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Codex WordPress Theme Development And Customisation Guide

codex wordpress theme development

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Whether you’re a theme developer building a website for yourself or a client, let’s take a look at our handy build a WordPress theme tutorial that covers all the essentials.

First, you need to get hold of the Customiser API. This is essential for solid codex WordPress theme development.

Then, you need to add your own options to the Customiser. You can do this using 2 hooks:


If you don’t know how to develop a theme in WordPress, follow our tips.

Defining Controls and Settings

You need to venture into customize_register to define your settings, controls and sections. Customize_register loads the $wp_customize object.

Define like the following:

function mytheme_customize_register( $wp_customize ) {
//All our sections, settings, and controls will be added here
add_action( 'customize_register', 'mytheme_customize_register' );

How To Add A New Setting

Next stop on our how to build WordPress theme tutorial is adding a new setting.

Settings use WP’s theme_mod features by default in order to set the settings for your theme.

To add a new setting, use the action $wp_customize->add_setting(). Defining your setting via this method means you don’t need to save or create settings for your theme.

How To Add A New Section

What are sections? They are a group of options. Whenever you define new controls, these controls need to be added to a section. We’re going to take a look at creating a new section, as opposed to adding controls to existing sections.

To do this, use the action


WP includes a few in-built sections. To add these, you don’t need to declare them via your add_section. You can instead refer to them by their name:

  • title_tagline
  • colours
  • header_image
  • background_image
  • nav
  • static_front_page

How To Add A New Control

The next step in your codex WordPress theme development learning curve is adding a new control.

Controls are HTML form elements that allows an admin to change settings. They are linked to both single sections and settings.

To add a new control, use the action


Generating Live CSS

The final part of our basic how to build a WordPress theme tutorial consists of ensuring that you know how to fetch the settings and outputs of your CSS into your header(s).

All you need to do is define your settings with a customize_register action before you output your CSS with wp_head.

Then you can bring the files with


That’s how simple it is!

Need help with Codex WordPress theme development? Get in touch now!

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