100+ Resources for WordPress Theme Developers

One of the great things about working with WordPress and developing your own themes is the community and all of the resources that are available. If you’re not sure how to do something or looking to see what solutions other theme designers and developers are using, you can find plenty of infomation and tutorials to help.

In this post we’ll feature a wide selection of resources that are extremely useful for theme designers and developers. If you work on custom themes for clients, themes for your own use, distribute free themes or sell premium themes, these resources may prove to be highly useful for you.

All of the resources in this post are categorized and hopefully you will find a number of new resources that will be practical for your own work.

WordPress Essentials and Basics:

This section includes some official resources for the WordPress community, a few books about theme design, and some general articles that will help you to get more out of your development for WordPress.

Installing WordPress
Most WordPress installations are done easily through a tool like Fantastico, but the Codex also provides a guide for installing it manually.

WordPress Support Forums
The community of WordPress users is a great place to turn when you have questions. Chances are, someone else has already had the same question and it is probably answered somewhere within the forums.

Plugin Directoy
The quality and selections of available plugins are a real plus for WordPress users and theme designers.

WP Questions
This site is a great resource for getting and giving help. You can offer payment to get help from others in the community, or make some money by helping other theme designers.

WP Questions

Digging Into WordPress
A book by Chris Coyier and Jeff Starr. Digging into WordPress is the best book I have seen for WordPress designers and developers. I have the PDF version, but a print version is now available as well.

Digging Into  WordPress

How to Be a Rockstar WordPress Designer
A book (PDF) from Envato written by Collis Ta’eed and Harley Alexander.

How to Be a Rockstar WordPress Designer

Ten Tips for Becoming a Better WordPress Developer
An article by Mike Smith published by Web Design Ledger that

WordPress as a CMS: How to Think About Building a Website with WordPress
A good article by Ian Stewart that discusses planning and setting up your site correctly.

Theme Development Tutorials:

The tutorials listed here will walk you step-by-step through the process of creating a WordPress theme.

Designing for WordPress: Complete Series and Downloads
A series by Chris Coyier of CSS Tricks that covers the process of designing a theme.

Designing for WordPress:  Complete Series and Downloads

How to Create WordPress Themes from Scratch: Part 1, 2, 3a, and 3b
Kailoon’s four-part series that leads you through the design and development of a sample theme.

http://themetation.com/2008/07/14/how-to-create-wordpress-themes-from-scratch-part-1/

The Ultimate WordPress Theme Tutorial
An 11-part tutorial series from Ian Stewart that takes you through the process of creating a theme from scratch

How to Create a WordPress Theme from Scratch: Part 1, and 2
A two-part series from Nettus on theme development.

Child Themes:

If you are customizing existing themes, developing child themes is a great way to customize while still allowing for easy updates when new versions of the theme are released. If you have never worked with child themes these articles are good starting point.

Tutorials and Hacks:

There are far too many tutorials and hacks for theme designers and developers to list here, and a number of excellent collections have already been put together by other bloggers. Here we’ll list some of the best collections that you may want to bookmark.

Advanced Techniques:

If you’re looking to take your WordPress development skills further, here are some excellent tutorials on various topics.

Creating An Advanced Options Page in WordPress Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

http://wpshout.com/create-an-advanced-options-page-in-wordpress/

Revisited: Creating Custom Write Panels in WordPress

Revisited: Creating Custom Write Panels in  WordPress

Custom Taxonomies in WordPress 2.8

Custom Taxonomies in WordPress 2.8

How to Make a Control Panel for Your WordPress Theme

How to Make a Control Panel for Your WordPress  Theme

Creating Two-Tiered Conditional Navigation in WordPress

Creating Two-Tiered Conditional Navigation in  WordPress

Using Sliding Doors with WordPress Navigation

Using Sliding Doors with WordPress Navigation

How To: Create a jQuery Carousel with WordPress Posts

How To: Create a jQuery Carousel with WordPress  Posts

How to Design and Style Your WordPress Plugin Admin Panel

How to Design and Style Your WordPress Plugin Admin  Panel

Power Tips for WordPress Template Developers, Advanced Power Tips for WordPress Template Developers and Advanced Power Tips for WordPress Template Developers: Reloaded

Power Tips for WordPress  Template Developers

Mastering WordPress Shortcodes

Creating an Options Page for Your WordPress Theme

Build a Featured Posts Section in WordPress

Page-Sensative Multi-Level Navigation

The Complete Guide to Creating Widgets in WordPress 2.8

Create a Plugin With Its Own Custom Database Table

Create Custom Single Post Templates for Specific Posts or Sections in WordPress

Sample/Dummy Content:

If you’ve developed and tested WordPress themes before, you know that you’ll need to have some content on the site in order to see how it will look and function. There are several resources that can be used to quickly add filler content to a WordPress installation so you won’t have to waste time adding fake content.

WordPress Frameworks:

Frameworks can be an excellent time-saving resource for theme development, and there are several that are available. Most are free, but some of them will cost you a little bit of money. The premium frameworks (and some of the free ones as well) can function as a working theme without any customization if you choose. Of course, another option is to develop your own framework if you develop a lot of themes.

Thematic
A popular framework by Ian Stewart for which many free child themes are available.

Thematic

Hybrid
Justin Tadlock’s framework that features 13 page templates, 15+ plugins supported within the framework, advanced breadcrumbs and much more.

Hybrid

Carrington
Carrington is a CMS theme framework for WordPress that makes it easy to create unique looks for different categories, posts and comments just by creating custom templates.

Biblioteca
Biblioteca is a combination of a magazine theme and a framework with many features, including an extensive options page.

Ashford
Ashford is a free theme and framework that offers theme options, dropdown menus, dozens of page layouts, search engine optimization, and more.

Ashford

Gravy
A premium framework ($20) that includes a set of baseline Photoshop files and WordPress templates that work in conjunction, enabling front-end designers to rapidly create, slice and build mockups.

Gravy

Thesis
A premium theme ($87) that is intended to act as a framework for customization.

Development and Testing:

Developing and testing a WordPress theme can be more involved than a static HTML website, however, it can be done locally. The tutorials listed here will show how you can set up your own development environment.

Cheatsheets, Checklists, and Guides:

There will probably be a lot of time when you are working on a theme and you need to find the code to do something specific in WordPress. Cheat sheets and help resources can be very handy to have close by in order to save yourself some time and headaches.

WordPress Snippets:

The resources listed here will help you to find snippets of code that can be used for specific purposes in your own theme development.

Plugins for Theme Developers:

Although there are thousands of plugins available for WordPress users, these plugins are excellent for theme developers to extend the use of WordPress and to test new themes.

Theme Switch and Preview
A highly useful plugin that allows you to easily test themes without showing them to visitors, and also has options for allows users to switch themes.

Maintenance Mode Plugin
Shows visitors a message that the site is under maintenance and to return at a specified time.

TDO Mini Forms
Allows you to set up forms to allow users to submit posts.

Theme Switcher
Allows the user to switch themes via a list or dropdown

Theme Test Drive
With this plugin you (the administrator) can test drive any theme while the visitors still see whichever theme is active.

WordPress Theme Demo Plugin
Show demos of multiple themes while only using one WordPress database.

User Switching
This plugin allows you to easily and quickly change between user accounts. This can be very helpful for theme testing when you want to test while being logged in or out as multiple users.

Simply Exclude
This plugin will allow you to easily exclude categories, tags, authors and pages from the front page, archives, search, or the feed.

40 Exceptional CMS Enabling Plugins
This post from Noupe features a number of useful plugins for theme developers.

Inspiration:

If you are looking for examples of excellent custom WordPress designs, these galleries can be excellent resources.

We Love WP

We Love WP

WP Inspiration

WP  Inspiration

Blog Design Heroes

Blog  Design Heroes

WordPress News:

The sites listed here all feature news from the WordPress community. They are great places to stay up-to-date and to find content from a variety of sources.

Community News from WpRecipes

Community News  from WpRecipes

WP Topics

WP Topics

WP Tutorials

WP  Tutorials

Wpazo

Wpazo

Ideas and Uses for WordPress:

WordPress can be used for much more than just blogs. The posts below demonstrate the versatility that is possible.

11 Non-Traditional Uses of WordPress
A post from the DesignM.ag archives that shows some examples of creative ways to use WordPress.

25 Unique Uses of WordPress as CMS
A post from Noupe that showcases sites using WordPress for more than just blogging.

30 Untypical WordPress Sites
A showcase post from Web Designer Wall that demonstrates the variety of possible uses for WordPress.

Working with Clients:

If you develop custom WordPress themes for clients, or if you would like to start, here are some articles that will help you to achieve more efficiency and to give your clients a better experience and end result.

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Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design. Connect with Stephen on google+
  1. February 8, 2010

    Great Stuff…

    Its looks the Whole WP Tricks and Tips are under One Ruff. Superb.

  2. February 8, 2010

    Unbelievable round-up, thanks – book marked and shared.

    Cheers,

    Lee.

  3. February 8, 2010

    Great list, thanks

  4. February 8, 2010

    I’m still relatively new to wordpress development. This is great to have everything you need wrapped up in one post. Have you read any of the books you mentioned? I’m looking at a few and wonder what you might consider to be the best one? Thanks for the roundup Steven!

  5. February 8, 2010

    Chris,
    I have Digging into WP and have read certain sections of it based on what I needed. I highly recommend it, a very thorough book.

  6. February 8, 2010

    S U P E R !

  7. February 8, 2010

    Hey, this is A-MUST DIGG post. I’ll post it on Digg. TQ for this listing. Very useful for me as WordPress to-be-developer. 🙂

  8. February 8, 2010

    Wow, this is one of those awesome ‘master’ collections – the kind that I like to bookmark and then go back to anytime I’m looking for a wp theme development resource. Great job!

  9. February 9, 2010

    Amazing to have all these usefull links on one place. Great work!

  10. February 9, 2010

    Wow, A comprehensive source…we try to be a good wordpress developer.
    Thanks….

  11. February 9, 2010

    Nice! Bookmarked and shared this one! Thanks!

  12. February 9, 2010

    Wow, a huge list with tons of usefull informations. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Anjum nawab
    February 9, 2010

    Really nice. Now days i am learning WP and you article comes to rescue me Thanks in Millions 🙂

  14. February 9, 2010

    Amazing list of WP resources. I will definitely have to bookmark this and visit some of the site that will be useful for me. It’s going to take me a while to get through this list but it’s worth it. Thanks for sharing.

  15. February 9, 2010

    Great collection. Thanks!

  16. February 10, 2010

    That must have taken you ages! Appreciated though..I know have everything under one roof. Thanks

  17. February 11, 2010

    Great post, bookmarked 🙂

    Great to see some really broad topics about WordPress

  18. February 12, 2010

    This is really very useful. Thanks
    creative Grafica Blog

  19. February 13, 2010

    Wow really nice roundup great work

  20. February 22, 2010

    Thanks for listing Ashford. I appreciate being listed with other great quality WordPress themes.

    I especially want to thank WPRecipes for curating great content.

    /Tim

  21. I’m always excited to visit that blog in the evenings.Please keep on churning out the content. It’s incredibly entertaining.

  22. May 16, 2010

    The thesis theme is thee wordpress way to go.

  23. May 17, 2010

    Be useful for anyone who stands on the site WordPress. I found very useful links, thanks!

  24. May 20, 2010

    I’m new to WordPress. I pick up some good tips from your article. Thanks, man!

  25. June 9, 2010

    Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more helpful. Just my my idea, Good luck

  26. June 15, 2010

    Truman Pocius

  27. June 26, 2010

    I created a new wordpress site and I don’t have a good design yet. But I hope your tutorial will help me a bit, but it looks complicated for a beginner like me.

  28. July 5, 2010

    thanks for resource, we need this

  29. July 5, 2010

    I like the inspiration theme the best.

  30. July 8, 2010

    omg! i don’t know how.. will some 1 show me how 2 get this page saved inside my ipod so i can show my little sister?

  31. July 12, 2010

    What should really I do to have my website for the top of google do I have to have to hire an seo firm or can I do it myself thanks for the help

  32. July 14, 2010

    great round up brother ..

    its so usefull from newbie early in blogging of wordpress and go to expert to know and digg wordpress

  33. July 21, 2010

    This really an awesome collection of word press themes…although, there are lot of collection available on net but this seems to be “ultimate collection”.

  34. July 28, 2010

    Wonderful article, appreciate it. Most definitely i’ll be back to checked out more.

  35. August 4, 2010

    Nice post! very useful for developers and designers too!!

  36. August 8, 2010

    Very good site and templates but not free 🙂

  37. August 18, 2010

    Beautiful themes! I’m going to try some of them on my wp blog.

  38. August 24, 2010

    You should definitely add Artsteer 2.00 and review it as it is among the best theme developing programs I’ve ever used. You can practically end up with an amazing theme in less than 5 minutes and I like the fact it can export the theme directly to html so I can use it for other non-wordpress sites too!

  39. August 30, 2010

    Wow. A number of these are rip-offs of real sites. Maybe designers should start checking out the theme gardens with cease-and-desist papers ready.

  40. September 12, 2010

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  41. September 26, 2010

    Echt hilfreich! Vielen Dank hierfür.

  42. October 12, 2010

    Bel sito, e argomenti abbastanza interessanti.

    Se serve, su woorzy.com potete aprire un forum gratuito!

  43. October 13, 2010

    @Steven Snell
    Thanks for your time spent on preparing this must-to-know about WP list.
    Several times I was asked by customers to setup their wordpress blog on other than Apache servers.

    I found this information useful for lighttpd configuration
    http://emil.haukeland.name/webservers/2010/url-rewriting-for-wordpress-and-lighttpd/

    and that one for nginx
    http://elasticdog.com/2008/02/howto-install-wordpress-on-nginx/

    Hope that helps
    Bionic Candy

  44. October 25, 2010

    This post has been extremely insightful and useful to increase my knowledge in the field of knowledge and its many facets. Thank you very much, I will certainly come back to visit often and definitely tell some of my internet-inclined friends to visit this site. Keep posting and expressing your knowledge and opinions strong!

  45. October 25, 2010

    I would like to add this information to my site as well would that be okay with you? thanks!

  46. October 26, 2010

    Skip Hop Studio Diaper Tote Bag is awesome.So a lot of pockets – as well as not really those little, worthless pockets, either. All of the pockets are a wonderful size and seriously help keep every thing organized. The handles are a excellent length and fit nicely over the actual shoulder; the handle straps also stay put on my own shoulder, which is essential as soon as you’re holding a child. The tote looks excellent, as well. Not as well fancy, but not too casual. (I’ve it in black) The material is soft (can’t believe of a superior word) so it is straightforward to squeeze in to tight spaces – but yet it’s sturdy. I have a Fleurville Lexi tote and I love it, too, but this tote is kind of stiff. I consider this Skip*Hop may grow to be my everyday tote. It’s a little bit huge – so if you’re not in to big bags this may well be much better as an over-night baby diaper tote.

  47. Dorthea Washuk
    November 11, 2010

    Such a properly written post..

  48. November 17, 2010

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  49. November 22, 2010

    Interesting take on this issue. I for one have observed many twists on this and can frequently spot the holes within the arguement however, on this occasion I belelive your writing is this kind of that everyone should be in agreement with this. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  50. November 22, 2010

    Hello ,
    I found your site on yahoo.
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    Best regards

  51. November 23, 2010

    Merely wanna input that you have a very decent site, I enjoy the pattern it actually stands out.

  52. December 12, 2010

    I would like to add this information to my site as well would that be okay with you?

  53. December 16, 2010

    Hey, great post. I’ll definitly be bookmarking this.

  54. December 21, 2010

    Very useful resources for wordpress, thanks for sharing!

  55. December 28, 2010

    Nicely done. Now I have more information on wordpress. Thanks and this is one of my favorite blogs. It’s sad that there are people out there who are not reading these blogs.

  56. January 28, 2011

    WordPress has so much plug-ins, advise how to choose the main things.
    Thanks

  57. January 28, 2011

    ~`- I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives great information :-;

  58. January 31, 2011

    My sister told me about this site just yesterday. Great blog you’ve got!

  59. For once, google search has given me a return to my search that really gave me satisfaction. I would be crazy not to bookmark this page at least, if not the main site page. This is like wordpress developer heaven. 🙂

  60. February 6, 2011

    ;*: that seems to be a great topic, i really love it `’*

  61. February 11, 2011

    Thanks for that good go through Im often on the look out for a lot more information I enjoy the quantity of info youll be able to come across on peoples blogs.

  62. March 12, 2011

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  63. March 13, 2011

    Xbox Kinect has more distinctive technology using the controller-free Kinect, rendering it increasingly frustrating that Microsoft’s own games felt more derivative as opposed to third-party Dance Central. Worse still , probably the most awe-inspiring Kinect game introduced immediately, Child of Eden, wasn’t playable, and has no release date announced.

  64. March 15, 2011

    Thank you ! Your post helped me to understand many things ! Great.

  65. March 21, 2011

    Here here, great article, you also need to consider testing your plug-ins as not all work as intended with all themes so beware.

  66. March 23, 2011

    Good themes… Thank you.

  67. March 25, 2011

    What a great resource! Thank you for putting all of this info in one location! Bookmarked

  68. April 26, 2011

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  69. May 1, 2011

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  70. May 13, 2011

    great

  71. Good post. I learn something more challenging on totally different blogs everyday. It can at all times be stimulating to learn content material from different writers and practice just a little something from their store. I’d want to use some with the content material on my weblog whether or not you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a hyperlink in your internet blog. Thanks for sharing.

  72. June 19, 2011

    Awesome post man!
    I was looking for a good resource list of wordpress tutorials and hacks, so this post comes in hand.
    Hope you the best.
    Chad

  73. June 21, 2011

    I really really love wordpress. one thing i love about working with WordPress and developing your own themes is the community and all of the resources that are available.

  74. June 27, 2011

    I feel very similar on this topic but have some new ideas also. I will start a new thrread.

  75. Jey Tilos
    July 4, 2011

    This is a nice post, it could be of great help for everyone.

  76. July 5, 2011

    Hello
    I wasent looking for that but still a great post

    how did you guys found this information??thank you for your blog I found it on Yahoo And I saved it .I like. Please send me updates

    thank you and have a nice day

  77. I found your website perfect for my needs. It contains wonderful and helpful posts. I have read most of them and got a lot from them.

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  79. July 22, 2011

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  80. July 29, 2011

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  81. August 1, 2011

    good read thanks for that mate

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