WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores
Illustration by John Hersey

Configuring baseline settings and functions


WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores

with Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Video: Configuring baseline settings and functions

Now that we have the theme info setup, it's time By setting the content width, you're telling So then I can go and change this to 600 pixels, and Scrolling down, I have the my_simone_setup function and Basically, if someone wants to make a child theme Then we have the function that allows the user to define a custom background color.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 10m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. What to know before you start this course
      2m 40s
    3. How this course and the lesson files work
      3m 12s
    4. Introducing Simone: A preview of the final project
      3m 59s
  2. 21m 28s
    1. Installing and running WordPress on your computer
      3m 53s
    2. Getting and installing Underscores
      4m 11s
    3. Installing WordPress Theme Unit Test data
      4m 18s
    4. Installing the Developer plugin
      2m 58s
    5. Installing and setting up NetBeans or another IDE
      6m 8s
  3. 16m 15s
    1. Designing for mobile, content, and style
      4m 52s
    2. How do WordPress themes work?
      4m 48s
    3. Understanding the WordPress template hierarchy
      2m 19s
    4. Underscores: An overview
      4m 16s
  4. 37m 5s
    1. Setting up style.css
      4m 47s
    2. Configuring baseline settings and functions
      6m 6s
    3. Enabling custom fonts and font icons
      5m 44s
    4. Applying global styles
      5m 11s
    5. Styling basic layout components
      6m 19s
    6. Making the site layout responsive
      8m 58s
  5. 23m 18s
    1. Styling the default header
      6m 25s
    2. Hiding the site title and tagline
      5m 32s
    3. Adding an optional header image function
      5m 23s
    4. Placing the header image behind the site title
      5m 58s
  6. 40m 55s
    1. Setting up menus
      3m 12s
    2. Styling the menu
      7m 42s
    3. Using Superfish for accessible menus
      8m 0s
    4. Making the menu responsive
      7m 3s
    5. Creating a custom social media menu
      5m 51s
    6. Styling the menu with icons from Font Awesome
      9m 7s
  7. 18m 9s
    1. Adding the search form
      6m 27s
    2. Adding the search icon
      6m 55s
    3. Adding show/hide functionality to the search form with jQuery
      4m 47s
  8. 33m 20s
    1. Adding a widgetized area to the footer
      7m 10s
    2. Using the Monster widget plugin to test all widgets
      2m 11s
    3. Styling the footer
      3m 6s
    4. General widget styling
      5m 33s
    5. Adding custom styles to specific widgets
      7m 34s
    6. Using Masonry to make footer widgets responsive
      7m 46s
  9. 54m 49s
    1. Changing the Single Post Template content structure
      5m 54s
    2. Changing the output of meta elements
      7m 2s
    3. Styling the Single Post Template
      7m 57s
    4. Making post meta responsive
      6m 21s
    5. Styling blockquotes
      5m 39s
    6. Creating pull quotes and pull images
      5m 1s
    7. Working with image captions
      4m 27s
    8. Working with image galleries
      4m 57s
    9. Single-post navigation
      7m 31s
  10. 30m 23s
    1. Working with the comments template
      8m 42s
    2. Using Gravatars in comments
      2m 42s
    3. Styling comments
      7m 26s
    4. Highlighting post author comments
      3m 36s
    5. Styling the comment form and messages
      7m 57s
  11. 18m 43s
    1. How do featured images (post thumbnails) work?
      2m 57s
    2. Defining featured image sizes
      3m 30s
    3. Generating new featured images with a plugin
      1m 46s
    4. Adding featured images to a template
      5m 7s
    5. Styling the featured image
      5m 23s
  12. 1h 2m
    1. The index template hierarchy
      2m 21s
    2. Customizing and styling index templates
      10m 10s
    3. Displaying excerpts or full content on index pages
      3m 6s
    4. Adding a custom Read More link
      3m 48s
    5. Adding featured images
      4m 0s
    6. Creating custom pagination navigation
      6m 4s
    7. Highlighting Sticky Posts
      2m 55s
    8. Creating custom post format templates
      5m 30s
    9. Highlighting the most recent post in the index template
      7m 22s
    10. Embracing modular design
      2m 29s
    11. Working with archive.php
      5m 54s
    12. Customizing the search results and the 404 template
      8m 28s
  13. 9m 7s
    1. Styling pages
      3m 4s
    2. Creating custom page templates
      6m 3s
  14. 4m 30s
    1. Adding editor styles to match front-end styles
      4m 30s
  15. 2m 20s
    1. Further learning
      2m 20s

Watch every course in the library with a lynda.com membership.
Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch With Underscores
6h 23m Advanced Jun 11, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Ready for your next WordPress challenge? Learn how to build more complex custom themes using the _s (aka Underscores) starter theme. Morten Rand-Hendriksen takes you from basic layout and customization to enabling advanced responsive design and accessibility features. He reinforces the basics lessons with DRY (don't repeat yourself) development practices and a structured approach that will help you build WordPress themes that meet modern standards. Plus, he'll explore core concepts like understanding the WordPress template hierarchy, creating functions, adding custom JavaScript, applying styles, and more.

Topics include:
  • Installing WordPress, Underscores, plugins, and NetBeans
  • Designing for mobile, content, and style
  • Setting up the basic theme
  • Building a custom header
  • Designing responsive, accessible menus
  • Adding a custom search form
  • Using and styling widgets
  • Adjusting the Single Post Template
  • Working with comments, featured images, index templates, and static pages
  • Adding editor styles to match front-end styles
WordPress underscores
Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Configuring baseline settings and functions

Now that we have the theme info setup, it's time to start configuring the baseline settings and functions for our theme. Most of this work is done from the functions.php file, which, as the name suggests, contains the custom functions that control the theme. The default functions.php file for underscores is well built out and has most of the elements we want either activated or waiting to be activated. All we have to do right now is go in and make the changes we want.

So let me walk you through this file as I make changes, starting at the top with this value called content_width. By setting the content width, you're telling WordPress that if someone places content within the content area of a post or a page, it can never be wider than this amount. So if they grab a YouTube video or an image from Flickr, or something like that, this value will contain it within that set width. To figure out exactly what that width is, I have to go check out my design. So in my design I can measure the width of my contents, and here you see it's 600 pixels wide.

So then I can go and change this to 600 pixels, and now, nothing will ever be above 600 pixels when it's inside the contents. Scrolling down, I have the my_simone_setup function and this is the main function of the theme. Now you'll notice that the my_simone_setup function is wrapped in a conditional statement that says, if not function exists, my_ simone_setup, then run the function. This is really important and this is what's called a pluggable function. Basically, if someone wants to make a child theme based on this theme, they can create a new function.php file and create a new function within that function.php file called my_simone_setup, and that function will automatically override R function.

Simply because when you use a child theme, the child theme functions.php file is called first and then the parent theme function.php file is called. So if you want people to be able to make child themes and you want them to be able to disable some of your functions, you simply wrap them in this type of conditional statement and make them pluggable. Scrolling down, you'll see this is where most of our features are activated. Here you have the text domain feature, which allows translation. We also have theme support for automatic feed links so that default polls and comments, RSS feeds link to the head of the page.

And then we have a commented out feature. Here we can enable support for post-thumbnails, or featured images if you want to. So here I'm going to remove the comment, so that post-thumbnails is activated, and later in the course, we'll define the sizes of our featured images and have them into our theme. Next, we have registered nav menus, which is where you define the custom menus for the theme, and as you can see, we currently have one called Primary Menu. Then we have theme support for post formats, and here you see the theme currently has support for asides, images, videos, quotes and links.

So I'm going to remove all but aside here. If you want to you can leave the ones that are there or you can add more if you like, but I'm not a big fan of post formats, I'm just going to leave aside. Then we have the function that allows the user to define a custom background color. This is a core function in WordPress, but it's one that I don't really like, so I'm actually going to deactivate it. And here I'm going to show you a little trick in NetBeans. If you want to comment out more than one line, you can simply highlight it, and then hit control or command and forward slash, and the application will automatically comment out all of those lines for you, so you don't have to do them line by line.

Scrolling down I have support for HTML5 markup. Now this is cutting edge and like I said, when you're working with underscores you have the most recent and most up to date web standards in mind. So here we have HTML5 support for comment list, search-form, content-form, and gallery and I'm going to add one more, so I'll add in caption so that my captions and my images are also wrapped in HTML5 tags. And as HTML5 progresses, I'm sure there will be more features that will appear here as well.

The next function is called register_sidebar, and this is where you define the widgetized areas for the site. So right now we have one sidebar. It's in the side. And later on in the course we'll add an additional sidebar that will be in the footer. And you'll see what I mean when I say sidebar later on, but this is where it's defined. Then we have the enqueue scripts functions which allow us to enqueue styles and scripts so this is where our style sheet is called, and also where our different JavaScripts are called and we'll add more to this later on in the course.

And then at the bottom of functions.php we have a list of required template files. And here you see that we have a call to include template tags, include extra, include customizer, and include jetpack, which are older files you will find under the include folder. There is also an optional one here. The top one, which implements to Custom Header feature. I want the Custom Header feature, because it allows to use it at a Custom Header image into the site. So I'm going to activate this feature.

Now before I save, let me just show you what WordPress looked like before I made all of these changes. So I'm going to swap back to WordPress, here I am in admin, and you'll remember I made a lot of changes to the appearance of the site. So right now you see when I hover over Appearance, we have Themes, Customize, Widgets, Menu, Background, and Editor. But you'll remember I've removed Background and then I added the Custom Header feature instead. So if I go and save functions.php now with my changes, and then go and reload the admin panel here and hover over Appearance again, you'll see in place of Background, I now have Header.

This is just one example of the different things that we changed from functions.php.

There are currently no FAQs about WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores.

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.

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.

* Estimated file size

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


You have completed WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores.

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

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 ?

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 preferences from 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.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

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.