Join Carrie Dils for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up a WordPress development environment, part of WordPress and Genesis: Customizing Themes.
Throughout this course, I'll be working on a local installation of WordPress. To follow along, you'll need WordPress installed locally. You'll need a text, or code editor so you can edit your code. And lastly, you'll need a browser to view your work. If you want to match my work environment, I'll show you the tools I'm using. First, let's talk about setting up a local installation of WordPress. There are several ways to go about this, depending on your operating system. If you're on a Windows system, the simplest way to install WordPress locally is Bitnami.
Bitnami is a one click install, that installs WordPress directly on your computer. To get started, go to bitnami.org. Select Applications from the menu, and then find WordPress. From there, you can select the installation type that's best for you. If you want more control over your server, you can install either the WampServer for Windows or the MAMPServer for Mac. They're actually the same application, and all they do is set up Apache, MySQL, and PHP on your computer so you can run a full web server.
In you install either the WAMP server or the MAMP server, then afterwards you'll still have to install WordPress under those servers so that WordPress works. Of course, you can download WordPress directly from WordPress.org. Since I'm on a Mac, I'm using Mamp for this course. Another option for running WordPress locally on your computer is DesktopServer by ServerPress. It's a virtual server, and the simplest option, in my opinion. If you want to learn more about DesktopServer, there's a course in the lynda.com library with Morten Rand-Hendriksen, called Installing and Running WordPress, DesktopServer.
The reason you want to install WordPress locally on your computer is so when you make changes, you don't have to upload those changes to the server to see if they worked. Instead, you can just make changes to a file in your text editor, save it, and then reload the page in your browser to see the updates. It also means that you can take projects with you on the go. If you're on a laptop, and you don't have Internet access, you'll still be able to work on your themes because they're on your computer, not the Internet. Next, let's talk about a code editor. For a code editor, I prefer Sublime Text. It's a Cross-platform texting code editor for OSX, Windows, and Linux.
While it's available for free to try, it does require a paid license for continued use. If you don't want to pay for a code editor, don't worry. There are a lot of free options available, such as Notepad++ for Windows, or Text Wrangler for Mac, just to name a couple. I found that code editors tend to be a matter of personal preference. Ask five web developers what their favorite code editor is and you'll get five different answers. All of that to say, don't get caught up in which one you use. Find something that works well for you, go with it, and you can always change down the line if needed.
Lastly, you'll need a web browser to view your handiwork. I'll be using Chrome for this class, but any modern browser is fine. Now that you've got local install of WordPress, a code editor and a browser, you're just about ready. The final step is to make sure that you downloaded the Genesis framework from studiopress.com and have it installed on your local WordPress site.
- Setting up your development environment
- Understanding the child theme template structure
- Working with the Genesis loop
- Working with actions
- Editing theme styles
- Making commonly requested customizations