WordPress Theme Development Resources

It’s amazing what talented designers and developers can do with WordPress themes. While building your own can be a little bit intimidating, it’s incredibly gratifying to see things come together, and get a little better each time.

Here is a collection of curated resources to help you with developing your own WordPress themes. These are all sites I use and visit personally on a regular basis.

Resources for Building WordPress Themes


The Codex: If you want to get your information straight from the horses mouth – and you should – the official WordPress Codex is the site for you. The Codex covers every concept, line of code, and development practice associated with WordPress.

Make WordPress Core: This is the official blog on WordPress core development, and it has a ton of fantastic insight.

WordPress Theme Development Cheat Sheet: A really handy collection of frequently used items in when building themes for WordPress, like properly loading jQuery, CSS headers, and the basic loop. Perfect for copying and pasting.

WPBeginner: Don’t let the “Beginner” part of the title fool you, this site has an amazing amount of resources for pretty much every aspect of WordPress.


GenerateWP: This is a site you’re definitely going to want to bookmark. It’s collection of tools for generating WordPress code, which can really expedite your development. There are tools for creating custom post types, new taxonomies, shortcodes, menus, and many more.

Theme Unit Test Data: It’s hard to build and test a theme without and content on it. The Theme Unit Test is a set of prebuilt content that you can download and import into your test blog. It includes pretty much every use case you can think of to ensure that your theme isn’t missing any important styles.

XAMPP: When you develop WordPress locally, you need to setup a webserver, PHP, and MySQL. While it’s possible to do all these on your own, it’s much easier to use an all-in-one tool. There are popular choices like MAMP and WAMP, but I’ve always used XAMPP. Not only is it simple and minimalistic, it also comes with useful tools like phpMyAdmin.

The Toolbox: While not specific to WordPress, The Toolbox offers a huge selection of categories tools to help expedite your development process.

Starter Themes

Bones: This is my starter theme of choice. It’s well built, well documented, completely response, frequently updated, and is setup with Sass right out of the box.

Naked: If you want to start with just the basics, and get a real sense for developing in WordPress, check out the Naked theme. The code commenting is top notch, and you’ll learn a ton as you move through the files.

News, Community, & Inspiration

WP Tavern: If you’re looking for the latest news on WordPress, including upcoming releases, security concerns, and exciting plugins and themes. They also cover BuddyPress and bbPress.

WordCamp Central: Sitting behind a computer, hammering away at code and Photoshop is all fine and good, but sometimes it can do you a lot of good to actually go out and talk to other people who are just as passionate as you about WordPress. That’s exactly what WordCamps are; find one close to you, and check it out.

WordPress.TV: Videos about WordPress, need I say more?

Unmatched Style: If you’re looking to be inspired by some absolutely amazing design, check out the gallery at Unmatched Style. While this isn’t specific to WordPress, good design is good design.

What Else?

I’m sure there’s a lot of other great stuff out that that I haven’t listed, so if you know of something, please let me know in the comments and I’ll get this list updated.

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