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

WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores

with Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Video: Highlighting the most recent post in the index template

When I design and develop WordPress themes I try to imagine what the Since all this will happen in the content on the And here we're testing for several different things.
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  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

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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

Highlighting the most recent post in the index template

When I design and develop WordPress themes I try to imagine what the ideal experience for someone who stumbles upon the site for the first time. What I've found is, often people hear about a post on a site, and they go to the front page to read that post. And if they land on the front page like this, and see that the first post has truncated and only showing the excerpt and see that the post blends in with every other post, they're less likely to read it. To deal with this problem, I like to display the first post on the front page differently from the rest of the posts in the archives.

So I display the full-featured image, and the full content and I give the post author the ability to truncate the content wherever she wants, or she can put in the more tag anywhere within the content. And only there will the continue reading link appear. This can all be achieved using some conditional statements, and by coping code over from content single dot php, and inter content php. Since all this will happen in the content on the front page, it's all going to happen inside content dot php. So I'll open that template. And then first let me just show you how you can target just the first post.

On the front page, and not any of the other pages. So I'll create a new function here, I'll put in a PHP delimiter, and close it. And then I'll create a conditional statement if. And here we're testing for several different things. First we want to get the first item, and only the first item. And we do that by getting the query that was sent back to us from the database. And then we're saying we only want the current posts, and we're checking for the number. So I'll say Dollar, WP, query. So this is the item that was sent back to us from the database, and I'm looking inside the item for the current posts.

And I'm checking to make sure that the current post is item number zero. So in a database query, item number zero is the first item. Then I also want to check that this is not a paged template. Meaning no one has gone down to the bottom and clicked on page two, or three, or four. So I'll do that by using the is paged function. So I'll say not is paged. So finally I need to know that this is the index template, so I'm not applying this highlighting to an archive template. And the way I do that is by using the function is front page.

And now, if all of these conditions are met, I want to display the text, This is the first post on the front page! Now, I can save my function and go and reload my front page. And we see the text, This is the first post on the front page, on the first post of the front page, not on the second one, or any of the other ones. And, if I navigate down, and switch to page number two. You'll see the text doesn't appear here, and it also doesn't appear if I go to one of the archives.

So now I know my conditional statement works, and this is where we need to make some dramatic changes to the content.php template. The first I'll take out this example I put in, and then let's just think quickly about what we want to do here. First we want to scroll down to where the content is displayed, and here we want to make a condition where we display the full content on the first post, and then only the excerpt on every other post. In my code snippets, I have the code for that, and you can see it's fairly extensive. It's this first bulk of code here.

So I'm going to replace entry content, and entry footer here. So I'll grab all of that and replace it, and what this new bulk of code does is it runs our conditional test to make sure that this is our first post. If it is the first post it displays the content so the full content. And then it sets up the link at the bottom the one that says continue reading, and gets it to say read the article because here we have to assume the entire article has been displayed. Then if the condition is not met, meaning it's any of the other archived pages, or this is not the first post, we display the excerpt with the old read more link.

I'll save content.php, and test this to make sure it works. And now you'll see my first post displays all the content and it says read the article at the bottom. And then the next posts displayed the truncated excerpts and say Continue Reading. Now we have to deal with the featured image. So in my current content.php template, we're displaying the featured image inside the index box. But, for my first post, I want to display the larger featured image outside of the index box and then.

Not display the feature image also inside it. So here I need to create a more complicated conditional statement. So I have the whole thing here in the second bulk of code and this time I'm going to replace everything from div class index box down to entry header. Looking at the code, you'll see exactly what happens here. First, we'll run the conditional test, and if we have the first pulse on the index page, we display the full size large thumb. And we wrap it in an anchor, and we also give it the new class front index template.

And if we have this condition, and then we go down and we display the div class index box. And we'll also add the additional has thumbnail class, and you'll see why in a second. If on the other hand, this is any one of the other pages, or if it's not the first post, then we just put a date of the class and box followed by the post thumbnail. I'll save page content again. and reload my page and now you see with display the full page display at the top followed by the full article.

In then the next pulse just have the regular featured images. Now we just have to apply a tiny little bit of styling to make sure that this displays properly. Because right now you see my featured image appears separate from the rest of the post, and I actually want to shift the post in, on top of the featured image. And that's why I applied this extra has thumbnail class to they index box div, and also why I changed the div for the featured image to front index thumbnail. If you go to the code snippets.

And you scroll down you'll see here under style.css, we have some custom styles just for this situation. So I'll copy this out and go to style.css, and again this relates to my featured images so I'm going to go down to my media section, twelve point oh, scroll past all the stuff until I get to my featured images. Here they are. And here I'm going to paste in this featured image above small index thumbnail. And these new styles just shift the content around a little bit so that we can get the content for the actual polls to appear slightly on top of the featured image, so that their not dislocated from each other.

I'll save the style sheet a final time, and reload the page. And now you see the post content shifted up, a little bit on top of the featured image to show that they're closely related to each other. I can click on the featured image to go to the post, and when I scroll down I see I have the full content. So now by simply adding in a little bit of extra code and some conditional statements, I've created a very custom experience just for the front page of my site. And all the code I used here was used previously in the course in different places.

I just simply moved it around and copy it from one template into the other.

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