Darren Hickling

Starting a Theme

Published onReading time2 minutes

Websites are easy to develop, right? Host a bit of HTML and anyone can can access it from anywhere using practically anything. That must be easier than writing apps: all those languages, devices and hardware? Not quite. Browsers use different rendering technologies, resulting in (often subtle) differences and incompatibilities between them, and screen sizes vary hugely, particularly as the mobile and tablet markets are exploding. Consider users with disabilities, bandwidth and language support and suddenly the scenarios have multiplied exponentially. Providing a great experience for each of those scenarios is no trivial task: the site should remain usable but ideally provide all your planned bells and whistles. This is very different when compared with apps development, which mostly cater for smaller subsets of devices, although this comparison is often moot, as you'll probably want to provide both!

Luckily, as ever with software engineering, other people have solutions that they often provide for free as Open Source Software. For WordPress, I looked for a theme to help tackle the problems outlined previously and provide multiple methods of customisation; a starter or, as I found, bare Bones kit. Not only does it help cater for the issues I mentioned, but uses some languages and technologies I like or am interested to use, namely Sass and HTML5 Boilerplate respectively.

A quick sync from GitHub and I'm reading through some very well-documented code, which immediately enamours me with the Bones project. After adding some author comments and a theme image, I'm able to choose it as the theme of my site.

I'm not looking to do too much with the theme initially, but enough to personalise the site, so tweaked a few styles (including the title font) and added the logo to each page. In keeping with shipping enhancements as soon as possible, you can see this in action now, but look out for some awesome updates to it in the near future!