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Using the developer tools

From: WordPress 3: Building Child Themes

Video: Using the developer tools

When you look at a website in a browser, what you're actually seeing is that browser's interpretation of the code behind the website. In my browser right now I have my website running the Twenty Twelve theme, but what this actually looks like is this. What you're seeing here is the true content of that website, is lots of code and lots of text. So what happens is, the browser grabs all that content, combines it in cascading style sheet code and makes it look nice for humans. When you work with child themes, or any other theme for that matter, one of the first things people want to do when they install a WordPress site and start working with the theme is make changes to the stylesheet, and this is where an important tool in this browser comes in.

Using the developer tools

When you look at a website in a browser, what you're actually seeing is that browser's interpretation of the code behind the website. In my browser right now I have my website running the Twenty Twelve theme, but what this actually looks like is this. What you're seeing here is the true content of that website, is lots of code and lots of text. So what happens is, the browser grabs all that content, combines it in cascading style sheet code and makes it look nice for humans. When you work with child themes, or any other theme for that matter, one of the first things people want to do when they install a WordPress site and start working with the theme is make changes to the stylesheet, and this is where an important tool in this browser comes in.

Working with style sheets can be really hard because the style code is not directly associated with the main code of the page. You don't see the styles in the markup. So when you're working with stylesheets, in the past, you had to write the style code, save it upload it to the browser, and then see what happened in the browser. But now that process has become much simpler because most modern browsers have web developer tools built-in to make it easy for you to connect to HTML and the CSS together, and also experiment with it.

In Chrome, the web developer tools can be accessed in several different ways. You can go up to the menu here on the far right corner, and select Tools > Developer tools. You can also just hit Ctrl+Shift+I in your browser, this will also open the web developer tools, or if you want to target a specific element, let's say I want to make changes to this link here, all I have to do is right-click on it, select Inspect element and the web developer tools will open directly to that element. The web developer tools are actually advanced applications that let you interact with the live code on the web and make changes to it and experiment with it to find out how it works.

For example, if we want to make changes to this link that I just highlighted, I can go select it in my code here in the Web Developer tools. On the left side, I have the HTML output. On the right side, I have the corresponding CSS that impacts it. So here I can see that this link is affected by this a:hover state, so if I want to make changes to that a:hover state, so that the link looks different, I can go in and edit it right here. I'll simply double-click on the color code and then I can change to color code to something else, I'll say cb4e18, and now you see it went from blue to red.

If I don't like what I just did, I can simply turn it off, or I can reload the page and it resets back to the way it was. So here you are experimenting with live code instead of actually making a permanent change, which means you can go in and edit code to see what happens and if you don't like it, you just revert back, and if you do like it you save it. You can do the same thing with HTML. If I want to see what this line looks like if it's much longer, I can simply go in here to the HTML double-click on the line and then just keep writing, and you see I'm filling in extra HTML that only lives inside my browser.

I'm not making changes to the website itself. I'm just making changes to the instance of this website that lives on my computer and when I reload the page, that change goes away. So basically the browser and the web developer tools gives me an environment where I can experiment with my code and figure out how things fit together and how they work, and then once I have a code I want and it looks the way I want it to, I can copy it out and save it and make it permanent. Using the built-in tools and browsers like Chrome can help you easily view, dissect and make changes to both the web markup or HTML and the style code or CSS of any website.

This makes a short process of targeting specific elements and changing how they appear.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for WordPress 3: Building Child Themes
WordPress 3: Building Child Themes

45 video lessons · 33101 viewers

Morten Rand-Hendriksen
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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