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The first step in building a new theme from scratch is setting up a development environment on your computer and the first step of that process is to install and run WordPress locally on your system. With WordPress running locally, you can work with the theme files directly on your computer and immediately see the changes you've made take effect on the site. You don't need to upload files to a server and then reload the server or do any of that work. Having a local install also means you don't need an Internet connection to be able to run tests on your work and that can always be a benefit.
And, as a bonus, you're the only one that can see what you're doing. No one else can access the content unless they have your computer. Depending on your chosen platform and how you want to work, there are many different methods for installing and running WordPress on your computer. To make the process of deciding on a method as simple as possible, we have a series of courses here in the lynda.com library called Installing and Running WordPress that takes you through the process with several different options. If you're on a Windows computer, my recommendation is to use WampServer and you can learn how to do that with the Installing and Running WordPress WAMP course.
If you're on a Mac, there's an equivalent to WAMP called MAMP and we also have a course covering that method called Installing and Running WordPress MAMP. Both WAMP and MAMP are full scale server environments you install on your computer. And then, once you've installed the environment, you need to set up a database, and install WordPress, and hook the database to WordPress. This is a bit more work, but in return, you have full control over the server environment, and it can do pretty much anything you want, including setting up multiple different WordPress sites and configuring the database in the way you want.
If you're looking for a simpler, one click solution, you can also check out Installing and Running WordPress: BitNami. BitNami is, like I said, a one click install that not only installs a server environment on your computer but also installs WordPress inside that server environment, sets up a database and makes sure everything works together. If you're looking for a simple way to get up and running quickly, BitNami may be the option for you. And if you're running into trouble with either WampServer, or MAMP, BitNami usually is able to work around those problems so that you get a server environment up and running.
Now these are only three options, and in the installing and running WordPress series we have several other courses and we're constantly expanding this series. So when you watch this course, you can also find other available options for you. And you can pick whichever one suits your needs the best. Throughout this course, I'll be running WordPress under Wamp on a Windows computer. But you can follow along with any of the other options on any platform you like. What matters here is WordPress itself, not the application used to run it.
Once you have WordPress installed on your computer, you need to set it up properly so that it works the way you want to. That means creating a user account for yourself with admin access, it mean adding things like the site title and tag line. And activating permalinks to get clean permalinks. You are almost ready to go. Now the WordPress is installed, you also need to know how to access WordPress's files on your computer. And depending on which solution you used to set up WordPress on your computer, the exact location of these files will differ.
To make it easy for myself, in Windows, I've created a library so that I can easily access these files. And if you're on Windows, I encourage you to do the same. Now that you have WordPress installed, and you know how to access the core files, we're ready to take the next step.
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