Support » Everything else WordPress » Advice on direction and theme support

  • Resolved markhem


    Hi. I hope this is the appropriate place to ask for input. I couldn’t find another category that seemed to fit.

    I have been using wordpress for over a year and need some advice on where to go next. I’ve created a child of the Oxygen theme, which I’m happy with for now. My website, if you want to look, is I feel I’ve got a decent start with wordpress, but I want to go further.

    As a beginner I bounce around from tutorial to tutorial, and book to book trying to learn as much as I can. However, I’m beginning to find this frustrating because the learning is so piecemeal, plus, there seems to be very many ways of doing things in wordpress. I look at themes in the repository and find they can get pretty complicated when I go through the template files trying to figure out how they’re organized, even just to do some simple css styling. I do my explorations on a localhost, wampserver, so I’m willing to roll up my sleeves to some extent. In the past I have coded a site in html and css, but don’t know php.

    What I’m looking for is a place to call home in the wp solar system, one that will support me in learning over the long haul, and that uses wordpress best practices.

    I was toying with building my own theme, but realize I don’t actually have what it takes to become a theme developer, even with underscores 1000 hour head start. I work full time, but I have a couple hours a night that I want to put into learning how to do better SEO, Db backup, caching, Google analytics, security and all those sorts of site maintenance practices.

    I am also looking for another theme, which I am willing to be patient about. I want a theme that has a good support community behind it, so when I want to do some customizations (like add dynamic sidebar/widget areas, or move a menu, or style something) I will have someone to ask specific questions about the template modification, code issues, functions.php and those kinds of things. I want to work from a code base that isn’t complicated, and that I can begin to understand over time. If underscores were a theme, and had a community around it, that would be perfect.

    I guess my problem is, I don’t know enough code to know what I’m looking for. But, I do know that I need some sage advice from someone who’s been there. Hope you can help.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 32 total)
  • Try to start with a community supported theme such as:
    Twenty Ten Downloaded 12,656 times
    Twenty Thirteen Downloaded 9,910 times
    Responsive Downloaded 10,370 times

    Thanks for the quick reply byankov. Much appreciated. I get the idea behind that; there’s lots of discussion about these themes that I can search and learn from.

    I have tried using Responsive, however I find their front page set up confusing, and a lot of the questions in the forum deal with how to manipulate the particular layout.

    I’m looking for a theme that’s a little more straight forward, or universal. I think that’s why I like the underscores approach.

    Hadn’t really considered Twenty Thirteen, but I’m open to that, and its responsive too! I like that. I will give it another look. Is there any particular forum you like for Twenty Thirteen, beside this one, of course?

    Thanks again.

    Maybe also have a look at this new theme:

    If I ever switch out of Twenty Twelve, I think that will be the one.

    Thanks leejosepho. I was actually thinking about twenty twelve since it is a minimalist theme out of the box. Have you found it to be a good learning tool?
    What’s the difference with tiny forge. I don’t get it.

    I switched from Twenty Ten to Twenty Eleven and then ultimately to Twenty Twelve (and added footer areas) some time ago since Twenty Twelve is “mobile first” (for small screens) while still being sufficiently flexible for browser compatibility all the way back to IE8. But from what I am understanding so far, Tiny Forge has all of the above plus certain additional features added by the WordPress Team in Twenty Thirteen.

    Edit: I have yet to decide about Tiny Forge for my three sites presently using Twenty Twelve, but everything I am seeing so far on its Support Forums and Reviews seems appealing…

    Also, it has some rather impressive Stats so far:

    Thanks for those links. I’ll read up on Tiny forge.

    Do you find there is good community support for Twenty Twelve?

    Do you find there is good community support for Twenty Twelve?

    No longer as active as a year ago, but some patient searching at these forums can yield just about anything you might ever need in relation to Twenty Twelve.

    Maybe that’s one of my problems; I haven’t really asked a lot of questions in the forum, and I get a bit discouraged when searching, weeding through so many threads.

    Do you have any thoughts on themes that stay active and up to date, ones like Twenty Twelve that are accessible to a beginner who wants to do some tweaks?

    I like Twenty Twelve. I even added a left sidebar on a test sight, and find it reasonably logical to get around in. I guess I was thinking its getting dated, so dismissed it.

    I’ll look at Tiny Forge and see if the Twenty Thirteen ‘add ons’ address this.

    leejosepho – Just wanted to say thanks for pointing me toward Tiny Forge. It looks pretty impressive. Looks like good learning tool. I’m going to experiment with it and see what kind of help I get when I need to do things. Thanks again.

    Anyone else who has suggestions, please let me know.

    Do you have any thoughts on themes that stay active and up to date, ones like Twenty Twelve that are accessible to a beginner who wants to do some tweaks?

    The WordPress Team just released some updates for the WordPress Twenties, and the biggest error I see (in my own opinion) comes about when people go for something flashy somewhere without checking it out thoroughly beforehand. But overall, and while knowing nothing at all just a year ago, I am glad I began and remained right here at for my theme and its support.

    Thanks for your input leejosepho. Very much appreciated.

    Moderator Jose Castaneda



    If you haven’t seen Ian’s talk from WordCamp San Francisco, I highly suggest you do it. We all start off with little to no knowledge. Most of us have learned as we go. Some just catch on faster than others.

    As you’ve been doing: look at the themes and see how they do things. It’s amazing how many ways you can create post/page navigation by using one or multiple functions.

    I’ve been doing theme reviews on/off for the last 9/10 months and I can tell you there really is no right or wrong way to do some things. As for best practices do look at how the core bundled themes code is because that is a pretty good example of how to code a theme.

    Thanks for your comments Jose. Yes, I’ve seen Ian’s talk, and was quite inspired by I it. I guess the thing I’m starting to take away from this thread is that the code in the core themes is a good place to start on this next part in my learning process. I’m a little weary of the bouncing around, so, staying close to the core seems a good place to be. Not to mention I’ve been a bit reluctant to ask questions, probably because I haven’t been coming from a solid starting point. Your comments, especially as a theme reviewer, emphasize the advantage of developing my skills from the core out.

    Moderator Jose Castaneda



    No problem!

    If you want to look closely at the core themes I can tell you that twenty twelve is mostly focused on typography and simplicity, twenty thirteen is focused on showcasing the post formats, and twenty fourteen is a little bit of everything mixed in. The thing I do like is how it uses a ‘featured content’ section towards the top.

    Simplicity is a good place for me right now. It will be interesting to see how Twenty Fourteen builds on these last two. Thanks for the teaser.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 32 total)
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