WordPress 3: Building Child Themes

with Morten Rand-Hendriksen
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WordPress 3: Building Child Themes
Video duration: 0s 3h 11m Intermediate Updated Nov 27, 2012


Create a child theme based on an existing parent theme in WordPress and change the functionality, presentation, or styling of your website. In this course, author Morten Rand-Hendriksen shows how to use the default WordPress theme, Twenty Twelve, as a basis for a new child theme and add custom menus; new headers, sidebars, and footers; and index pages with widgets and pagination to your site. The course also demonstrates how to add a responsive welcome message to your front page using PHP and jQuery, and how to edit the many templates found in a WordPress theme. Morten explains how to perform these changes using any code editor, the developer tools in the Chrome browser, and WordPress.

Topics include:
  • Picking a parent theme
  • Creating and activating a basic WordPress child theme
  • Using the developer tools
  • Changing the header image size
  • Using conditional statements for customized effects
  • Adding custom menus to the child theme and/or a template
  • Changing the default footer content
  • Adding featured images to posts
  • Changing the display of meta content (such as date, author, category, etc.)
  • Excluding categories from the front page with custom queries
  • Including functions from external files
  • Identifying and fixing common mistakes


Hi! I am Morten Rand-Hendriksen and this is WordPress: Building Child Themes. In this course, I'll show you how to build child themes based on existing themes in WordPress. I'll start by showing you how to use free tools available on the web for all platforms to set up a solid web development environment. We'll change the look and feel of the site using custom styles in the child theme stylesheet. I'll show you how to hook into and augment the behavior of functions that ship with the parent theme.

We'll add new functionality to the site by taking existing code and changing it to fit our needs, and finally we'll put it altogether to create a new and improved user experience on the front page. I've stocked this course full of tips, tricks, and code examples to make it easy for you to create child themes based on existing WordPress themes and adding new functionality and new style to your own site. So let's get cracking with WordPress: Building Child Themes.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about WordPress 3: Building Child Themes .

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Q: The 2010 version of this course no longer covers installing BitNami. Can you provide directions?
A: Instructions on how to install WordPress using BitNami can be found at
 http://bitnami.org/stack/wordpress. Use the "Installer" option. 
It is pretty straight forward and almost impossible to mess up.

lynda.com also has a dedicated course on WAMP and MAMP (Installing Apache, MySQL, and PHP) that is relevant and you might find helpful.
Q:When looking to download PHP development tool at www.eclipse.org/pdt/, as advised by Morten, but when accessing the site via this link, the screenshot in the movie is very different from what it takes you to on the website.
A: Eclipse has a very active developer cycle and updates quite frequently. The interface changes all the time. I recommend using Notepad++ (Windows) or TextWrangler (Mac) instead. They perform the same function but are far less cumbersome to deal with.
Q: This course was updated on 11/27/2012. What changed?
A: This course was heavily revised to reflect changes to the default WordPress parent theme, Twenty Twelve, and updates to WordPress's functionality. The entire course was re-recorded to reflect changes to the interface. Then we added new movies on text styling, the Related Posts feature, and the welcome message features. There are also two brand new chapters, "Modifying and Adding Functions" and "Working with Featured Images." We recommend that members who have seen the whole course start again from the beginning to get the most benefit from this update.
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