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Boost WordPress-development with blank themes

Friday, May 16th, 2014 by Servage

Blank WordPress Theme

Once upon a time, clients and developers were crazy for ready-made themes. And so, WordPress developers were continually releasing attractive themes for various industries in several categories. And in the process, making a fortune.

Over time, SEO has taught them to be unique with design and with content, including images. Now, clients are more willing to spend money on custom WordPress programming and site designs. Creating a WordPress website for a sizable project, however, can be costly for many clients. Enter the smart WordPress web developer. Making use of blank WordPress themes allows them to customize the WordPress site to a greater degree, with less investment of time and money.

Blank WordPress themes act as boilerplates, providing a good starting point for greater  customization. All the basics of WordPress: PHP, HTML, CSS, and other essential scripts, are present in a blank theme. Therefore, a WordPress programmer can just focus on tweaks, instead of writing the entire site from scratch.

Obvious Advantages of Blank WordPress Themes

Unlike WordPress theme frameworks, blank WordPress themes offer flexibility in their files and thus simplify their modifications. They all allow you to add, delete, or modify their content based on your particular needs. They have other distinct advantages such as:

Quick and Compact Coding

WordPress coding tends to be a bit lengthy and time-consuming, especially when a WordPress developer has to perform repetitive tasks. This can include optimizing images, frequently analyzing code for potential errors, keeping consistency in coding style and styling as well as maintain readability and comprehensiveness.

Yet, all these tasks can be automated with the help of Grunt, an open source JavaScript project, that is capable of automating repetitive tasks during WordPress development. It has capacities to concatenate JavaScript files into one big file; reducing size, and improving loading performance. Grunt also quickly compiles LESS code and combines CSS as JS files.

Fortunately, Roots –A WordPress starter theme vendor– offers Grunt file abilities, built into their theme framework. This way, you can automate and manage your tasks quickly without any human error. Roots has another feature, in the form of a Theme Wrapper. Operating on a DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) base, Theme Wrapper applies a WET (Write Everything Twice) principle.

This make your code automatically unique, without indulging each clone of code, each time. Theme Wrappers create a standard Template Hierarchy, which gives you an edge over your competition.

A similar theme to Roots, is Underscore, though it lacks responsive layout, plus you need to create your own way. Of course, you can’t directly jump on the Roots and Underscore themes bandwagon, if you are new to WordPress programming. I suggest you first  get accustomed with like minimalist/boilerplates themes, such as BlankSlate.

Decent HTML5 Coding

Clients need structurally sound HTML5. I suggest making use of out-of-box HTML5 boilerplates themes, such as HTML5 Reset WordPress Theme, HTML5 Blank WordPress Theme, HTML5 Boilerplate for WordPress Theme, etc.

If you are serious about responsive theme design, with sample data for unit-testing, you can look at WP-Flex blank, a WordPress theme.

References & More Reading

10 Free Blank WordPress Themes
Speed Up Your Web Development Workflow with Grunt
An Introduction to the Roots Theme Wrapper

Boost WordPress-development with blank themes, 3.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
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