Who Should Read This Handbook?

The Theme Developer Handbook is a self-contained resource to help you learn the basics of WordPress theme development. You should read this handbook to accomplish a number of things:

  • develop a child theme meant to work with a parent theme;
  • create a new theme based on an existing one;
  • understand the inner workings of themes in general; and
  • develop a theme based on nothing but your imagination.

Your skill level

To get the most out of this handbook, you should have an understanding and some experience with web technologies, such as HTML, CSS, and PHP. You should also be comfortable with setting up and configuring websites using WordPress and the editor.

Note: An understanding of how MySQL databases work, as well as server technologies in general, is helpful but not a requirement for developing WordPress themes. Likewise, while JavaScript knowledge can be useful, it is not required.

Top ↑

What this handbook will cover

This handbook provides the basic information required to develop classic WordPress themes, including in-depth coverage of essential template tags and functions.

Information about block themes will be added later. Until then, you can read about block themes in the block editor handbook.

WordPress is a vast subject. Covering every possible tag, function, and scenario is beyond the scope of this handbook. If you need help with specific functions, you can find that information in the code reference.

The purpose of this handbook is to give you a solid foundation for WordPress theme development, to provide step-by-step instruction in building basic themes, and to provide tips and resources useful in furthering your skills.