Programming Experts’ Guide to Code a WordPress Theme

Introduction
WordPress is a massive platform for users to manage their site and the specialty of WordPress is that it is equipped with some of the most powerful and unique tools that one could use. WordPress is so popular and widely used that almost 30.3% of the total websites on the internet use WordPress and there are more than 10 million websites on the internet. 

WordPress is one of the best Content Management Systems (CMS) because of its flexibility. The user can modify and create code to develop the site however they like and there are also options to create and add third-party plugins. 

Road to becoming an expert developer with WordPress 
It was understood that developing plugins and themes is possible and you can create stunning visuals and develop the website however you like but there are certain things that you should understand before you start working with WordPress.

  • Assess Your Current Knowledge and Note Any Gaps –  It is easy to learn WordPress and the interface is built in such a way that everybody can work on it easily. There are a lot of features in WordPress and to develop the perfect website you have to dive into some of the complex processes and learn the necessary skills. Some components might take up too much time to understand and this is when you can outsource your work and get programming help from professional programming experts. 
  • Ensure You Understand How WordPress’ Key Components Work Together – There are many different components in WordPress and sometimes it gets a little too complicated. It is mandatory for everyone to understand the key components because they play a major role when you are developing and using themes on a website. You should know which components can be edited and which should be never touched. Meddling with all the components can cause a lot of trouble. 
  • Gain a Strong Command of the Customizer and Other WordPress Settings – Every business is different and so are the demands for the website. It is not possible to find the perfect theme which fits your business standard entirely. The themes can be modified, edited and certain parts of it can be picked up and the remaining can be removed. There are various templates, themes, demos, and other prebuilt elements that you can edit, and working with these components helps to create a dynamic and perfect website. It is important to gain a strong command of the customizer as it allows you to work with advanced customization and turn ideas into reality. 
  • Learn About the Technical Underpinnings of WordPress – To become an expert in WordPress you don’t have to work on multiple coding languages. It is important to understand the logic behind the code rather than having a deep understanding of how the code works. Understanding the basics of HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript can help a lot and pave the way to becoming a WordPress expert. 
  • Learn about the Database and Database Maintenance – The special advantage of using WordPress is that the content management system is integrated with the database and the pages are automatically converted to HTML. Understanding the way databases work can help to work with the posts and custom posts. The data relating to the themes and plugins are stored in the database and troubleshooting becomes easy when you have a grip on the data structures. You can also custom fields, Advanced Custom Fields, and Pods custom fields and can easily incorporate custom fields into your Beaver Builder layouts. Maintaining the site also becomes a lot easier and you can make changes efficiently.
  • Become Familiar With WordPress’ Hosting Options – Hosting is one of the most crucial factors which helps to keep the website running and you should have a clear understanding on how the hosting service works and which plan to choose. There are various plans like shared server hosting, private server hosting, etc. You can choose the best service once you know the features of each option and understand the demands of the website. If you know you will experience high traffic then you should go for private hosting with a dedicated server. This will help to keep the data safe and the website running at all times. 
  •  Interact with the WordPress Community and Give Back – WordPress is completely open-sourced and there is a huge community full of experts who develop themes, plugins, extensions, and other third-party tools that can be added to a website. These expectations are free to use and can help other developers a lot. When you accept expectations from the community, it is only fair that you contribute something to society too. You can simply upload the themes or plugins that you created so that other developers can implement the application and this helps others from spending a lot of time on development. 

How to develop WordPress themes

Step 1: Set Up a Local Environment
The first step for creating a WordPress theme is to create a local development environment to manage the working of the code. The local environment is basically a server that you install on your computer, which you can use to develop and manage local WordPress sites. A Local environment can be created in many ways but the best method is to do it using a desktop server. You can go on the internet and search for the free version of the desktop server application. You have to register on the website and then download and install it. Once the application is installed you can configure the local environment according to your requirements.

Step 2: Download and Install Your Starter Theme  
You can download a theme and get started with the Underscores. This process is fairly simple, all you have to do is to open the website and name the theme. There are also advanced options available which give you a chance to give a detailed description by adding an author name and give the theme a description.

There is a Sassify option available which allows users to add Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets (SASS) and with SASS users can add variables, nesting, math operators, and more.

Step 3: Understand How WordPress Works Behind the Scenes
WordPress allows users to add custom themes and plugins and the user should have a basic understanding of how the component works. There are various parts of the code and the user can modify certain parts of the code to fit the needs of the user. There are specific areas of the code which shouldn’t be changed. Understanding components is also important to know details like header.php is used to create a header, while comments.php enables you to display comments etc.  

Step 4: Configure Your Theme
The demands of every website are different and you have to customize the theme to fit the business requirements of your website. Once you have all the required knowledge and the tools at your disposal you can change the functionality of the website entirely. You can add hooks, add styles with CSS, and do much more. 

Step 5: Export the Theme and Upload It to Your Site
Once you complete developing the theme you have to test the efficiency of it. There should be any bugs and the theme should handle data effectively. You can find Theme Unit test data on the internet and this is basically sample data that you can upload to the website to test the efficiency of the theme. Once you are satisfied with the working of the theme you can upload it to the website and the uploading process is fairly simple. 

Conclusion
You have to have a basic understanding of the various concepts that help in the smooth running of a website. Knowing the logic and functioning is the key and with practice, you have a grip on all the functions. You may not master all aspects of WordPress development and the wise decision would be to play by your strengths and get the other components developed from a third-party source. These third-party sources master in various services and getting help from them can be a huge advantage.