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[resolved] Child Theme - looks wrong when activated- what is this used for? (9 posts)

  1. cjacob
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I've spent about 5 hours trying to create a child theme and I need help badly!

    First off, I have no idea why I am supposed to create the child theme directory before i make changes to my theme. Is this the "tester" web site? Do I make all my trial and error mistakes on THIS theme,then when it works,I activate the PARENT theme?

    But FIRST of all, my child theme is a mess. Using the WordPress docs, I created a new theme directory..."scrappy (parent) child". Using the docs, I edited the code in a newly created "style.css" directory, to read just like the example, (of course substituting Twentytwelve for scrappy). Here's the example I followed:

    \/*
    Theme Name: Twentytwelve Child
    Description: Child theme for the twentytwelve theme
    Author: Your name here
    Template: twentytwelve
    */

    @import url("../twentytwelve/style.css");
    \

    But when I activate the theme file, it's all messed up. the colors are the same, but none of my formatting is there.

    Can anyone help? Here's my site:

    http://www.momscrazywritinglife.com

    Thanks!

    Claudia

  2. andrewmills
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    >> First off, I have no idea why I am supposed to create the child theme directory before i make changes to my theme.

    Let's say you buy/download and customize a theme. Six months later, the person who made that theme comes out with an updated version of that theme to address problems or add new features. When you update your theme to the new version, any customization you've done to your original theme get overwritten with the new, updated theme. Oops!

    Not good, obviously. So, by creating a child theme first, you are "future-proofing" your website's customized features against theme updates. (When you update the theme, it updates the parent theme-- and your child theme "inherits" the benefits of those updates, while still being able to retain its own unique identity.) Make sense?

    >> But when I activate the theme file, it's all messed up. the colors are the same, but none of my formatting is there.

    Well, in a perfect world, the sequence goes sort of like this:

    1) Pick your theme and install it.
    2) Create your child theme, activate it.
    3) Customize theme, add widgets, add content, etc.

    I'm guessing you did 1, 3 and are now trying to do 2. Correct?

  3. leejosepho
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    1) Pick your theme and install it.
    2) Create your child theme, activate it.
    3) Customize theme, add widgets, add content, etc.

    I'm guessing you did 1, 3 and are now trying to do 2. Correct?

    Same guess here. WordPress remembers Settings for each Theme or Child Theme, respectively, so all the Settings clicks and such you had done in Twenty Twelve must be done again in your Child Theme.

  4. cjacob
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Wow! Thank you andrewmills for explaining the child theme. Makes PERFECT sense now! :)

    As for the steps...Hmm..I think I may have done them out of order. I made my blog site a few years ago, JUST with the parent theme (I didn't know what a child theme was back then. Just heard of it for the first time, yesterday). Over the years, I think the only "tweak" was changing the font color of the posting titles.

    Unless you count using widgets. I haven't "tweaked" my widgets. Just used them in the normal way. clicking and dragging to my right sidebar.

    So was I supposed to create this child theme, IMMEDIATELY after picking a parent theme? BEFORE making ANY changes to my site?

    And now, since I have already made changes and it's exactly how I want it (except for still not being able to get that left sidebar in), what should I do now? Start all over again?

    Thanks for your help guys! :)

    Claudia

  5. leejosepho
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Over the years, I think the only "tweak" was changing the font color of the posting titles...

    And now...what should I do now? Start all over again?

    A Child Theme keeps your changes from being over-written by a Parent Theme update, but that is likely no longer an issue for you. The second thing a Child Theme accomplishes is to make it possible to leave the Parent alone as a fallback, if ever necessary. If you really want to make everything "right", so to speak, you could compare the files of your Parent Theme with a set of its originals, then place the changes inside your Child Theme and restore your Parent Theme to what it should be. However, you might just leave all of that as it is and just do things in the Child Theme from this point forward.

    Disclaimer: Rookie speaking here. AndrewMills might have better advice!

  6. WPyogi
    Volunteer Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    If you don't want the sidebar (assuming you get that set up) and any other changes to theme files (not settings or options or things you do in the dashboard) to be lost when the theme is updated, you will need to move everything to a child theme. You can create a child theme and switch to it and see how much different it is - you may not have to redo that much.

  7. cjacob
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Well, unfortunately, I really need that left sidebar (which I STILL haven't gotten set up yet. I still can't understand all the instructions). Actually that's what started all this mess..lol!

    My situation is, I'm starting to add ads and ClickBank links to my site and that right sidebar is getting way to heavy with ads,so I need to split them up on both sides of the page.

    But you guys have made it really clear as to what my choices are now regarding the child theme. Thank you so much!

    So, either I just stay with my parent theme since it's already formatted as I like it...OR....I start tweaking the child theme I created, until it looks like my parent theme, right?

    Thank you so much! I'll have to think what I want to do now, but now it's very clear what my options are.

    Thank you all SO much!

    -Claudia

  8. leejosepho
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    So, either I just stay with my parent theme since it's already formatted as I like it...OR....I start tweaking the child theme I created, until it looks like my parent theme, right?

    Yes, and then you could replace your parent theme with its original files...but all of that might not be as simple as it might sound since some files are copied into a Child Theme completely before being modified, and in other cases, new "partial files" (such as a bit of CSS) are instead just added to the Child Theme. But like with the matter of the new sidebar you want, I believe you should add that in the Child Theme (such as WPyogi has suggested) while watching other things closely along the way.

  9. cjacob
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks for the help! After looking at some other sites, I have decided to "chuck" the idea about the left sidebar! I'll just make it work.

    So, now I will work on that child theme.

    Thank you SO MUCH for your help!

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