is the whole point of child themes. You make simple changes in a simple way without having to become a theme developer in the process.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about WordPress 3: Building Child Themes.


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Q: The 2010 version of this course no longer covers installing BitNami. Can you provide directions?
A: Instructions on how to install WordPress using BitNami can be found at
 http://bitnami.org/stack/wordpress. Use the "Installer" option. 
It is pretty straight forward and almost impossible to mess up.

lynda.com also has a dedicated course on WAMP and MAMP (Installing Apache, MySQL, and PHP) that is relevant and you might find helpful.
Q:When looking to download PHP development tool at www.eclipse.org/pdt/, as advised by Morten, but when accessing the site via this link, the screenshot in the movie is very different from what it takes you to on the website.
A: Eclipse has a very active developer cycle and updates quite frequently. The interface changes all the time. I recommend using Notepad++ (Windows) or TextWrangler (Mac) instead. They perform the same function but are far less cumbersome to deal with.
Q: This course was updated on 11/27/2012. What changed?
A: This course was heavily revised to reflect changes to the default WordPress parent theme, Twenty Twelve, and updates to WordPress's functionality. The entire course was re-recorded to reflect changes to the interface. Then we added new movies on text styling, the Related Posts feature, and the welcome message features. There are also two brand new chapters, "Modifying and Adding Functions" and "Working with Featured Images." We recommend that members who have seen the whole course start again from the beginning to get the most benefit from this update.
 
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