Developing a new WordPress Theme – live on this site

Hello, here I am! Okay, now you’ll probably think “wait, this is not a pretty layout, it isn’t even a layout at all – what the hell?”, let me explain:

This will be an experiment. I want to create a WordPress theme, but not just writing it down, activate it and maybe push it to GitHub. I will actively develop it here and want to share my thoughts on the way. So what you see, is a fresh Underscores theme, and over the next few weeks and months I want to turn it into a clean blog theme for this site.

I already have a rough idea how it should look like, but I’m not designing it in Sketch or something else before. I simply want to code again for fun. And I don’t want to do it “alone” until I have a somewhat finished product, I want to share my progress and thoughts. Plus, it puts some light pressure on me to continue it and not just start on a spark of inspiration and never finishing it at all. 😬 It would be nice if it’s somewhat done by WordCamp Europe in June, but if it will be not it’s okay too. The main goal is continuous development it in my free time.

Let me show you how I do things

Also, I’m curious if people want to comment along the way. For pretty much my entire professional career, I have been coding in private for the companies I work(ed) for. Of course I got feedback from my colleagues and I don’t think I’m a poor developer at all. But I never shared any project in public and this will be my first attempt to do so. Of course, this makes me quite vulnerable too. I know I’m not perfect and I’d appreciate it to get feedback along the way by other developers or users or whoever comes along. I’m absolutely okay to receive constructive criticism, but trolls won’t get any of my time.

In case you don’t know me: I’m Jessica, I have almost 9 years of experience (almost 12 years if you count in my vocational training) as a web developer with focus on front end. I have worked on many web projects already: small sites, online shops of various sizes or huge individual B2B projects. Since 2 1/2 years I work full time at Inpsyde doing WordPress. Before that, I developed on Python with the Django and Zope frameworks. But whatever underlying system I work on, I always enjoy doing things with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. 🙂

So, what are the next steps?

Before I start making the theme look good, I want to create a theme base that I feel comfortable working on. Underscores itself is great, but there are things which I don’t like, either in file organisation or the code itself. Also I want to keep an eye on accessibility and getting the HTML right is one part. I want my site to be readable when no CSS or JavaScript is applied.

I’ll keep track of the progress on the Github repository I created:

The next things I’ll do:

  • Rearrange some files and folders
  • Create a Gulp file for the SCSS
  • Go through the template files and check on the HTML

Let’s do this! 💪