One of the aspects that makes WordPress such a popular personal publishing platform, and an increasingly competent CMS, is the ease with which it can be customized. The ability to customize your WordPress theme to display a widget in a new area of your site requires an understanding of what a widgetized area is, how you go about creating new ones and what your theme’s templates need in order to properly display them. This simple tutorial is going to focus in on that core feature of WordPress’ customizability, is based on some of the recent work done on the CUNY GCDI child theme and is dedicated to the Digital Fellow Hillary Miller.
Back in March I wrote an article for the WordPress section of Smashing Magazine. Please check it out if you’re interested in the history of the Toolbar, how it works and how you can interact with it.
Welcome to the first official tutorial post from the Digital Fellows Tutorials blog! This post is dedicated to our illustrious fellow Erin Glass. She posted the first ever Fellows support request to Redmine regarding an interesting, and often times difficult to understand, facet of developing custom and advanced functionality using WordPress (WP): the parent/child theme relationship. My response to that ticket, as well as an earlier email, prompted me to consolidate all of that information into this – the first Digital Fellows Tutorial.
As one of the developers here on the CUNY Academic Commons, I have the opportunity to see quite a bit of what WordPress has to offer. I routinely work with themes, plugins and the core code that ties everything together. I’ve developed my own themes for personal use, and I’ve created plugins that are used by many others. It is this experience, and my affiliation with both CUNY and the Commons, that led Matt Gold to ask me if I’d be willing to share my knowledge and experience with the members of the Digital Fellows group.
I began learning about WordPress by building themes and reading through the multitude of awesome tutorials posted across the net. A lot was learned through trial and error, and a lot was learned from copying and pasting. However, there is one topic for which I have yet to find comprehensive information: the WordPress initialization process. I mean from start to finish, how does the WordPress core take the initial page request and give back such beautiful web pages? It’s time to take the plunge and actually step through the WordPress core, file by file, so I can get a better understanding of how our favorite personal publishing platform initializes itself and then displays my content, all of our content, for the world to see. I hope this post will serve not only as a place that I can return to as a reference but also as a place for all of you to turn to when you need a refresher on the inner workings of the WordPress core structure, or if you’re just starting out and need a better understanding of what WordPress is doing with your theme and your code. Let’s get started…