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WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes
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Styling the sidebar


From:

WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes

with Chris Coyier

Video: Styling the sidebar

Our structure is looking good, our header is looking good, and we just finished with the navigation. So let's finish off styling of our sidebar. The last thing we have to do here are these little boxes over here, so if we look in the Photoshop file, this is what we are trying to accomplish, and now if we look in our index.html file, each of those boxes are within these divs here. Div with a class of widget. So that's what we are going to working with in our CSS.
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  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

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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

Styling the sidebar

Our structure is looking good, our header is looking good, and we just finished with the navigation. So let's finish off styling of our sidebar. The last thing we have to do here are these little boxes over here, so if we look in the Photoshop file, this is what we are trying to accomplish, and now if we look in our index.html file, each of those boxes are within these divs here. Div with a class of widget. So that's what we are going to working with in our CSS.

Now I'll scroll to the bottom here, just after the navigation, and anything with a class of widget here is what we are going to be styling. Now in our Photoshop file, the only image we are going to be need is this gradient, little page curl thing here. That's this layer. I can verify that by turning at on and off, this layer here, Sidebar Box. So I am going to option click on the eyeball, and get just it activated.

Then in the Image I am going to Trim and give rid of all Transparent Pixels, so we have just it. I am going to Save for Web & Devices and call this image Widget Shadow and save it into our Images folder. Now, all of our widgets here now-- I know that little bit of confusing term here, because we are working with the Widget Corp. But widget is the proper term here, because eventually WordPress is going to be referring to these boxes as widgets.

We'll give each of these divs with a class of widgets a background of URL, where we go get this widget-shadow.png. We are going to set it in the top right with a no-repeat value. Now if we just save that and come out here and look, we are going to get our shadow in there. But the placement is a little weird. Because the edge of this image is actually a part of the shadow, it doesn't line up perfectly with our anchor links from our menu above.

We can fix that most easily by just nudging back in the size of those links, so if we just give each of those links a slightly smaller width, that should be getting lined up nicely. Now each of those widgets will have some padding applied to it, quite a bit of padding, give it 30 pixels, and we'll push it down away from the navigation with some top margin.

Also 30 pixels will stay geographically sound here. So we are making good progress there. Let's deal with this Latest Post here. We will remind ourselves with this is looking like in our Photoshop file. I am going to open this up and back out. It's the same color as this here. So let me go ahead and sample that color. We are displaying the latest post from our blogs, so having the color match the link to the blog kind of make sense there, and we'll remind ourselves with the HTML looks like.

It's this h4 tag within the div with a class of widget. So widget, h4, has this color that we just copied, and it's aligned to the right, so we will say text-align:right. That's a little bigger than the default font size. See it has a little bit of a shadow here? We are going to go ahead and copy that same text shadow that we used on the h1 tag for the site, so consistency in shadowing there.

It's uppercase letters, wherein the HTML file it's not uppercase. We will make it uppercase, text-transform: uppercase, and we'll give it some margin. We'll check in and see how it is doing in the browser. I am going to save that, reload the browser. Good, we are doing okay. It's a little more spaced out letter-wise, so we can use letter spacing.

Literally 5 pixels there, and I think we're about where we want to be. I think this is not bold, whereas in the browser here we are bold, so we can remove that bolding of font weight. Pretty good. Now right below that in the Photoshop mockup is this date field here, so it's the same color. We will make sure that we have a copy of that color as the background this time, instead of the text color. So in the HTML that's a div with a class of date here, so in the CSS we'll say widget.date.

It has a background of that color, and the text color, it's not white. It's a bit of a yellow color. We will try and get sample of it. It has a little padding of its own. It's also aligned to the right, but the special part of this is how it is aligned to the left here, all the way to the edge of the page, but we have padding on this widget that's going to affect that. So let's save and can see where we are in the browser.

Well, that background color didn't apply, because I spelled it wrong. So we'll fix that and reload. You can see it's pushed in this 30 pixels. Now that's what we told it to do, but we want to stretch it back out. So how we can do that is just giving it some extra width and then pulling it back to the left with a negative margin. So we will make its width maybe 235 pixels and use some margin.

Now we're going to push to the bottom, so maybe 12 pixels in the bottom, but also to the left -30 pixels. So if we Save there and reload, it should touch that edge just like we want to. There are few other things that we need to style with that. Let's take a look in Photoshop. It's uppercase, a little smaller of a font size, and letter spaced out a little bit. Not quite as much as the post though, and we should be right on with that. Yeah, perfect! Now we have the title for latest post. We will make that bigger and that's an h5 tag.

That's as low as we are going with other tags. Say the font-weight of it is also normal not bold. It's a little bit lager though actually, 18 pixels in size, and we will push the text below it down a little bit as well. So that's looking good. Now just the last thing as this text right here below it. That's a p tag, so widget p, and now we will make the color a light gray color, and its font size much smaller at 12 pixels.

So if we hit save and reload, there we have a nice looking sidebar unit. It's looking just like our Photoshop version, so with some very minor alterations, we can fix that bottom up, just changing a few colors and we will be ready to style the main content area.

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


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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.
 
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