Social Medium

De WordPress expert voor complexe websites

Wel of niet bestaand WordPress theme gebruiken?

By admin | 26 January, 2015 | 0 Comment


Bij kleine ‘eenvoudige’ websites kan het slim zijn om gebruik te maken van een bestaand WordPress theme. Maar is dat ook aan te raden bij grote complexe websites? De nieuwe website van HVO Querido hebben we ontwikkeld met gebruik van een bestaand theme. Ik ben zeer tevreden over het resultaat, maar het grote nadeel is natuurlijk dat je gebonden bent aan de functionaliteiten van het theme. Of toch niet? Door de ontwikkeling van child themes kan je wel degelijk maatwerk functionaliteiten toevoegen aan een bestaand theme. Broodnodig, gaandeweg het traject dat de klant toch functionaliteiten wilde die niet in het theme zaten. Achteraf had het qua ontwikkeltijd niet veel uitgemaakt als we alles van scratch hadden ontwikkeld. Lees hieronder de (leerzame!) bevindingen van onze programmeur Joms.

Commercial themes are usually avoided by developers for a variety of reasons – flexibility, re-usability, bloated-ness and their preference to write their own code. These, coupled with mistrust of others’ code and maybe a little bit of snobbery might make developers avoid readymade themes, much more for those that require payment to use.

Full disclosure: I might be one of those developers so I may be biased in this article. However, upon finishing a certain website I’m inclined to think that some commercial themes are alright. Here’s the experience that somehow changed my view: Not long ago I was asked to develop a website that will be using a commercial theme.

This kind of stuff can’t be avoided because sometimes a client already has a design in mind that favors the use of an already existing theme. HVO-Querido wanted to use the commercial theme OneUp from ThemeForest. The theme has tons of features which otherwise we’ll need to code. It is responsive so it saves use time from having to worry about compatibility for mobile devices. It also uses a framework which allows the admin to create pages with their own design using “blocks”. Blocks could be anything – from simple text blocks to complex contact forms. It’s a bit overwhelming to use at first but once you get the hang of it and read the documentation it’s actually rather easy for an end user to design their own pages.

The challenge of developing with an existing theme are the client change requests which are not part of the theme itself. This usually takes more time than themes created from scratch because the developer first has to take into account how the theme’s structure work.

Warning: Techinical stuff ahead. If you’d rather not read about nerdy stuff skip to the last paragraph for my conclusion instead. Thanks to WordPress’ flexibility and extensibility I was able to perform these changes the right way.

Meet WordPress Child Themes… In earlier versions of WordPress, to make changes to an existing theme we had to edit its code directly – making future updates of the theme problematic because our changes got overwritten. With the use of a child theme we basically create another theme that will be used to overwrite and change the features of OneUp theme without have to edit its core files!

Shortcodes sure are nifty! With just a simple code you can display any given feature or call a specific function just about anywhere on a WordPress website. Need to display a photo gallery inside a blog post? Use the Gallery shortcode! Easy. This is why I took advantage of this to be able to write my own code and use them within the OneUp theme without going against its structure.

Remember those “blocks” I mentioned before? I used a child theme to overwrite pre-existing blocks and use shortcodes to input my own code for empty blocks! That’s pretty much what I did to transform the theme to what the client wanted.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *