As I said in one of my first posts, I really wanted to get in touch with Justin before getting too much into WP Themes. I have used some of Justin’s articles and tutorials before, especially his series on using custom fields are very useful for learning about the power of this feature. He kindly answered some of my questions and provided some really helpful links for further exploration.
What is the main advice you would give to someone who is creating their first Theme?
My main advice about creating your first theme is to just get the basics down. Learn from the Default WP theme. It’s a good example of a very basic theme. Don’t try to get too fancy with all kinds of neat features.
Know the Codex. That’s the single best thing you could do:
If nothing else, you should know how to find things quickly there.
If you’re looking to do this more long term and would like to build up a presence within the community, then you need to have a support system set up. Also, make sure you put your theme on WeblogToolsCollection.com.
Are there any “Rules” you have to follow?
The only rules you should try to strictly follow are these (especially the Plugin API stuff)
How do you publish your themes? Purely on your own site or do you make them available on WordPress.org as well.
I’ve never put any themes on WP.org because some of mine are too complex for the basic demo they have set up. Magazine-type themes definitely won’t look good there because, most of the time, options must be set before using the theme. I do plan on adding my next theme there though.
What are your thoughts on Premium Themes vs. Free Themes?
Premium vs Free? Mostly, I think you should do whatever you want, but I don’t like to see users getting ripped off because they bought a crappy theme. More thoughts on this:
Anything you want to add?
I also had a forum member ask about learning to develop with WP. I have a pretty lengthy answer with lots of links that you should bookmark.