15 Exceptionally Useful Resources for WordPress Theme Designers

One of the great benefits of designing and developing for WordPress is the amount of quality resources that are available from others in the WordPress community. Many times these resources can wind up saving you time in your own development. The only problem is that there are so many resources available that it is difficult to know about them all and sometimes to find what you are looking for.

In this post we’ll feature 15 resources that may be of help to you while you are designing and developing WordPress themes. If you have suggestions for other resources, please leave a comment.

Frameworks:

Thematic

Thematic is a very popular WordPress theme framework created by Ian Stewart. This framework can be used as-is, or is excellent for using with child themes. In fact, a number of child themes for Thematic are available for free or as premium themes, including the free gallery theme distributed by Smashing Magazine.

Thematic

Starkers

Starkers is a “bare-bones, blank-canvas, starting-point WordPress theme” from Elliot Jay Stocks.  Starkers has no formatting whatsoever, which will provide you will a starting point that can save time in development of your own themes.

Carrington Theme Framework

Carrington is a theme framework that better enables WordPress to be used as a CMS. Carrington makes it easier to create unique looks for different categories and posts with custom templates.

Testing WordPress Themes:

Using XAMPP for Local WordPress Theme Development

Jacob Gube of Six Revisions shows how to set up a local environment for theme development. This is a detailed tutorial that may be able to save you a lot of time and make your theme development much quicker and easier.

Using XAMPP for Local WordPress Theme Development

How to Set Up a Killer WordPress Testing Environment Locally

NETTUTS also has a tutorial for setting up a local testing environment. If you are designing and developing many WordPress themes you will want to check out one of these two tutorials.

How to Set Up a Killer WordPress Testing Environment Locally

nkthemeswitch

The theme switch plugin will allow you to show a different theme to anyone who is logged in to your site. This makes it easy to test a theme in development without your visitors seeing it.

Sandbox Dummy Content

For Sandbox design competitions, a set of dummy content was released. It achieves the same purpose as the content from Self Conclusion that was just mentioned.

WordPress Test Post Pack

Think Design Blog also has a pack of dummy content that can be downloaded and imported into WordPress.

Cheat Sheets and Reference Guides:

Complete WordPress Theme Guide

Nick La of Web Designer Wall put together a three-part series to help those who want to learn more about WordPress theme development. The three parts are: installing WordPress locally, building a custom WordPress theme, and moving and exporting WordPress.

Complete WordPress Theme Guide

WordPress Template Tag Reference Guide

The template tag reference guide is a great resource to have close by when you are coding a WordPress theme. It lists all of the template tags, which can save a good bit of time during development.

WordPress Template Tag Reference Guide

WordPress Template Design Cheat Sheet

The template design cheat sheet is another resource that is good to have handy during development.  It lists the various template files, template hierarchy, sample template coding, template functions, and more.

WordPress Template Design Cheat Sheet

Coding Services:

WPCoder

If you are a WordPress designer and you would like to save some time in development of the theme, WPCoder is a group of developers that specialize in taking your designs in PSD format and coding them into WordPress themes.

WPCoder

PSD to WP

PSD to WP is another coding service similar to WPCoder.

PSD to WP

From the WordPress Codex:

For more WordPress-related content, please see:

Looking for hosting? WPEngine offers secure managed WordPress hosting. You’ll get expert WordPress support, automatic backups, and caching for fast page loads.

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